Hello again, dear friend Anonymous. Welcome back to our sex talk column where readers submit questions, and we do our research and then craft a story to answer as many as we can. We tapped Dr. Kate Balestrieri—licensed psychologist, certified sex and PACT couples therapist, and co-founder of Triune Therapy Group to Modern Intimacy in Los Angeles, California—to provide her (s)expert knowledge on steamy topics (like how to teach yourself to squirt, everything you need to know about edging, if nipple orgasms are real, and more). Today she’s taking the mic in our Ask Us Anything: The Sex Edition, to answer the latest submission. The topic? How to get in the mood for sex.
And on that note, we’ll let Dr. Kate take it from here.
How Can I Increase My Libido?
“Our libidos are not a light switch, and they often have layers of complexity that determine whether we’re feeling in the mood. Desire can be spontaneous or responsive. Spontaneous desire means you want to be sexual, and your body’s arousal response follows your mind’s cue. When people experience responsive desire, mental interest in becoming sexual enters their mind after they experience arousal in their bodies, and of course, have given consent.
To increase your libido and desire for sex, there are some situational and some general things you can address to put you in the mood more readily.
1. Attend to your physical and mental health needs.
Committing to your wellness and making healthy choices that are best for your mind and body can help you maintain a foundation for sexual wellness. A drop or loss in sexual desire can be an early indication of physical or mental health needs that have not yet been addressed or could use more attention. Some medical or mental health conditions, and medications, can result in diminished libido. Maintaining a relationship with food, exercise, and sleep that is healthy for you can help ensure your mind and body have energy for sex.
2. Ensure you feel safe.
Sometimes low libido is related to feeling unsure or unsafe. Feeling unsafe about money, your health, or the partner you are with can be an impediment for some people when it comes to desire. For some people, fear is arousing—everyone is different.
Working to resolve trauma or other stressors that leave you feeling unsafe can free up the energy in your body for sexual desire. You might consider developing a safer sex plan with your new or current partner(s). Talk about your intentions so you are more likely on the same page. Ensure you trust your partner and yourself. If you don’t, consider slowing down to build or repair trust. It can make a big difference in your ability to feel turned on and sexually vitalized.
3. Work on the health of your relationship.
It can be so hard to try and sync up your desire with your partner’s. You’re not always hungry, tired, happy, or sad at the same time, so it makes sense that you may not be in the mood for sex at the same time either. On top of that, unresolved conflict, competing needs, mixed messages, not repairing after a fight, or ineffective communication make it challenging to feel desire. Clean up resentments, express your needs, and work toward restoring and sustaining a healthy connection, if your desire is tied to feeling close.
4. Stimulate your brain.
Your brain is your biggest and most important sex organ. If it’s not properly excited, it can be difficult for your body to get things going too. Enrich your fantasy life, explore new forms of erotica (written, audio, or video), enroll in a burlesque or pole dancing class, take an online sex education course, or dabble in some new kink or role play. Cultivating desire involves giving your mind something exciting to play with. So give yourself permission to get creative and explore new fantasies, or dive deeper into the ones you already love. A little novelty can go a long way.
5. Have more sex
Easier said than done, but the more sexual you are (in your mind, by yourself, or with a partner), the more you awaken the parts of the brain geared for desire. That old saying ‘Use it or lose it’ is true, in that the more you are sexual, the more your brain and body stay aware of sexual opportunities and are primed for desire and arousal.”
Stay tuned for Dr. Kate’s next sex talk column, and drop us a DM for a chance to have your question answered (anonymously of course).
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