Maintaining intimacy in modern-day relationships is hard. And a common theme I’ve noticed in many of the couples I see involves the woman losing interest in intimacy. What I often see happening is in direct correlation with our modern world. In short, it’s how busy everyone gets with their to-do lists: wake up, get the kids to school, run errands, clean the house, get to work…
When Life Lacks Balance
It seems there are millions of things we are constantly juggling in the air – with little to no downtime. Even healthy things like exercise can start to feel like just another thing to check off a list. And with all these things needing to get done, sex is often the last thing on a woman’s mind. Even more so, sex becomes part of this never-ending list of things to get done. Often, I see women tip over from this falsely glorified “to-do” list and fall into endless survival mode.
But, with a little reorganizing and self-care, this daunting series of events can be tamed. And I want to show you how you can regain control over your sex drive and reclaim a flourishing sex life. But first, let’s look at some of the common causes of this crisis.
For one, we live in a world being “busy” is glorified. Being overly productive is seen as a positive part of one’s day. There is a major flaw in this rapid lifestyle that affects our sex drive and one’s sensuality. When you become so career-driven or have an endless list of things to do, you’re avoiding being present with your own body. This process stops a natural flow of feminine energy, or energy that is connected to creativity and sensuality.
The Importance of Self-Care
Another problem I often see is women putting others’ needs before their own. This codependent nature where it’s assumed that a woman will take care of everyone else, combined with all the other expectations of her, prevents her from the personal freedom to truly relax. This idea that a woman should be expected to have a career, raise children, and still have enough time to tap into her sexual energy is out of whack.
Being sexual and having desires requires one to be out of this survival-mode hamster wheel. What happens when we are in survival mode all the time is our Cortisol levels become heightened. Cortisol is a hormone that is released and needed when we are stressed out.
The problem here is that sensuality is a feeling derived from a place of relaxation, where someone can let go of her day, her chores, her roles – and just be with herself. However, in our modern world, with all the “to-dos” that get glorified, our bodies are constantly releasing a hormone that has negative effects on our sex drive.
But, don’t worry. As I said, there are things you can do to reverse this problem. For starters: noticing that this is the reason you have lost your sex drive. Step one is locating the cause of your stress and shifting your priorities back to self-care. Before one can feel sexual, self-care is needed.
Self-care can start by simply taking a short timeout to connect with yourself and let go of one’s “busy” mentality. It’s also important to remind yourself that being constantly busy isn’t actually a good thing. In fact, it’s what’s killing your sex life.
Here are just a few self-care tips you can start implementing today:
1. Take short breaks.
If you’re stuck on the hamster wheel, ease your way in by taking short breaks. These small breaks should be geared toward having fun. Don’t allow your thoughts to go to your to-do list. Once this happens, you will start to be more present in your body. The more you can relax and have fun while being present, the more your sexual energy will start to return.
2. Do something creative.
Creative activities, such as art or music, can help shift gears from a “to-do” back to more of a relaxed state.
3. Get enough sleep.
Not sleeping enough is a big sex killer. Check in with your body, noticing how it feels rather than what you’re thinking. Activities that create mindfulness, like meditation or yoga, can help you get back into feeling your body rather than thinking in your head. Slowly, you will get out of your head and back into your body.
4. Label stressful thinking.
It’s important to learn how to recognize and label stressful thinking. If your to-do list is overwhelming, start by telling yourself the world is not going to come apart if you do less. It’s going to be OK. It’s also important to continue observing your stressful thoughts. Instead of being a victim of your own thoughts, be an observer and label them as “stressful thinking.” Not everything is urgent. But if you treat every little thing that way, your body will respond as if it were.
5. Learn to relax more.
Start incorporating more things into your life that de-stress and relax you. If this isn’t a simple task, find fun things that you don’t have to do every day, like a weekly massage or spa day, and just have fun. Yes, that’s right! It’s important to have fun. It’s a huge part of being human, and it’s fun bringing back your sex drive.
I sometimes tell my clients this, and it’s kind of a funny analogy: When it comes to sexuality, men are more like microwaves and women are like crockpots. What I mean is that men have a faster response to wanting sex, whereas women need more time. They need to be relaxed, and they need to be connected to themselves, their bodies, and their feminine energy.
So, if you’re wondering why your sex drive is low, and you can identify with being on the hamster wheel, consider not blaming your partner. Take a look at yourself, first, and see if that massive to-do list, that busy lifestyle, or a lack of self-care might be the culprit. While this might require you to shift your priorities, you will be able to tap back into your sensual nature and once again crave sex with the one you love.
Jessica Baum is a licensed and experienced relationship therapist in Palm Beach County, specializing in codependency and love addiction. To learn more about love addiction or to book an appointment, please feel free to call her at 1-800-274-8106.