There are many things that can close down a woman’s sex drive, but for me one of the MOST common factors is because there is a barrier to her accessing and expressing her sexual self.
This might feel like not only low (or no) desire for sex with a partner, but also a lack of wanting to touch yourself, have sex with anyone else, or feeling bereft of *any* sexual thoughts, dreams or desires
If this is you- I hear you!
This is exactly how I felt for nearly 4 years… it’s like someone just blew out your sexual spark and catching fire again feels almost impossible.
BUT, it is possible. Because often it’s just about connecting to our erotic self.
The sexual self
The sexual self, or what people call your “erotic IQ” or “sexual identity”, is formed of our thoughts, dreams, anticipations, imaginations, memories, impulses and desires. Being in touch with your sexual self means:
- knowing what you want in bed
- feeling confident in how to ask for what feels good
- and feeling a sense of connection to your body, sexual energy and power.
This is something we learn as we grow up, shaped and influence by education at school, experimenting with partners and external messaging from things like films and the media.
However many (seriously, MANY- me included!) women struggle with a sense of ownership of their sexuality because they aren’t sure *what* they want in bed or *how* to express themselves and their desires!
This could be because they never had an opportunity to embrace or explore this part of their identity.
Patchy sex education, myths about desire and negative messaging about female sexuality has meant many of us feel kind of clueless about what we want. Or we might believe somehow that women shouldn’t feel desire, enjoy sex, or that our pleasure is secondary to our partners.
For others, maybe years of being in the same relationship/doing the same things in bed has lead to them forgetting who they are or what they like in bed.
Or perhaps we’ve not given ourselves permission to want. We shut ourselves down in the belief we don’t deserve to feel pleasure, to be attractive if we don’t have a body that fits with the cultural ideas of beauty, or shame silences us because of past experiences and trauma.
Without this connection to our inner sexual self, desire can suffer because we’re not equipped to pursue the kind of sex that makes us satisfied.
Below are just some of the ways a woman might feel disconnected from her sexual self….
The most common ways that women are out of touch with their erotic self:
- We don’t know how we work:
Being unsure of how our sex drive functions leaves us at a massive disadvantage (thanks, crappy sex education!).
This is because there are many misconceptions about desire and the different ways in which people experience it. This can make women feel like there is something wrong with them, when in fact the female libido viewed through a different lens works splendidly!
- We hold limiting or negative beliefs about sex, sexuality and/or who can be “sexy”-
There are many influences that shape our sexuality- including the messaging we receive as children, our sex education, our culture, the media, as well as other influences including things like colonialism and the fashion industry.
Because of this, many of us have both conscious and unconscious “blocks” when it comes to sexuality. Sometimes this is the day to day chatter in our brains we are aware of, and other times these can be deeply held beliefs formed through influential experiences throughout our lives. Some of these may harm us, or limit our ability to pursue and/or enjoy sex, which over time erodes any desire to be intimate.
- We don’t know what we want!
This is SO common for so many women- not knowing what they like or want in bed.
Katherine Rowlands believes “the utter depletion of sexual interest might be more common to heterosexual women, because their desires are less clearly defined to begin with”. For many women, we’ve never explored what we want, never been asked, stumble across it accidentally, or over time we’ve lost touch with our desires. We might feel empty, numb, or passive in bed, go along with what pleases our partner, or feel lost in knowing what turns us on or what our fantasies are.
This can be an issue because throughout history the focus of sex is often on male pleasure. Women are taught to be passive receivers of sexuality, not creators. Those that do go against the status quo might be called names or censured if they begin to explore and experiment with their sexuality. Not knowing what you want (or don’t want) means sex is always going to be about centring your partners pleasure- not yours. It also makes it really hard to ask for what you want!
We are sexual beings, yet even in our most intimate relationships, we often don’t know how to express ourselves. The examples we see around us teach us to objectify ourselves, rather than celebrate our sexuality. We often find ourselves reacting to being sexualized, rather than expressing our own desires- Naomi Katz
- We struggle to ask for what we want-
If you’ve worked out the above (or even a teency bit of what you like) telling a partner where we like to be touched or about our fantasies can be easier said than done. Maybe you’re shy, embarrassed or just have no idea how to start. But if we’re not asking for what we want, sex might feel empty, boring or just unsatisfying. And our desire for it might decrease as time goes on….
- Our bodies and minds feel closed down to our sexuality-
This is a really important aspect of sexuality that is quite rarely talked about. For many women the following resonates:
Being stuck in your head:
Many of us live life at 100mph, rarely stopping to experience sensation and pleasure, meaning we miss out on the wisdom held in our bodies.
The impact of being stuck in our own heads is that we might feel like desire is the bottom of our to-do list, or we never experience spontaneous thoughts about sex, passion, intrigue and tease.
It becomes really hard to access sexual thoughts quickly, as we’re not used to thinking them! This can be indicative of a mind that’s just forgotten how to entertain sexual play- perhaps become too serious and bogged down by the everyday.
For many women, these sexual thoughts do come- but only AFTER they’ve been aroused- (read more about responsive desire here, which is BTW is totally normal).
Without these background steamy thoughts to keep us “warmed up” to the idea of sex, we can feel like getting aroused seems as much effort as one of those old fashioned steam trains starting up. And this can be really off-putting for having sex when you know how long and much work it takes to get you horny!
We’re also very likely mostly using the left hand, logical part of our mind. This is the part linked to planning, organising, writing lists and analysing information- the masculine energy part of ourselves.
Modern life discourages us from using the right side of our brain (where imagination, creativity, instinct, intuition, passion resides). This means the feminine side of ourselves is neglected, meaning we closing down our wild and free natures. These are essential aspects when sex requires relaxation and losing oneself in the moment.
Many people say “Where the mind goes, the body will follow”, and being stuck in your own head can also be really problematic for sex when you also can’t stay present. This can mean sex could feel quite stressful if you’re trying to stay focussed but are plagued by a chatty brain or a mental to-do list loop that won’t be quiet.
Your brain is your biggest sex organ, but it requires practise to use it well. This is because it is our thoughts, dreams, impulses and memories that turn sex into an adventure. Otherwise it’s just the same old actions repeated over and over again!
One of the biggest issues with being so in our minds is that it can mean we fall out of touch with our body…
Losing touch with your body:
For women in particular, it is so common for us to forget or lose touch with the joy and pleasure of being in our bodies.
There are many reasons why women’s bodies shut down to desire:
- Women are taught to disown their bodies. Our shapes are judged for being too big, too small, too flat or too curved. We’re disconnected from powerful parts of our body like our hips, where our sexuality resides, and we’re not encouraged to really explore or express ourselves through movement despite it being the oldest form of communication.
- We might carry our bodies in ways that don’t seem sexual to us, or feel rigid, stuck or disconnected from places in our body where are sexuality resides- e.g. our hips, breasts, pelvis. (Men have a penis that flaps around in the breeze, which means they’re reminded of their body and arousal every time they get a hard on. This is called “bio-feedback”. But because women don’t have this visual/physical reminder, it can take more conscious work for us to feel we’re fully connected to our body, and therefore our sexuality)
- Over time if we don’t consciously check-in, our bodies may become less aware of sexual arousal triggers and we experience a sense of numbness or not feeling “alive”. Especially for those so used to being lost in our thoughts or not used to seeing our bodies in a sexual way, we can feel completely disconnected.
This can mean our bodies become less sensitised to desire, and our ability to experience the sensuality and pleasure of sexuality is faded.
We may feel empty, numb, lacking in feeling or unable to register a sexual response. Some describe it like a fire being extinguished- a deadening of sensation.
For me, it was a complete loss of feeling. I felt like I’d completely checked out of myself, and I couldn’t remember or find my way back to even the tiniest scrap of feeling sexual, sexy or into sex.
Recognise any of these? Want to feel more sexually empowered?
If any of the above experiences have resonated with you and you’re wondering where on earth to begin, I’ll share with you my life changing process to sexual self-discovery and finding your power.
Click below to continue to >>“A brief guide to sexual self-empowerment”<<