Help me wake up my libido!
August 29, 2005 11:15 PM   Subscribe

Help me wake up my libido! I am a 24 year old female with a very low sex drive. I have a great boyfriend of 4 years, and when we do get physical, it's always wonderful, but often leading up to it I am just not interested at all.

I think about sex almost never. I am rarely horny and I am almost never the initiator. I could probably go for months without ever thinking about it or feeling unsatisfied. Once we get going, of course I enjoy myself, but I just have no motivation when it comes to it.

I think a major reason for this is a mental hang-up, thanks to my parents drilling it into me that "sex before marriage is WRONG." Could this be the sole reason for my low sex drive?

I want to want to have sex. I don't want to be a lazy lay, and I want to satisfy my boyfriend. Anyone have any advice on "waking up" my libido?

For the record, I'm not on any medication (I actually went off the pill, hoping it might help with my sex drive--although it was low before I ever got on the pill,) and yes, I have orgasms--though it takes me a long time to get "there."

Hope this wasn't TMI. Any advice is appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Fantasize. Play with yourself. Play with him -- "OK, this time you be the pirate and I'll be the postal inspector." Watch porn with different sorts of scenarios to see what actually excites you -- maybe there's something important you don't know about yourself sexually.

But only if it's for you. If sex is something you don't actually want to do, if you're doing it only for him, maybe you ought to do something you do have desire for. Art, maybe. Art is also good, messy fun.
posted by pracowity at 11:58 PM on August 29, 2005

If sex is something you don't actually want to do, if you're doing it only for him, maybe you ought to do something you do have desire for.

I fundamentally agree with this advice. Sex is a fundamental part of the human condition, not a leisure activity to opt in or out of. Bravo to you for doing something to make the most of the opportunities you have.
posted by ascullion at 3:27 AM on August 30, 2005

Eek, obviously above I mean 'fundamentally disagree'
posted by ascullion at 3:28 AM on August 30, 2005

When he wants to go, get started with him, even if you don't want to at first. A sex counselor observed that "Once the canoe is in the water, everyone will start paddling."
posted by yclipse at 4:33 AM on August 30, 2005

There's an excellent book, "For Yourself: the Fulfillment of Female Sexuality" by Lonnie Barbach, PhD. It helped me with a similar (though lesbian) situation long ago.

When he wants to go, get started with him, even if you don't want to at first. That advice feels really wrong to me. If you don't want to have sex, don't. He can take care of his own needs for awhile.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:20 AM on August 30, 2005

If you don't want to have sex, don't. He can take care of his own needs for awhile.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:20 AM PST on August 30

But don't complain when he leaves you for someone with a more intense sex drive. No offense, but casually dismissing someone's needs the way Carol Anne would usually leads to both resentment and heartbreak.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:34 AM on August 30, 2005

What's the lead-up to sex like? How does your boyfriend initiate sex? I hate to string out the usual cliches, but maybe what you need is something a little more sensual? Take a bath together, share a massage or get a bit 'fruity' with food. This is basically foreplay, but the idea is to enjoy it for its own sake and let your body 'wake up' for sex in your own time.
posted by londonmark at 6:45 AM on August 30, 2005

He can take care of his own needs for awhile.

Assuming the b/f is also in his early twenties, the phrase "with someone else" needs to be appended to that statement. Disengaging from sex isn't the answer.

Hope this wasn't TMI.

No, I'd say not enough. You may be on to something with your upbringing, but that's probably not the whole answer. 24 is around the time when the conflicts of work vs. freedom, and sex vs. relationship come into very sharp focus. I imagine your life responsibilities have increased dramatically recently. There may not be any single "earth shattering" thing, but there may be a lot of smaller, persistent stresses coming down on you.

I feel like a broken record every time I say this, but consider therapy. There won't be a solution for you until you can really articulate what the problem is.
posted by mkultra at 7:28 AM on August 30, 2005

Who says there is anything "wrong" with you? Some people just have a naturally lower sex drive. I like londonmark's advice -- maybe you just need more time / better motivation to get "in the mood".
posted by geeky at 7:36 AM on August 30, 2005

I agree with geeky. I think our culture has a tendency to make everyone feel like they aren't doing enough fuckin'.
posted by glenwood at 7:41 AM on August 30, 2005

To second mkultra's point, 24 is such a tumultuous time, and there's lots of stuff that have nothing to do with intimacy that can influence your libido, simply because they're weighing on your mind. I went through an existential crisis at that age too, and one of the side effects was not wanting to be intimate with my then-bf. (We're talking months, here.)

Of course, I was very unhappy in the relationship as it turns out. You don't mention how many lovers you've had in the past. Was he your first? You say you don't think about sex at all, but maybe you should ask yourself if (even subconsciously) you've been wondering what sex with other people would be like.

Also, is he holding up his end of the bargain, with foreplay and catering to your needs? I know it's a two-way street and all, but is it possible that you're not getting enough stimulation (mental and physical) to even interest youreself in sex?

And also what Carol Anne said. I don't like the "Think of England" school of thought.
posted by veronica sawyer at 9:58 AM on August 30, 2005

I think that veronica is right, and that this might be a little more complicated than you think. Are you happy in the relationship? Have you ever had a partner that really did it for you? Have you talked to your boy about this?

... even if you don't want to at first.
This is not good advice. You'll end up feeling resentful, and possibly used.
posted by Specklet at 10:44 AM on August 30, 2005

I'm 26, female and I'm in your exact same situation.

The only thing I've found to help me is to read and write lots and lots of erotica. This has definitely and noticably helped, but only when reading and writing frequently, which is not always very practical when you're trying to, you know, live a life.
posted by lynda at 11:04 AM on August 30, 2005

I think used and resentful is a bit strong. The issue at hand is a lack of initial desire but enjoyment when she does have it, not a distaste or desire to avoid it. Obviously there's a lot of things possibly at work here but since Anon explicitly mentions possible upbringing indoctrination I think there's a lot of value in the suggestion she go ahead and scrump wildly. If that's not it and she enjoys the sex anyway it might not solve the problem but what's the harm?

At the same time, I agree with earlier posters that there's nothing wrong with a low drive. My physical drive has always been lower than that of the women I've dated, though stronger than Anon's. I think it's only courteous to make sure you initiate sex some of the time regardless of that; everyone likes to feel desired even if there's some perfectly logical reason that one partner doesn't initiate.
posted by phearlez at 11:50 AM on August 30, 2005

Don't worry about keeping up with the Jones' - what's right for you at the time is cool. But maybe this will ring true.

Women's testosterone level is also linked to sex drive. How's your general energy? Doing some hard exercise and really pushing yourself can get the juices flowing, good diet and being motivated to do things in your life.
posted by lunkfish at 12:50 PM on August 30, 2005

Ditto mkultra -- find a therapist you can work with. Yes, your parents' attitudes could be a major factor here... but any of us here could only speculate. Perhaps with a therapist's assistance, you could answer the question.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 1:52 PM on August 30, 2005

My doctor friend, who takes a specific professional interest in female sexuality, says:

1) Try a change to a triphasic pill if stopping it didn't change anything (give it a good 3 months before you decide this is the case -- but make sure you have a reliable alternative -- the underlying stress of the possibility of pregnancy can effect your libido).

2) Give thought to how you recognize and act on your sexual desires when you do, and increase these circumstances.

3) Masturbation (with toys, lubricants, etc.) -- the more you are thinking about sex, the more you will want to do it. To this end you could also try a ban on sexual intercourse.

4) Alternative therapies: ginseng, ginko, L-arginine, black cohosh, soy avena, yohimbine, damiana

5) Increased exercise.

6) If there are any signs of depression, this can contibute as well.

She also recommends the website for more info. (Keeping in mind that it is "supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Procter & Gamble")
posted by skryche at 1:58 PM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

Sex drives (i.e., desire to engage in sex) vary widely from person to person. I don't think that taking medicine to alter your sex drive is a very wise decision.

If you're concerned that you have mental hang-ups about sex, I agree with Zed that a therapist is probably a good idea. I do not think that the answer could be that your parents convinced you that sex before marriage is wrong. But it might be something less facile than that.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:59 AM on August 31, 2005

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