Are you convinced your libido is shot? Do you feel like you have nothing left to give at the end of the day? Stress, illness, medication, hormones or sheer exhaustion are all reasons you may feel like your sexual desire is not where you would like it. This week on the podcast let’s discuss where your libido went and how to get it back.
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When I talk to clients about libido, most of them tell me they have very little or none. But when I phrase it a different way, actually most have quite a bit. Do you ever feel aroused when reading a book or watching a TV show or movie? That’s libido. Ever notice a good looking guy or celebrity? That’s libido. Libido isn’t just about “I want sex now.” It’s really so much more than that. Libido is a life force that provides energy for nearly all activities including biological, social, cultural, sexual and creative endeavors. Your libido can significantly affect your overall quality of life and sexual well-being as well as your relationship.
It’s often thought that men have a higher libido than women. And it’s true that men have a lot more testosterone, which is the physiological driver. But men don’t necessarily have a lot higher libido than women. In my experience it’s about 60/40.
There are many aspects that can influence the libido; lifestyle, stress, physical health, age, individual personality, and more. So let’s talk about those.
Medical and Health Conditions
Medical conditions such as illness, fatigue, and certain medications can often lower the libido. SSRIs, used for depression can decrease libido and cause other sexual dysfunction. Hormonal birth control can often result in low libido.
Age can also be a factor. Men’s libido usually starts to decrease during middle adulthood while women’s increases into middle age and then decreases after menopause.
There are a lot of psychological factors that can influence libido. Stress, personality, age, relationship status, lifestyle, and past experiences. If you are having a hard time in your marriage or you struggle with your self-esteem, these can both contribute to low libido.
Religious and cultural conditioning also strongly affects libido. Just the belief that women shouldn’t want sex as much as men do can affect things. Also believing that sex is inherently dirty or wrong can affect libido.
We like to blame hormones for our low libido, and while they are definitely a contributing factor, it isn’t all about hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone all affect libido. Having higher levels of estrogen in the body promotes vaginal lubrication and increases libido, which usually peaks right before ovulation. Increases in progesterone can reduce libido which increases after ovulation but then decreases again right before menstruation. So, you might notice that you’re more in the mood right before you ovulate.
Libido’s Energy is Limited
According to Freud, an individual only has so much libido energy. Because the amount of energy available is limited, he suggested that different mental processes compete for what is available. Any mental process that requires too much energy to maintain had affect on the mind’s ability to function normally. So, if you are spending your mental energy on other things…you’re probably not going to have a lot left to devote to things of a sexual nature.
After having worked with so many clients, I see this as one of the main issues. As women we spend so much of our energy on our children, the house, our callings, the PTA, we don’t have a lot of energy left for ourselves or our husbands. We figure, he’s an adult, he can take care of himself, right? Well on this aspect, yes and no. Sure, he can masturbate. But that’s not really what he wants. He wasn’t that physical connection with you. So when we have nothing left to give, it’s really hard for him.
So, how can you increase your libido?
- Make sure physically that you aren’t doing things that are known to lower it – medications, sleep, etc.
- Check your stress levels – life is full of stress these days. Which often shuts off our libido. So make sure you find ways to relax and cope with stress effectively. Make sure you are taking time for you. And, sex can actually help with stress, so don’t rule it out!
- Exercise – exercise has been known to improve the sex drive from the physical aspect as well as the emotional aspect. Exercise can help improve your body image, lift your mood, and make you just feel better overall.
- Thoughtwork – this is what I teach clients to do.
Libido is very much a combination of the physical and the mental, although I think we think it’s about 80% physical and 20% mental, it’s actually probably opposite of that. So, it’s always a good idea to check out the physical aspects, but most likely, it’s your brain.
In my coaching program, we first work on your thoughts, your emotions, your beliefs, and really help you see how you are getting in your own way when it comes to your libido. We look at all the ways you and your brain are putting on the brakes and we actively work to release them. You might understand what is happening on the surface, but most of the time it takes an outside perspective to help you see what is below the surface. The stuff you aren’t even aware of that is getting in the way. Once we figure that out, then we work on what really turns you on. What gets those juices flowing. And we talk about ways to practically add more of that into your life and your marriage. It’s a simple process, but it’s not necessarily easy. But I can tell you, it absolutely works. Some of you have been able to do this by yourselves and others of you need some help. So, I invite you to come join me in my group coaching program where we figure out what’s going on with you and help you transform you into the person you were created be. Enrollment is currently open for next group. Learn More!
To get a taste of what you will be learning in group coaching, I have a Free Class on September 1 on Creating Desire. I’d love for you to register for the class. Even if you can’t attend live, you can register and be sent a replay. To register go to AmandaLouder.com/desire.