How can I regain my sexual drive?
June 12, 2011 2:07 PM   Subscribe

How can I regain my sexual drive? I'm 30 and since I started my sexual life at 18, I was always very active and imaginative in relation to my, hm, "performance" in bed. But things went totally downhill over the last year or so. My SO was finalizing his divorce with his ex last year, which was very stressful for both of us, plus I had a masters degree to finish, then got married and moved to another country. My dad found that he has cancer and had a very delicate op. To sum it up, a very stressful year.

We used to have a pretty active sex life, had sex in unusual places and felt quite horny all the time. But as we slipped into this spiral of problems and things to sort out, our sex life became inexistent. We didn't even have sex the day we got married.

He has complained about not being able to exercize and feeling bad because he is slightly overweight. So he is feeling uncomfortable, but *I have changed* as well. I don't feel excited when I am being touched, I have become almost totally frigid. I say sometimes because I do feel like having sex when we are in bed, but then I get tired, feel lazy or whatever.

We are now reasonably settled in our new life and even then things don't seem to be changing in the sex arena. We have lots of fun and love hanging around together, we work together very well, are attracted to and really love each other.

But I don't know what to do to regain my sex drive. My husband says it is temporary, that it will go away, and has been really caring and supportive. But a year with barely no sex? This is really bugging me now.

I read magazines and stuff online about how to spice up your relationship but I feel stupid wearing kinky outfits and using chocolate paint and whatnot. I somehow feel as if this has more to do with my unwillingness to get laid than him, even though the rarely ever takes the initiative these days - possibly because he feels I am not interested.

Any suggestions appreciated, esp from people who have experienced this and managed to turn the situation around!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried getting away from it all and taking a nice vacation? A lack of stressors does wonders for the libido.
posted by Renoroc at 2:11 PM on June 12, 2011

I hope this isn't too much frank speaking, but have you tried finding a type of porn that you like and reading/watching a reasonable amount? Sometimes it's helpful to just think about sex in a detached sort of way - not watching porn together, or watching porn for ideas, or watching generic porn-that-you-think-men-would-like but reading or watching stuff that appeals to you regardless of the state of your relationship. Being able to think about sex without having to think about your relationship (no matter how great your relationship basically is) can help you get back to that whole sex-is-fun place.
posted by Frowner at 2:42 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have you tried talking about it? Even just saying "I want us to share this again, I want to be doing hot things for you again, I just don't know how to get there" can open up a conversation. For me, sometimes talking creates feelings of closeness that make the fun come back.
posted by salvia at 2:44 PM on June 12, 2011

First off, don't feel bad about not wanting to go the "naughty school teacher/chocolate syrup" route; women's mags aren't generally in the business of offering anything more than totally simplistic solutions to more complex problems.

A couple of physiological things to consider: have you gone on hormonal birth control (or switched between different types of HBV -- say, between brands of the the pill, or from the pill to the ring)? Also, have you had your thyroid levels checked? Any other medications you may have gone on (or off) in the past year? All of those can do a serious number on the libido, even aside from all the stress of the past year.

Also, what about masturbating? Are you getting off on your own? If not, maybe just start off by trying that so that you can start getting back into the habit of feeling sexual at all. Then what about touching yourselves while you watch each other? That might be a more hands-on (sorry) way to jump start feeling some sexual energy for each other, but in a way that bypasses the whole "oh no, he's touching me and I don't feel anything" pressure.
posted by scody at 2:45 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, it does sound like it's been a very big year. I'm particularly sorry to hear about your father's cancer. How are you dealing with all of that overall? Amidst all this activity, have you had a chance to process and be in touch with your feelings about it? Sometimes sex seems to unlock an entire reservoir of feeling. If you're repressing grief or fear around your dad's health, for example, I could see ending up detached from your body in other ways, too.
posted by salvia at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you haven't already, see a doctor. There are many possible reasons that could be medical in origin that could be affecting you. Not saying the stressful time period isn't at least partially responsible, but it's worth checking if there may be a physical component too.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:00 PM on June 12, 2011

He has complained about not being able to exercize and feeling bad because he is slightly overweight. So he is feeling uncomfortable, but *I have changed* as well.

Exercising on a regular basis is a natural aphrodisiac. I don't mean go to the gym and then come back knocking boots. I mean if you exercise on a regular basis, you will feel more confident about yourselves, will have more energy...and will have better cardiovascular fitness to enjoy sex.

Sorry, I know its a hard solution, and not as easy as a myth like "eat oysters". But you gotta put in to get out...or put out.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:00 PM on June 12, 2011

Reading this reminded me of Isabelle Allende's book Aphrodite; go with me a second.

Aphrodite is a lovely ode to aphrodisiac foods; except it doesn't really claim that "aphrodisiacs" have actual scientific magic powers or anything like that. Allende's point is more like, aphrodisiacs work because there's a suggestive, double-entendre element to some of them, but also -- they're really damn tasty, and by waking up your sense of taste, and getting back into touch with enjoying something using your senses, it can wake up your sense of enjoyment in all your other senses as well -- sight, smell, touch....and getting back in touch with that spirit of enjoying your senses helps kick-start your libido as well.

In the introduction -- and also during one of the recipes -- she also mentions how a large part of what prompted her to explore the connection between sensual pleasure and libido was after the death of her own daughter, and how her own spirits were similarly low until she had a somewhat pivotal dream about rice pudding. It was through focusing on the simple, sensuous joys of food that she found her libido again (and wrote the book in gratitude).

So maybe just focusing on simple, sensual pleasures for their own sake -- indulging in the taste of really good food, getting some especially pretty or gloriously-scented flowers, or sitting and listening to an especially ear-catching bird call -- will help. It's a simple way to find your way back into joy, after so much hard things happening to you.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:38 PM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you masturbate? If so, then maybe that's where a lot of your libido is venting out. If not, it could be a medical/hormonal thing. And yes, it can possibly "fix itself" in time, but you might want to see the doctor anyway. Excluding any medical causes, I would simply say talk to your SO and see how he feels about things. The solutions should cascade down from there.
posted by zardoz at 6:24 PM on June 12, 2011

I would start by getting physical in ways other than sex. Go for a strenuous hike together. Tickle fight. Go dancing. Rock climb. Get back in touch with your body(ies) period. I think sex can arise naturally out of a more physical way of being in the world. It sounds like it's a problem you're both struggling with, so doing things together might have a nice synergy. But even if you challenge only yourself with something like yoga (hot, power, etc.), a sprint tri, bike riding to work, I think it will contribute to feeling more "on" or sexually available. Good luck!
posted by cocoagirl at 6:40 PM on June 12, 2011

Just saw this TEDx talk by Nicole Daedone today, where the speaker posits that many women are lacking (or in your case maybe have temporarily lost) a deep connection to their partner, and that's the source of the hunger behind our hunger. I have no experience with it, but I think she mentions a book, and she definitely describes a non-traditional practice for reconnecting via female orgasm. Maybe worth looking into.
posted by nadise at 7:30 PM on June 12, 2011

I hear fish oil has a positive effect on libido. (I haven't read this book personally, but it is related.)
posted by griselda at 11:24 AM on June 13, 2011

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