No libido? Here’s why and what could help, according to experts
Whether you’re on certain types of medications, have other health issues, or have kids and are completely exhausted, many couples struggle with libido and intimacy. When you and your partner start to feel more like roommates than lovers, you may be wondering if it’s okay not to have sex and how to fix a lack of sex in a relationship.
It’s completely normal for a couple’s sex life to take a back seat after having children, especially at first. But, if you have no sexual desire and your husband is crazy, or if you have anger or resentment issues yourself, it is important to get to the bottom of it to save your relationship. If you think low libido is causing relationship problems, consider what these experts have to say.
Why do people lose their libido?
Many factors can contribute to low sex drive or loss of sex drive. If you are taking contraceptives, antidepressants, or other types of medications, these medications could cause low libido. Anxiety or depression can also be contributing factors. And if you’re a parent and you’re dealing with any of these health issues, sex can definitely be put on the back burner.
It’s so hard to find private time when you have kids, especially in the early years when everyone is exhausted and the kids need to be fed at night and changed diapers, says psychologist Michele Waldron and Certified Couples Therapist and Sex Therapist.
Reasons for low libido in women
If you’ve had a baby recently, all those hormones swirling around before, during and after childbirth could be the cause of low libido — even more so if you’re breastfeeding, according to a study on postpartum sex, which revealed that 92% of breastfeeding women did not have sex. The reason a breastfeeding person experiences low libido could be due to the low levels of estrogen you experience while breastfeeding. Low libido could continue to occur until you choose to stop breastfeeding, the study notes. When you breastfeed, the hormones prolactin and oxytocin are up, but your estrogen is down, which isn’t a good combination for your libido.
Lack of sleep is another cause of low libido, and lack of sleep and having children go hand in hand. “All children are different and a lack of sleep can last for months or years. Some parents allow children to sleep in their bed or bedroom because it means better sleep but makes it difficult to engage in sexual behavior,” says Waldron.
“Children take time, energy and attention from both parents,” Waldron says. “The parent giving birth may have different recovery times and may view their body from a less sexual perspective. Body image after birth can impact libido and feelings of desire. Some women say they don’t feel sexy with a “mommy body.”
She adds that if you and your partner were into breast play in the bedroom, it can get awkward or weird if you are breastfeeding. “Breasts that were felt to be sexually stimulating could now be used to feed their child and cause the mother to struggle to reconcile their two concepts,” she says. “Also, for both partners, it can be difficult to transition to seeing a vagina that a baby has come out of as now a place of sexual stimulation. It can take some time for both partners to adjust to their new roles as parents,” says Waldron.
How to remedy a lack of sex in a relationship?
According to Waldron, one way to revive your sex life and correct low libido is to schedule sex. While some may find the idea of scheduling sex a little less exciting, some couples find it even better than spontaneity, especially if you can sext throughout the day before the big event. As kids become more independent, there will be more opportunities for spontaneous sex, Waldron adds.
“But honestly, is sex really spontaneous? If you think back to earlier in your relationship, most people do things to make sure they’re showered, shaved, and wearing the right underwear…just in case,” says Dr. Caleb Jacobson, clinical psychologist and sex therapist. “It’s not spontaneous. It is something that is premeditated and planned. So there is nothing wrong with having scheduled sex.
If you don’t talk about the lack of sex, or if you don’t make an effort to program intimacy, emotions can run very high between the two parties when children come into play. One partner may feel angry and resentment towards the other if they feel like they are handling a greater mental load when it comes to parenting, especially in the beginning.
Do anger and resentment affect libido?
“The thing is, most people don’t want to have sex with someone they’re not happy with,” says Jacobson. “If you’re angry or annoyed with your partner, you probably don’t want to be with them, let alone have sex with them.”
Emotions in general can impact libido, Waldron says. “Sex is better when you can relax and focus on what’s going on. It’s hard when you’re distracted by heightened emotion or someone is harboring negative emotions towards a partner. If you or your partner are irritable due to anger and resentment, it is difficult to feel sexual.
So how do you fix low libido caused or at least exacerbated by emotional distance? Communication is key, says Waldron. “Communicating with your partner about what is bothering you and finding a compromise can help ease anger and resentment. Open communication in all aspects of a relationship is important.
Can a relationship survive without sex?
Although a relationship can survive without sex, for most people sexual satisfaction is important. “Often your sex life is an indicator of relationship satisfaction, and there’s a connection between how much sex a couple has and their overall relationship satisfaction,” says Jacobson.
“Also, I want to emphasize that ‘sex’ is not always synonymous with penetration. There are many ways for couples to have intimate and sexual relationships together without penetration being involved,” he says. .
So if penetrative sex isn’t working for you right now, try starting with other intimate things you can do with your partner to rebuild the connection, especially if you feel anger rising over the lack of love. ‘privacy.
How do I regain my libido?
“Masturbation is a low-pressure way to reconnect with your body and explore arousal,” says Waldron. This can help build trust and comfort with the sexual part of you, especially if it’s been dormant for a while.
Exactly how you might approach resolving low libido depends on why it changed in the first place, she adds. “Medications can decrease libido and increase emotions. Some may have performance anxiety that causes sexual avoidance,” says Waldron.
Other ways to reconnect with your libido can be watching arousing images, or listening to or reading romance novels, suggests Waldron. If you’re with a partner, try to plan a date night that includes things that bring relaxation and pleasure. “Maybe talk about the times you had really hot sex together,” she suggests.
Ways to fix a lack of sex in a relationship
Before you can work on low libido or other intimacy issues in a relationship or marriage, you must first determine the root cause. This is done through communication. “Communication is important in all relationships. Many couples communicate well about most aspects of their relationship, but don’t talk about sex. It’s important to talk about your likes and dislikes and the things that cause you anxiety,” says Waldron.
“It’s also important for a person to understand what they like sexually because it changes over the course of our lives,” says Jacobson. “It’s the same with our partners. So you have to communicate and explore, which is great because you never lose the excitement of discovery and experimentation with your partner.
It’s normal for couples to have intimacy issues from time to time, but if low libido or low libido is ruining your relationship, try to schedule time to have sex, be it alone to awaken your sexual desires or with your partner. Libido and intimacy issues can be worked on, and feeling close and connected to your partner is an important part of being a united front, whether as a couple or as parents.
Michele Waldron, Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Certified Couple and Sex Therapist.
Dr. Caleb Jacobson, clinical psychologist and host of the Sex Therapy podcast.
Rowland, M., Foxcroft, L., Hopman, WM and Patel, R. (2005). Breastfeeding and sexuality immediately after childbirth. Canadian family physician Canadian family physician, 51(10), 1366-1367. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1479788/