Ask the Loveologist: Where Did My Libido Go?

I have been married for just over eight years. When I was first with my husband I used to want him just by looking at him. Now, I can hardly muster the energy to think of making love with him. Maybe I just don’t want to have him see me naked because of the weight that I haven’t lost after our child was born. But it’s more than that, too. I just don’t feel that sexual spark when we are together. I don’t want to lose him, what can I do?

Libido is the sexual marker for wellness. The question of libido is a complicated one, yet often is framed in a simple black and white of “do you have any libido?” Our drive to be sexual is impacted by a complex interaction between our physical health, mental health, emotional connection and our own individual tendency/preferences about our sexuality.

The range of physical health problems that impact libido comprise a long list. Chronic illness and diseases like high-blood pressure, arthritis, and diabetes, to name just a few, often contribute to low libido. Also, a wide range of prescription drugs, including anti-depressants, blood pressure drugs and even antihistimines can take a toll on your sex drive. Yet more often than serious illness, many people as they age do not maintain the eating, exercise and sleep habits that keep us well. Over 55 percent of women are overweight to some degree in this country.

Our hormones are the cocktail that drives our passion in life. Normal life events like pregnancy, nursing and peri-menopausal to menopausal shifts can make big impacts on the libido mechanism. Although low libido is common to most women (over 40 percent) at some point in their lives, ongoing and persistent lack of sex drive may well respond to hormonal treatments. Hormones are an interesting and vital part of what it takes for both sexual and overall wellness. Hormones are worthy of you and your doctor’s attention.

For many women, the libido function is deeply tied to their psychological and emotional life. The brain is the sexiest organ in the body; the arousal function starts there, so if you are plagued with emotional issues like low self-esteem, poor body image, depression, anxiety or even constant stress, it is not surprising that you can’t find your libido. These issues are just as legitimate as any biological ones and, for many women, more tenacious.

Mental and emotional struggles often get wrapped up and manifest in ongoing relationship issues. Many couples are challenged with communication problems and ongoing conflict. Issues of commitment and infidelity can be deal breakers. Not feeling connected to your partner is enough for many women to have no access to their libido. The link between feeling bad about yourself and then feeling bad about your partner is a bit of a chicken and egg problem– hard to know which one initiates the other. The important thing is to stop the cycle. Usually that begins with self love.

Certainly not the only reason, but a great one to inspire a fresh look at your lifestyle habits is that the healthier and happier you are, the more room you give your libido to wake up. It is amazing how changing small daily habits can turn our health around quickly. Include exercise and choose fresh and whole foods every day. Learn to meditate or take short walks and learn to shut off the chatter in your mind. Turn off the gadgets and television and cultivate the art of conversation. Sleep when you are tired.

Learning how to communicate is the currency of your relationships’ capacity for intimacy: physically, emotionally and mentally. Prioritize shared enjoyment and learn to fight fair when conflicts arise. Schedule time to connect physically. Intimacy can be as non-threatening as mutual back rubs, but what is important is to rebuild your capacity to have physical conversations. Go slowly and consider this a practice of discovering the sensual aspects of sharing a life with someone.

A great resource on your journey is Reclaiming Desire by Marianne Brandon, PHD and Andrew Goldstein, MD. I like this book because it doesn’t pathologize the issue of libido but offers a wide range of holistic solutions to address it. I spoke with Marianne recently on her radio show and was excited to find this resource that provides so many reasonable and doable solutions for women.

I congratulate you for wanting to deal with this issue in your life. As challenging as it may be to find the mix of solutions that works for you and your partner, I guarantee that the effort will pay you back, both in the increased connection you build in your relationship but also, and more importantly, in the confidence you gain from finding your center.


Love This? Never Miss Another Story.

36 comments

Jennifer U.
Jennifer A.3 years ago

I agree with Lin, I feel that women tend to be more concerned with feeling a connection with their partner. If it would be 100% up to me, me and my boyfriend would spend more time cuddling and would have sex when the mood was absolutely perfect for it while my boyfriend tends to create the mood and doesn't mind if it's not perfect. I feel that this sums up most male and female relationships.

AndyNoMail O.
Past Member 4 years ago

I agree Megan S! Many women including myself, have an overactive libido, and it is the men that are lacking in the want. I suppose some of that has to do with the lowering of testosterone as they age. It's not always the women who say they have the headache!

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Sex is totally overrated in contemporary society, you have to fit the norm or else... talking about distractions and small minds...

Alicia N.
Alicia N.4 years ago

thanks for posting

Anja N.
Justin R.4 years ago

For one thing, a man also has to look after himself just as he is demanding it from his woman!

Treesa Math
tia Math4 years ago

thank you for the article wendy.... relaxation,good diet and yoga is very important for a healthy life for oneself,partner and the family. ...most of all a positive attitude with an open mind.

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson4 years ago

Chances are that you're exhausted by working, taking care of your child and worring about this.But, just in case your thyroid isn't working DO have a GOOD checkup. Then ask your husband out on a date, buy a dress---you remember dresses-- and a pretty nightie, get your hair done.At dinner drink 1/2 a glass of wine.Talk. Do the '"date night " once a week,Pretty soon BOTH of you will remember what you use to want to do. Then DO IT!

Andy Kadir-Buxton

To get your libido back just use Love Potion Number 10, or the Kadir-Buxton Method, both of which can be seen at: www.kadir-buxton.com/

Past Member
Past Member 4 years ago

something we usually don't know...arousal is related with the parasympathetic area of our brain and orgasm related with the sympathetic area. If we are stressed, running with our lifes we tend to be on the sympathetic mode all the time, so we don't allow the parasympathetic fase to happens... In other words, we don't take time to relax, to stop running, to stop the visual polution every day and night from tv, radios, computers, that is why its important to slow down abit, meditate, listen calm musics, do some exercise, yoga, tai chi... it should put you on the parasympathetic mode and will improve the libido.

Lin Penrose
Lin Penrose4 years ago

I added a comment previously that didn't get listed in comments, about lust and male obsession with sex to extreme areas, ex., children & other species of animals. While females in relationships often desire mental communications as well as the sexual/physical pleasures. Perhaps this comment will get through Care2 or whomever is policing.