The reality is that sexual desire and appetite are far from constant: they wax and wane throughout your life. One year you might be the horniest person alive. The next, sex might be the furthest thing from your mind (and loins).
And when it comes to relationships, well, it's no secret that sexual chemistry can peter out with time. The longer you’ve been with someone, the more the inexplicable, blazing, attraction that drew you together becomes a flickering hearth — homely, yes, but for better or worse not likely to set your life on fire. So, are there ways to take control of your libido? Keep reading to find out...
The four causes of low libido
While it’s normal to go through periods of low libido, it may help to know there are plenty of reasons why you might be experiencing a dip in your sexual appetite. ‘There are, predominantly four areas that can cause low libido: physical, hormonal, psychological, and relationship issues.’ says sex therapist Danielle Bennett.
With so many potential triggers to consider, it can help to get to the bottom of why you might be experiencing low libido. This, Bennett explains, ensures you can take targeted action to aim up your sexual action. First: head to your GP. They may take a blood test to investigate potential thyroid issues, check if you’ve had any vaginal dryness and look at the side effects of any medications you’re on, including the contraceptive pill. If the medical route doesn’t provide any answers, it’s time for a bit of self-discovery.
Designate a ‘sex night’ — and reconnect with your body
This can take the form of basic self-care, such as ensuring you sleep, take time to get creative, eat well, and avoid alcohol (which can inhibit sex hormones). Danielle also recommends ‘self-focus’ exercises or sensate focus exercises, which ask you to touch your body without initially including movements that may lead to orgasm or sex, in order to ‘feel comfortable with your body’. If you’re more of a planner than an explorer, Danielle advises that that people in the relationships pick out specific days and times for sex – just make sure it’s not bedtime. ‘Choose a prime time for sex when you’ll usually be winding down and ready sleep.’
MOT your mental health
Sometimes, you need to dig a bit deeper into the cause: the role that your mental health plays on our sexuality cannot be understated. Studies have shown that depression can often lead to a decrease in sexual interest, and that sexual trauma can seriously change your relationship with sex. ‘mental health can have an impact on libido, especially anxiety and trauma related to a negative sexual experience,’ says Danielle. ‘When having sex, or thinking about having sex, the person can be triggered and go on to develop a negative or phobic response to sex and intimacy.’ If mental health could be the reason behind a decrease in sexual interest, it may be worth attending sex therapy – either privately or through your GP.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.