mood mindset desire sex anxiety depression body confidence
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Many people say that your sex drive is like a barometer for your general well-being.

So a fall in desire could be perceived as a message from yourself indicating that something isn’t quite right.

Very often, that’s around our mental and emotional well-being. 

It’s really easy to underestimate the role our mind plays in dictating our levels of desire. Especially when things like stress are a familiar weight many of us don’t even realise we are carrying. But a falling sex drive in response to a dip in our mental health is completely normal.

Factors that impact on desire:

  • Stress: 

Stress, or being over-scheduled, is the no 1 reason for a lack of sex drive because it has the effect of leaving us feeling utterly frazzled. And it also biologically flicks the “off switch” on our desire, meaning even if we want to want it, our body (and brain) says “no”. 

So if you’re feeling exhausted and can’t summon an ounce of wanting to get jiggy, can’t be bothered to have sex, get irritated at the thought of it, or it’s literally fallen off of your to-do list it’s so long, this could be the issue to focus on. Find out more about exactly why and how stress interacts with desire in this post here. 

  • Anxiety:

Anxiety really is a sneaky f*cker because it affects our sex drive in all sorts of ways, and is SUPER common (especially among women). Similar to the effect of stress, feeling anxious means our bodies are ready to “fight or flight”, not to start bonking. We might not be conscious of our anxiety- it could be a background buzz you’re used to. Or we might be really aware of our worried thoughts crowding out our desire. Anxiety might mean you struggle to focus on making love, have difficulties getting aroused, to relax into sex or just let go and have a good time. We lose touch with our body and our awareness of what triggers our sexual response is dimmed, so we’re less able to pay attention to them. And if sex is meant to be fun, pleasurable, ridiculous, anxiety can make bonking feel the complete opposite! Find out more about anxiety and desire in this post.

  • Depression:

Whether you are going through a low spell or have a clinic diagnosis of depression, it can play havoc on your sex drive. A sense of numbness, the impact on your self-esteem, poor sleep or the effect of anti-depressants can all lower your desire for sex.

  • Body image/confidence:

Our thoughts and feelings towards our body and desire are intricately linked.

Sex is a want not a need, and in order to feel want we need to feel deserving and open to a sexual experience. When we don’t feel attractive, we judge, criticise and close ourselves down so “it’s hard to imagine someone sees us with different eyes than the way we see ourselves, and we don’t feel we deserve their sensual touch- or our own” (Esther Perel). 

If we struggle to be in our own bodies, why would we take the time to invite anyone else in?

Our self-worth in relation to our body can be influenced by so many things, including societal pressure to look a certain way, childhood experiences, bodily changes, a breakup, redundancy, criticism, or traumatic sexual encounters to name a few.

Our body may not feel like a site of pleasure, or it may feel like it’s not our own (e.g. when breastfeeding). 

There are a few ways this lack of body confidence can impact on desire:

  1. We become  reluctant to get undressed or bare ourselves to a partner so we avoid sex

  2. If we do become intimate, we can become caught up in our own heads worrying about how we look, so we’re not in the moment. And sex requires us to surrender and be present to fully enjoy ourselves.

  3. These limiting beliefs disable our senses and mean we start “spectatoring”, so that it’s almost impossible to drown out the negativity to just enjoy having sex.

  4. This can result in us wanting sex less (because the sex we’re having is quite stressful!), and unsurprisingly, a decrease in desire.

  5. We can also disconnect from our body, losing sensation and being less able to pay attention to sexual cues when they arise.

It’s pretty hard to relax and surrender to pleasure when we’ve got the villain muttering about our cellulite, bum jiggles, the hairy armpits, the scars… the list goes on.

This disconnection from ourselves and our bodies is a root cause of why some women’s desire fades. And it affects epidemic proportions of women hating their bodies. Body confidence and self-worth is often really linked to being out of touch with our body/being stuck in our own head.

Recognise any of these? Want to feel more sexually empowered?

Luckily, there are some really simple techniques and tips to try to have a powerful effect on your mental health and take control over your sex life. 

Visit >>this post for #4 tips on how to manage your mindset and mood<< in order to have GREAT sex. 

P.S. Be gentle with yourself if this is affecting you. 

Don’t be afraid to seek professional support for your mental health and well-being. There is no shame in reaching out and speaking to others if you feel that your ability to live your life/enjoy sex is compromised by how you’re feeling.

Have you experienced any of the above issues? What impact have they had on your desire? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below  

Check out the other 5 most common brakes on desire below: