1. You're having sex just to have sex.
If all your friends are hooking up but your body is telling you it's not into that, you might end up drinking a lot or eating a lot to drown out the message your body is telling you, which is that you're not into it; you need some level of disconnect to do it if it's not coming from your authentic sexual appetite. That will affect how good the sex is.
2. You're expecting sex to be just like it was last time.
Your brain mainly remembers your last sexual experience when anticipating sex. But if you're horny and expect sex with your partner to be just like the sex you've had with them before, chances are it won't be. If you don't get that again, it actually diminishes the desire to have sex with them next time. Try to take each time you have sex as a fresh encounter without expectations.
3. You're idealizing what the sex is going to be like.
If you idealize a sexual encounter, then you set yourself up for failure. If it doesn't go as well as you'd hoped, you'll either think you have a problem with your partner or there's something wrong with you, because your expectations are way off the grid. On the other hand, if you have negative expectations that something's going to hurt or you'll be disappointed, our brains are wired to pay attention to problems more than anything else, so you're more likely to have a negative experience. Again, cut the expectations!
4. You're expecting the other person to magically fulfill all your sexual needs.
Someone could do one thing and it'll turn you on, and someone else could do it and it won't turn you on. So if you think your partner has to turn you on, you're giving up all your sexual power. Focus on what's erotic for you and try to turn yourself on.
5. You're not making an effort to have positive sex memories.
Think about past sexual experiences for a few minutes every day, and think about experiences that make your heart flutter, because that sets you up for having more of those moments in the future. The brain is a use-it-or-lose-it organ so if you keep reinforcing those thoughts, it makes it easier to have them happen again.
6. Anger and resentment are affecting your sexual desire.
If you're angry at someone, you don't want them to get close to you. Then if it builds up and you start to resent someone, you really push them away. Resentment is one of the big killers of sexual desire. If you don't deal with anger pretty quickly after it happens, it's very difficult to move on from.
7. You're not fully understanding the cause of your sexual problems.
"Sometimes people come in and they want hormones to cure them or a pill, when it's actually their anxiety that's interfering with their sex drive," says Dr. Castellanos. When you're anxious, you tend to ruminate on negative thoughts over and over, so you're certainly not thinking sexy thoughts. Figure out what the root issue is and treat that first. Find a therapist you can talk to or another treatment that works for you.
8. You're being casual about sex, instead of having casual sex.
People often think they'll have a quick and easy approach to sex, but sex really goes to the deepest part of your brain that's connected to emotion, so if you're not in a place where you feel trusting or comfortable, you're not going to have mind-blowing sex. It doesn't even have to be in a committed relationship. You can have casual sexual relationships that are deep and intense because you feel safe, you feel trust, and the other person is really connecting with you. Having casual sex and being casual about sex are very different.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.