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Where did my libido go?

This article first appeared on CozyCot.

Your partner is complaining that the two of you are not having sex often enough. Or perhaps he is not interested in sex anymore? This begs the question – how often is enough? Is there such a thing as a normal level of sexual frequency? Here are some facts about one’s sexual desire:

1)    There is no “normal”, because we are all unique individuals. The more important question to discuss has to be, what do you believe is “normal”?

2)    There is often (not always) a sexual desire discrepancy between the male and female.

3)    Men and women are built differently. Testosterone is believed to be the biggest attributor to the biological desire for sex and its level is 20-40% higher in men than women.

4)    Women may have other priorities, such as juggling work, family and friends. When something has to give, it is usually the romantic relationship. To the woman, what support do you need to get your mojo back?

5)    Sex is not the most important thing in a relationship. The lack of sex is only an issue if one partner feels it is an issue.

Is it really an issue about the libido? What has changed since you got together? How can you meaningfully address this issue of desire discrepancy? Here are some areas to think about:

1)    Have you done a hormonal check? Do you notice that you are getting distracted or tired easily? Are you finding yourself having symptoms of perimenopause? When was the last time you had a thorough medical check-up? Perhaps you’d like to check your hormones to rule out any physiological possibility. He may need to check out his testosterone levels if he is the one who is disinterested in sex.

2)    Have you and your partner gone for regular HIV/STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) check as well? Anxiety about these infections can also be a factor for not being able to enjoy sex.

3)    What is going on in the relationship? Besides dissatisfaction about the sexual frequency, what else is going on in the relationship? Are you able to communicate well outside of the bedroom? Are there issues of contention which you fight about, and which cannot be resolved? Are there any concerns about sexual reproductive health in either one of you? The way you feel about your partner may be affecting your sexual drive – and desire to be intimate.

4)    What is your sexual attitude? Your beliefs about sex as to what ‘normal’, ‘proper’, ‘healthy’, ‘expected’ or even ‘age-appropriate’ can alter your sex drive. How comfortable are you with sex? Are there certain sexual acts you would never perform? If yes, which are they? And why? How open are you to talking about sex and sexual health issues, and asking for what you want in the bedroom?

5)    Are you bored with sex? Has sex become a chore or too routine? Do you feel you are just going through the motions for his or her benefit? Do you wish that that more time was taken to romance you, or vice versa? If yes, it may be the lack of authentic emotional connection and pleasure that is short-circuiting your feelings. What would make sex better for both of you?

6)    What else is going on in your life? Are you been feeling stressed or tired from work? Have you been working under a tyrant boss, uncooperative colleagues, or an abusive work environment for too long? Could you be depressed? You may wish to work with what you can immediately – eating healthy foods, getting the required amount of exercise, and having sufficient rest.

I trust that the above has given you some ideas in terms of where some possible issues behind avoidance of sex might be lie. You need to be communicating honestly with your partner – including asking for support or checking whether he needs your support. It may take the form of negotiating or compromising on what you are willing to do sexually. Your partner would also want to feel that you are not forcing yourself to do anything. You are the other 50% in the relationship, and can make sex better and safe by communicating well with your partner to implement some changes. Honestly explore what would make sex better and safe for you, and own your sexuality and sexual health.

Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com.

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