A year ago, my partner and I made the decision to start seeing a sex and relationship coach. Through our journey, I’ve debunked a few myths about low libido and am sharing to help others struggling with mismatched desire in their relationships.
Myth #1 – Something is wrong with you.
Let me be crystal clear. You are normal and you are not alone. Though rarely the subject of dinner conversation, many people struggle with low libido. In a survey asking over 300 people how frequently they faced issues with desire, 60% of people reported issues at least some of the time and 26% experienced them “usually” or “always”.*
So if you have been feeling bad or guilty about your libido for a long time, go ahead and forgive yourself right now. I know from personal experience that it can seem all-consuming when you are struggling, but you are so much more than this one thing. No relationship is Picture Perfect and I’m giving you the option right now to let go of the shame.
Myth #2 – Low libido is a heterosexual female issue.
Since sharing my story about desiring less sex than my husband and partner of 20 years, I’ve heard from individuals and couples of all configurations that they also face issues in their relationships. And when you stop and think about it… this makes sense! Whenever you have two (or more) people in a relationship, someone will have a lower sex drive than the other.
Specifically in the survey I ran, 69% of women experienced issues with desire, and 45% of men reported issues. Similar percentages were seen across monogamous and non-monogamous relationships and opposite and same-sex relationships alike.
Myth #3 – Your libido is not something you can change.
It is easy to assume your level of desire is like your eye color and can’t be changed. And that the sex education you received on abstinence and how to avoid diseases was all the education you should need. Thankfully I’ve discovered is that desire is more malleable than I thought, and despite having sex for decades, there are still many things to learn.
Now, if you are happy with your level of desire, that’s awesome and amazing and more power to you. However, if you wish you could supercharge the warm and tingly feelings in your life, here are links to exercises that convinced me I have more control over my libido than it has over me:
- Breathing all the way down. Culturally, we are taught to not bring our full selves, particularly our erotic selves to our everyday life. Years of behaving this way can really suppress our ability to quickly tune in with our desire. Simple breathing exercises can help us reconnect. That’s right, the breath that’s with you every day and doesn’t cost you a dime can transform your sex life.
- Changing the playlist. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of daily life and let automatic responses to our partner’s advances take over. Recognizing these biases and consciously choosing to rewire things can help us look at our partners with the freshness of a new relationship.
- Eating a strawberry. Finally we're taught that sex is all about touch and penetration. But when we slow down and take in the delights of all of our senses, we discover a new depth to the experiences we previously took for granted. This classic mindfulness exercise can help strengthen your attention skills to enjoy and savor each and every moment.
New to this blog and want to start at the beginning? Check out this post about why I started a blog about sex.
This blog reflects my real-life experiences. I'd love to hear about your experiences, so let’s continue the conversation in the comments section below.
You can also check out these resources or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in classes or coaching to explore your own sexuality. I am a sex and relationship coach and if I can't personally help you, I'd be very happy to connect you with other wonderful sex educators, coaches and therapists.
© Pam Costa, 2015
* Survey Details
Background: This survey aims to assess the frequency to which sexual desire problems occur across gender and relationship types.
Method: Three hundred twenty-five sexually active people over 18 years of age completed and anonymous internet-based survey asking the question "How frequently do you have sexual desire problems?" The majority of respondents were age 25 to 44.