Many women experience low sexual desire at points in a long-term relationship and mistakenly believe (or their partners mistakenly believe) that the cause is hormonal. Because women have “responsive or receptive” sexual desire (unlike men who have spontaneous desire) women’s sexual desire is more likely to be impacted a range of stressors and factors. Consider these common barriers that can lower women’s sexual desire:
- Negative Body Image: If women feel poorly about their body, or specific areas of their body, it can lead them to not wanting to get naked around a partner—reducing opportunities to connect sexually.
- Lack of Sleep/Tiredness: Having children, caretaking of an adult, demands from work, having too many obligations, etc. can rob women of their energy. Women with sleep difficulties or women balancing many life demands usually have little energy left to give to a sexual connection by the end of the night.
- Feeling Emotionally Disconnected From A Relationship Partner: Distress in a relationship or frequent fighting and bickering can cause some women to not want to engage with their partner sexually.
- Experiencing Pain with Sex: In an effort to avoid the pain, many women will begin avoiding sex with their partner.
- Feeling Disconnected From One’s Body: Women who are breastfeeding or who have young children are usually being constantly touched, climbed on, clung to, etc. This can cause women to need space from other types of touch (like from a partner), which can decrease opportunities that could lead to sex.
- Not Enough “Foreplay” Throughout the Day: “Foreplay” starts from the moment you wake up! This includes light touching (i.e. a kiss goodbye), flirty texts throughout the day, a simple “how’s your day going” check-in, a partner helping with tasks at home, etc. Sometimes couples neglect these small but important interactions, which decrease opportunities for women to experience the type of foreplay they need to be open to the possibility of sex later.
- Lack of Pleasure During Sex: If women do not experience much pleasure during sex, this can certainly reduce their motivation to engage in sex. Sometimes couples in a rush neglect a female partner’s pleasure which will can contribute to the female partner losing interest in sex.
- Too Much Stress: Stress robs us all of energy, making it more difficult to engage in activities we enjoy. When there is too much stress, one of the first activities women drop from their “to do list” is sex (especially if the female partner is experiencing pain or a lack of pleasure during sex).
- Anxiety or Depression: Dealing with symptoms of anxiety or depression can interfere with being able to be in one’s body or want to engage in sexual activity. It can also make it hard to positively anticipate sex.
- Sexual Trauma: Having intrusive memories of sexual trauma, not feeling safe in one’s body because of sexual trauma, having a negative association with sexual contact because of sexual trauma, etc. can all impact a woman’s desire to want to engage in sex.
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