Category Archives: Low Sexual Desire

Articles about low libido, low sexual desire, lack of interest in sex, and mismatched desire between sexual partners.

Fueling Your Sex Drive

In my practice I see lots of women and couples wanting to address the issue of low desire. Before I work with individuals to help them fuel their sexual desire, I explore if the sex they are having is worth wanting and the level of overall satisfaction in the relationship. To have a motivation to have sex – the sex needs to be worth wanting and we need to feel desired and satisfied and happy for the most part in our relationship.  If that’s your problem – read this.

More often I find with women who are experiencing low desire is that it’s been a long time since they made their sexuality a priority. Sex tends to happen at the end of the day after all their energy has been put into work, children, the house, etc and then they don’t have much energy left to put the effort into making it a mutually satisfying experience.  In these cases I often suggest that couples schedule it.  I you think that scheduled sex isn’t sexy, read my blog Spontaneous Sex is a Myth!

SEXUAL DESIRE ISN’T THIS MAGICAL FEELING THAT IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL – Hormones are only a piece of what drives sexual desire. We all experience and do things every day that impact our sexual desire.  Some of the things we do fuel our desire and some of the things we do extinguish it.

WAITING FOR DESIRE TO HAPPEN – One of the myths that exacerbates low sexual desire is this mysterious approach to desire – particularly for women – the idea of waiting to feel horny. We look back at the beginning stages of current or previous relationships or ourselves as teenagers and we think – we were horny then – why aren’t we horny now?  Well, when we were teenagers everything was much more taboo and unknown – exciting – and that fuels curiosity which fuels desire. Similarly in new relationships we are curious about the person, on our best behavior, they are on their best behavior, and the chemicals that enhance our desire – endorphins are in full effect. There’s plenty of research that indicates our judgment is impaired when the endorphins are in full effect and we tend to be much more focused on the positive – what we like about the person that is triggering those endorphins. Once those endorphins go away and we get to know all the quirks and annoyances of our partners, they feel less sexy to us – they are no longer as mysterious to us as they were before and we begin to lose interest and decrease the amount of effort made towards being sensual, desirous, or initiating sex.

I find that people in long-term relationships create expectations for themselves that may not be realistic, especially since they aren’t typically putting in the same level of effort into their sex lives in long-term relationships compared to what they have typically put into a new relationship.

THINK SEX-POSITIVE THOUGHTS…You’ve heard that saying “your biggest sexual organ is your brain right?” Ask yourself, are the messages you give yourself about sex, your body, and sexuality positive or do they tend to be more negative. For instance – do you get up in the morning and have the ability to be grateful for the parts of your body that you like and that get you where you need to go and that get the things done that you need to do? Do you admire your favorite body parts? Do you allow space to be sensual with yourself? When you look at yourself in the mirror are you able to say positive things to yourself like “damn girl you look good for your age?” Or “I love my skin or my boobs or my ass?” Or our your thoughts more negative like – “I have got to get to the gym – things are not looking good” Or ” I hate my saggy boobs, ass, thighs, etc. “

Desire starts from within. While there are things in our surroundings that can spark it – a beautiful body or person, a sexy movie, a sexy song, positive admirations from a lover – It has to begin with us. I am suggesting you begin from a place of gratitude. Those kind of messages create space for sexual desire – negative, critical ones do not.

Lastly – Are you making your sexual desire a priority or does everything else come first? If all your energy is going into a clean house, your children, your work – why would you expect to have anything left for sex? Nothing good ever comes easy and while good sex may have seemed effortless when your relationships were new – it likely wasn’t. You were likely thinking about it – anticipating it – prepping for it – etc, etc, – you certainly weren’t wearing the granny panties.

Be a Selfish Lover

long-beach_sex_therapist_background.pngThat must be a typo you say. But no, it’s not. If you want better sex, be a selfish lover. Your partner will thank you for it. Being a selfish lover isn’t what you think. Being a selfish lover is about approaching sex the way you did with your lover when you were first together – when you couldn’t get enough of them – when you didn’t know what she or he wanted – when you were curious about them – curious about their body, the way sex with them felt, the way they responded to your touch, and how it felt for you to touch him or her.

Being a selfish lover is NOT about

Being a selfish lover is NOT about ignoring your partner’s satisfaction or just getting yourself off. When I tell my clients to do this their first vision is often the young guy who has no interest in connecting with his partner sexually. It’s the partner who skips foreplay, orgasms prematurely, says to himself “awe that was great” and then rolls over to go to sleep. Let’s be clear – this is not at all what I am suggesting. If you know someone like this, give them my number, I can help! 

Being a selfish lover is about taking yourself and your partner to places that YOU want to go. It’s about approaching sex with a new sense of curiosity and desire that often gets stifled when we approach sex with the sole intent to please or perform for our partner. When you approach sex selfishly you and your lover can often experience more sexual pleasure.

When sex is a have to…

If sex is a “have to” rather than a “get to” for you then selfish sex is an approach you should try. I often find with clients or couples struggling with low sexual desire that they stopped having sex for themselves at some point and turned the focus onto doing it for their partners. When we approach sex or anything for that matter, in a way that is about doing something for ourselves then there is less space for a “have to” way of being. If you have difficulty allowing yourself pleasure or treating yourself; then that’s another conversation and it would likely be helpful for you to see a Sex Therapist. In the meantime, check out other topics on my “Talk Sex With Liz” Blog for some ideas on where to start.

Your partner will thank you …

When you approach sex selfishly your partner will actually feel more desired. Yes! Yes! Yes! Everyone wants to feel desired and when a partner is having sex with us because they want to – because it’s their treat for themselves – we feel more desired. Huh? Not getting it yet? Okay let me reframe. I am not talking about when your partner wants “It” I am talking about when your partner wants “YOU”. When your partner wants to have sex with you as a selfish treat to him or herself you feel wanted.

Mix it up…

One last caveat – By no means am I saying that we should never approach sex with the idea of pleasing our partners. I am suggesting that you be a selfish lover more- often not a stupid lover. These tips are by no means a constant – I want you to mix it up – variety is the spice of life. So having sex FOR our partners or giving to our partners in a loving, selfless way is fine, just don’t make it a constant in your approach to sexual intimacy.

Now go have sex!

Igniting Your Sex Drive – Identifying Sexual Turn Ons

If I asked you what your turn ons were, would you know? If  I asked your sexual partner what your turn ons were, would they know? Do you know what turns on YOUR sexual partner? How about previous sexual partners? How aware are you of what impacts your sex drive? And to what extent have you communicated that to your partner? If you paused and were not sure of your answers to these questions, then below is an exercise for you. But first, when you think about TALKING ABOUT SEX, does it excite you or make you nervous? For many people the idea of telling their sex partners what they want is scary or a big turn off. I wonder where this idea comes from that we expect our sexual partners to read our minds and then are surprised or disappointed when they don’t. I theorize it comes from our culture and movies. We are taught not to talk about sex when growing up yet we are bombarded with sexual images every day. This certainly sends mixed messages about sex in our society. If you are craving pizza for dinner but don’t express that and your partner cooks burgers do you blame them for not knowing what you wanted?

If the idea of talking about sex with your partner makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone. Many of the people I come in contact with express the same thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to have been partnered up with someone you share the same sexual style with in bed, talking about sexual likes, dislikes, turn ons, and turn offs, is essential to a satisfying sex life. Yes, it is disappointing to have to tell your partner what you want – because all those people in the movies never have to – their partners know exactly what gets them straight to orgasm – right? No you’re not in Hollywood, welcome to reality.

Communicating desires and expectations is a necessary component to getting our sexual needs met. While it might be disappointing initially to have to ask for what you want sexually, hopefully soon enough you will forget that you ever asked because you will be too focused on how great it feels! If you continue to be sexually frustrated and longing for something else – start communicating so you can make your sex life something you desire over something you dread. I encourage my clients to think about talking about turn ons and offs, sexual likes and dislikes, as foreplay with partners. To even write it down so that they can remember and refer to it when wanting to treat their partner on a sexual special occasion.

Turn ons & Turn offs exercise:

  1. Each partner lists out their turn ons and turn offs. Take some time and don’t try to get your list completed in one sitting. Do this on your own and try to limit turn offs to 1 turn off for every 5 turn ons. Stumped? What are some of your favorite sex scenes from movies or is there some erotica that you have watched that really got you hot? Why? Was one partner particularly confident or  aggressive? Was it the way one person undressed the other? Were there candles lit or was it in a place particularly erotic? Was it hurried or slow and passionate? Did the couple talk to one another or were they quiet?
  2. Once each person’s list is complete, they make a copy of it for their partner.
  3. Share your lists without judgment. Be open, present, and in a place of curiosity. If you have resentment, don’t allow your feelings from the past impact your ability to be present with your partner. If you are unclear on something – go ahead and ask questions but don’t share any judgments about your partner’s turn ons/offs. Don’t yuck their yum.

Now go have sex!


I just can’t get in the mood….Sexual Desire is Complicated

Yes sexual desire is complicated. Are you saying to yourself, “I love my partner, I want to be sexual with my partner, I SHOULD be sexual with my partner but I just can’t get in the mood”? Are you lacking the motivation or desire to make the effort to initiate sex, enjoy sex, or even say yes to sex when your partner initiates? I say sexual desire is complicated because it is. If you are telling yourself these things but you are still not having sex it’s time to start asking yourself “What am I doing to fuel that desire and what is or isn’t happening with my partner in or out of bed that is impacting my  ability to get in the mood to have sex?”

Now of course your low libido could be caused by something physical, so of course, visit your ob/gyn or doctor to get yourself checked but in most cases it is usually our head that is driving our low libido . In most cases there are multiple reasons why a person can’t get in the mood… has low sexual desire or a low libido. Low sex drive is rarely caused by one factor, hence the need for sex therapy. In sex therapy we peel the layers of that sexual onion to determine the many factors that are contributing to sexual problems. Some common factors are difficulties in the relationship – resentment about old wounds and unresolved conflict, boredom with our sex life, problems with sexual performance, or a partner with a different sexual style than us. Sometimes it is our own interpersonal stuff like negative sexual schemas that we carry around about ourselves or our partners that may be related to sexiness or sexual behaviors; priorities not related to sex; or a lack of sexual awareness. Also, if you are not getting your basic needs met for your own personal wellness and are stressed or fatigued, then you may not have much energy left for having sex.

So, have I made my point clear yet? Sexual desire is complicated! And life is short, so go get some help!