why don’t you want to have sex?

To understand where it’s gone, we first need to understand what it means, and what influences it.

You’ve heard all before. Men want constant sex, women oblige on special occasions, but all this outdated cultural subtext and stereotypes create a definition of libido that really isn’t accurate.

To understand where it’s gone, we first need to understand what it means, and what influences it.

Speaking on Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, relationship expert and sexologist, Dr Nikki Goldstein redefines what libido is and how you can refresh the page on your sex life.

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“We have all these terms where no one really understands what they mean. Libido is a great one because people will say it means sexual desire, sexual arousal. But even saying those words, when I was thinking about it – I was like – what does it meant to have sexual desire and arousal? It differs from person to person,” Dr Goldstein tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode Dude, where has my libido gone?

“There is this debate, men are expected to want it all the time and women are supposed to be the recievers, and give it to them on birthdays or Father’s day or Christmas, it’s like a present you give away,” she says. “I hate that because we’ve normalized men wanting a lot of sex but what about women.”

Your sex drive is only a problem if it’s a problem for you

The fact is, there’s no real normal when it comes to how much sex you should be having, but the issues arise when there is a disjoint in expectations between partners.

“There’s no such thing as normal when you think about how much you want it,” she says. “We also have to look at your expectations around how much sex you should be having in your life and, or, how much you should be wanting.”

What affects our sex drive?

“I see this as a puzzle when it comes to women,” explains Dr Goldstein. “When I look at lack of sexual desire, there’s so many things that go into the mix.”

  1. Stress

Stress can be a major inhibitor for women. “Let’s actually think about what happens in a day when you’re really stressed and maybe you’ve got work commitments, family commitments. When you lay down and you don’t let those thoughts go out of your head, you’re stressing about ‘Oh I got to do this’.”

“Your body probably feels really icky because everything is a bit tense…it’s not really the best environment to be having sex with your partner.”

  1. Resentment

Another issue can be resentment. “In a relationship, over the years, we do continue to hurt each other over and over again, and we tend to push a lot of that under the rug,” says Dr Goldstein.

“Resentment is one of the biggest killers…you can get to a point where you’re holding onto that resentment, and you’re not sorting your stuff out and when your partner gives you ‘that nudge’ and wants to have sex with you, you go, ‘Why the hell would I want to have sex with you when for the last five years you can’t remember to do all the things I’ve been asking you to do’.”

  1. Timing

Sex in relationships tends to occur when you wake up in the morning or before you go to sleep at night, which also happen to be the times of day when you’re most drowsy.

“It’s like this mad rush of quick, quick, gotta get to bed, head hits the pillow, I’m exhausted. Same thing in the morning, I’m not a morning person so it takes me forever to wake up and get going,” she tells B+S.

You don’t always have time for an hour session at these points in the day, so try to consider other times that you can start up a little foreplay, when everyone is more awake and not halfway into their evening REM.

  1. Body confidence and medical reasons

COVID hasn’t been the kindest to our overall wellbeing and fitness, and Dr Nikki Goldstein says that not feeling 100% confident in your skin can be a sexual inhibitor.

“That can see you actually pull away from your partner because it doesn’t feel good to be touched because you’re feeling a bit icky in your skin, and a bit self-conscious.”

“There’s all these things that factor into it as well, as even the medical side, that women are not educated about and they’re not aware of what can go wrong with what they’re doing.” She adds.

“Women get to this point where they scratch their heads and think ‘so why do I not want sex’. It’s a real commonsense kind of thing to look at this puzzle, but yet we don’t have those conversations about female sexuality and how we view sex.”

How do you overcome this puzzle?

The best thing you can try to do is identify what is a sexual inhibitor for you and address it. Always tired when you’re in bed? Consider starting the foreplay earlier in the night while you’re watching Netflix. If you’re feeling resentment, consider how you can work through those issues and find a way back to connect with your partner.

It can also help to really understand why your partner wants sex. It’s not always from a mindless, hormone-driven need.

“I think for a lot of women they look at their partner when they want sex and they think ‘you just want it because you’re horny’. They don’t consider all the different reasons,” says Goldstein.

“For a lot of men, sex is a way to connect and show love but it’s not always articulated because it’s face it, when someone is really horny and there may be an erection involved that gets in the way of things.”

Essentially, if your partner wants you, they’re may be trying to show how much they care for you in a physical way, rather than a verbal way. Thinking of it like this can help you go into it with a much more positive and connected mindset.