Understanding Your Sex Drive
By Great Sex Coach Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.
So what exactly does sex drive mean? It can be defined in many ways, but basically it refers to how strong is your desire for sex or in other words how strong is your appetite, force or motivation to participate in sexual activity. It is sometimes referred to as libido, or sexual desire.
What is a normal level of desire? Most sex experts report that once or twice a week is considered average, but it's important to understand that there is no real standard for what's "normal." Some people have low desires, some people have high desires and others have something in between. Normal is defined by what is normal for you. What's normal for one couple, may not be normal for another couple. One person may want sex seven days a week and another person may want it only once a week. Both of these are normal. If you usually desire sex five times a week then out of nowhere you don't want it all or only want it once a week, then that's not normal for you.
Trying to decipher what comprises a healthy sex drive can be very confusing, because there's so much misinformation available. But a good rule of thumb is this: your level of desire is only a concern when it causes problems for you or your partner.
If you and your partner are satisfied with your level of desire and it doesn't cause any internal or external conflict then there is not a problem. However, if you feel like your missing something, wish your desire were higher or your partner feels their needs are not being met, then there may be a problem.
Mismatched sex drives is a very common problem in couples and one of the main reasons couples seek counseling. The couple is at high risk of infidelity or the ending of the relationship if negotiation and compromise can't be achieved.
If you're already clear that your drive is lower than you like and you're looking for ways to boost it, then you may want to check out the Increase Your Sex Drive E-class.
Loss of sex drive is very common in women but not as common in men. It is believed to affect about 20-25% of men and 40-50% for women.
However it is a lot more common in men than we know, because men are ashamed to admit it. Loss of libido in men is more socially unacceptable and more upsetting to both partners than it is for women and therefore it threatens his masculinity.
The AMA estimates millions of women (several million) suffer with what they call female sexual arousal disorder. I'm not one to embrace "labels" so I don't like to use all these technical terms for disorders, so we'll just refer to it as loss of sex drive.
Many of these women are reluctant to address the issue. They don't see it as a problem that has the potential to erode intimacy, increase the risk of infidelity or ultimately destroy their relationship.
There's a difference between sex drive and sexual arousal. Sex drive is the desire for sex, and sexual arousal is the physical ability of the body to be aroused. Loss of desire is not an inability to get aroused or have orgasm. Most people with low sex drive still get aroused and reach orgasm.
Something causes loss of desire and if you can pinpoint the cause then you can find a solution. Loss of desire can be physical, emotional, hormonal or relational.
Common Causes of Loss of Desire in women
- Hormonal imbalances such as testosterone or thyroid
- Inability to ask for what they need to be aroused
- Lack of awareness of what it is they need to be aroused
- Women can be afraid of or uncomfortable with their sex drive because women in our society are expected to be multi-orgasmic sex kittens and yet still be virginal. This creates confusion and they may deny their sex drive because they don't want to be viewed as loose or a slut.
- Unresolved hurt, anger or conflict with their mate
- Their mate is not meeting their sexual needs
(Men do not innately know how to pleasure a woman. They tend to try and pleasure a woman in the way they like to be pleasured, which doesn't work. You must teach your man how to satisfy you.)
- Underlying sexual abuse
- Traumatic sexual experiences
Men may experience occasional bouts of low sex drive because of stress, job, money or unresolved conflict as well and as men age their sex drive can also decline. But some of the causes for men are different than the causes for woman. Other common reasons for men consist of: testosterone, fatigue, anger or resentment for what he perceives as bitchiness from his woman.
It's important to note that desire for sex can change over the years and it's normal to fluctuate. Major life changes such as loss, moving, a job change, having a child, a child leaving home, medications, stress, financial difficulties, job conflicts, health problems and being too busy can all impact your level of desire. Anything that affects your emotional life can impact your sex drive.
Sometimes low sex drive can simply occur because your relationship has gotten into a rut. You've become focused on other aspects of your life such as the children, job, etc. and need to get refocused on your sexual connection or energy.
One of the easiest most cost effective ways to increase your sex drive is to "just do it" as the saying goes. Push yourself to engage in sex even if you don't feel like it. Desire feeds desire, therefore, the more you engage in sex the more sex you'll want.
If you're a woman and you need a little help sorting things out or tips to boost your drive, or if you're a man and your woman has trouble in this area, you can both find lots of help in this little booklet Keep Your Sexual Desires Burning.
It's important that the couple works together as a team to address issues associated with low sex drive.