Is it normal to have little or no interest in sex?
A study released in early 2020 revealed that half of British women have poor sexual health. According to researchers, of the 12,000 Brits surveyed, more than a third (34%) of women admitted to not being interested in sex compared to just 15% of men. Struggles with arousal, difficulty orgasming, and a lack of enjoyment in sex were also revealed to be top issues amongst women. Of those who expressed low interest in sex, 80% were married or in a long term relationship and living with their partner.
But what causes some people to have a low sex drive? And is this a problem we need to fix?
Loss of libido
Changes to our sex drives can be a normal part of our lives. According to the Sexual Advice Association, around one in three young and middle-aged women, and one in two older women are affected by some kind of sexual problem. Experiencing a reduced sex drive can be common after certain big life events, such as during pregnancy, after having had a baby, as well as during times of high stress.
For men and women, a wide range of physical, psychological, and emotional factors can impact your sex drive. These can include:
- an increase in stress
- relationship issues
- depression or anxiety
- trouble sleeping, exhaustion, or tiredness
- alcohol or drug use
- a change in circumstances (eg, beginning breastfeeding, entering the menopause, or increased worry around a new job)
Physical issues such as diabetes, hormone disorders, and even certain medications can also have a significant impact at any age, for all genders.
Other common sexual problems can also contribute to a decreased desire for sex. For women, experiencing pain during sex (dyspareunia) can be very common once entering the menopause. Vaginismus (involuntary, painful spasms of the vagina during sex) can often be linked to other psychological factors, such as relationship problems or past painful experiences leading to a sense of anxiety and fear around sex.
Anorgasmia (difficulty or being unable to orgasm) can cause both men and women additional anxiety and worry about having sex, which can lead to a negative connection being made between how they are feeling (anxious or self-conscious about their difficulty orgasming) and sex.
Despite an estimated one in 10 men experiencing problems relating to having sex, many are reluctant to speak up and seek help. Anxiety around premature ejaculation and erection problems can cause some men to feel self-conscious about sex. The more they worry about their performance, the more anxious they can become when thinking about sex, which can lead to a decreasing desire for intimacy.
With so many of us experiencing temporary and ongoing decreases in our libidos, it does bring forward the question: can relationships survive without physical intimacy? And what can we do to increase our sex drives in a natural, healthy way?
How can I boost my libido naturally?
While your libido does fluctuate naturally over the course of your lifetime, there are many different ways you can boost your sex life whilst looking after your mental health. From tweaking your diet and being mindful bout what you eat to learning how to identify and manage your stressors, making small changes can have a big impact.
Identify the cause
We know this isn’t as straightforward as we make it sound, but identifying which issues may be impacting your libido should be one of the first steps. If nothing else, this can also help you to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing you issues. Speaking with your GP can help to rule out any other conditions that could be causing or exacerbating your issues.
It can be tricky, but try to sit down and think of anything that may be impacting your sex drive. Have there been any big changes at work, home, with friends or family? Stress can play a huge part in how we are feeling emotionally, physically, and mentally, whilst other big life changes such as the loss of a friend, an unexpected or planned pregnancy, or financial worries can all have a far-reaching impact.
If you’re worried stress may be one of the key factors at play, hypnotherapy for stress may be able to help. Aiming to break negative thought patterns and responses that have become automatic, a hypnotherapist can work with your subconscious to make more positive, healthy suggestions that can change how you react to stressful situations or triggers.
Make environmental changes
Going tech-free in the bedroom doesn’t just help you to sleep better – it can also have a positive impact on your sex life. By creating a more relaxed, calming environment, you can not only boost your sleep (which can naturally help you to feel more rested, focused, and energised), but it cal also help you to feel more able to cope with unexpected challenges that may arise.
Work on your confidence and self-esteem
Confidence is sexy at any age, yet many of us experience low self-confidence and low self-esteem. Relationship difficulties, body image concerns, and past negative interactions with others can all cause us to start viewing ourselves in a more negative light. This can leave us feeling unworthy, uncomfortable, and even unable to broach the topic of sex, as we start making negative links between these bad past experiences, and the thought or act of having sex.
Working with a hypnotherapist can help you to challenge unconscious beliefs that may be having a negative impact for you. If you feel like you constantly need to be reassured, seek approval, or lack confidence in your abilities, it can be a sign that your unconscious beliefs are holding you back. No matter how much reassurance you get, because of those deep-seated beliefs, you may continue to doubt yourself.
A hypnotherapist can help access your unconscious mind. With the power of suggestion, they can help you to make positive changes, improve your confidence levels, increase your self-esteem, and quieten your inner critic. Together, they can help you to uncover what may have caused you to develop these confidence or self-esteem issues, allowing you to recognise potential triggers, change your thought patterns, and move forward.
Face the issue head-on, independently or with your partner
while talking about your loss of libido or other sexual problems can be embarrassing or difficult for many of us, seeking help is so important. By continuing on without asking for help, you risk suffering in silence, and the problems you are experiencing could become worse.
While traditional sex therapy is most often successful when both partners are involved, hypnotherapy offers the chance to seek help and support independently. Hypnosis can offer techniques that allow you to quickly identify unresolved feelings about past events, underlying conflicts, and other external factors that may be negatively impacting you.
Through visualisation, positive affirmation, stress reduction, and the promotion of relaxation, hypnotherapy can help you to feel more relaxed, comfortable, and open to enjoying sex and sexual intimacy once more.
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