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Ask Madison: "I'm struggling with my libido, what can I do to get it back?"

Madison Missina is an award-winning porn star and sex therapist who is here to answer all your sex questions. 

Q: 

I’m struggling with my libido, what can I do to get it back?

A:

Us women can be completely uninterested in sex, but go through the motions and still have a pretty enjoyable sexual experience. It’s one of the hidden bonuses to womanhood.

Our libido is not something that really needs to be in full swing for us to have good sex. If you’ve ever attempted to conceive over a long period of time you would have experience this. Believe me, I tried for eight months. Sex became a chore to be done like clockwork, but surprisingly it was still enjoyable, once I was doing it.

But as a sexologist, I don’t like telling women to just go through the motions and trust that your body will catch up. I think there is so much to gain from purely just wanting to have sex. So let’s talk the female libido, what is it? Where does it go? And how do we get it back?

Listen: Madison talks about how you can watch ethical porn. Post continues… 

The libido is the natural frequency of your body’s spontaneous sexual urge and it also covers how open you are to sexual advancement. So when you pick up that your partner is in the mood, it controls how quickly, if at all, you find yourself getting in the mood too.

Our libidos will naturally ebb and flow throughout our lives and within our relationships. If you think back to when you were first in love, you probably wanted sex almost all of the time. But then as the relationship gets comfortable, children are welcomed into the family, mortgage repayments start to become a thing, the sex starts to lose its pull.

Reclaim your sex life. (Image via iStock.)
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Let's look at some main contributing factors that impact our libidos:

Health

If you’re feeling like sex has lost its magic, the first step is to look to your health. Loss of sexual desire can point to underlying conditions such as diabetes and it is often the overlooked first early sign of heart disease. If you think about the mechanics at play as you're getting aroused, it is your circulatory system that directing increased blood flow to your pleasure centres. So any health condition that impacts on the circulatory system is going to impact your libido.

A low libido can actually be a symptom of some medical conditions. (Image via iStock.)

If you're concerned about this, get to your GP for a check up to make sure that your health is okay. Also check your medications, antidepressants and hormonal contraceptives have the side effect of loss of libido. I’m not suggesting you simply cut out these medications, depression and anxiety also cause a loss of libido, so pay attention to when you felt that you were losing interest in sex and see if it happened around the time you changed or began any medications and then talk to your doctor.

Relationship problems

Make up sex is hot. But if make up sex is the only sex you seem to be having it might be time to look into the relationship. When we overlook little things that our partners are doing that are hurting us in some way, (such as not getting to fixing the back fence as they promised us months ago) resentment builds. This also leads us to a deeper feeling, as though we cant trust our partner to follow through. As sexual intimacy is all about allowing us to be vulnerable to surrender to pleasure, if we also have little resentments at our partners, we may find that our ability to experience sexual pleasure is blocked. So take a good look at your partner and your relationship, are there any issues that you feel might need to be resolved?

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Listen: Madison directs advice to couples in a rut, who fall into an orgasm routine. Post continues... 

The other aspect to our relationships that I see impacting on our libidos is often miscommunication about what each of you want and need in the relationship. For instance, I quite often see that men value sexual touch and being told that they are doing great things for us as important to them. But on the other hand, women seem to value non-sexual sensual touch and the presence (that is the listening attention) of our partners. Of course, the roles can be reversed. But if you are not receiving love and attention in the way that you want, it could make you feel out of touch with your partner. So really think about what you want and ask for it.

Dieting

The average diet, regardless of what it is, almost always restricts the daily calorie intake to 1200 calories and the libido dies when we consume less than 1500 calories. Our sex hormones are also stored in our fat, so when we drop our fat we also loose our stores of sex hormones, which you guessed it, means saying goodbye to our libido. So yes, reaching for that Magnum can be a good thing. But be careful not to overdo the unhealthy foods. Foods that are processed, high in sugar, fat and salt also kill our libido.

Your diet could be derailing your libido. (Image via iStock.)
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Stress

Probably the biggest impact to our libidos is stress. Whilst sex can be a great stress relief, our desire to want sex ironically is what is most probably first affected by stress. And with our modern lives requiring us all do more to achieve more and never break a sweat, it's often in the bedroom that we finally need to drop the façade.

So you’ve lost your libido and want it back? Here are my tips:

Assuming you have no underlying health conditions and yet your libido is still missing in action, let me ask you this question. When was the last time you really spoiled yourself?

What I notice is that in so many ways, we can push through to do so much for others, we can fold the laundry when we are exhausted, we can cook the meal for the kids rather than getting them McDonalds, we can get up and go to work. But when we’ve gone through some time ignoring what we need it manifests itself in our libido. We simply can't push ourselves to want sex, we either do or we don’t want it. So if you’re in the latter camp, I'd be willing to bet that you need some “you” time. It's necessary and healthy to be selfish sometimes so do it.

Make some time for you. (Image via Sex and The City - HBO.)

When it comes to libido it’s a use it or lose it situation. So if you’ve gone without sexual pleasure for a while, it's probably time to wake it up. Yes, I am prescribing solo masturbation. Masturbation with our partners is certainly a great activity. But our libido is about us not them. So find some alone time and start masturbating.

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Get moving. As your libido is linked to your circulation, anything that boosts that system will strengthen your libido. Whether it’s a gym workout, or a walk or dancing around the house as you mop the floor. Get your blood pumping and the hormones racing. (This is the reason why we experience arousal after workouts.)

broken banjo string
Get ready for some great sex. (Image via iStock.)

Finally, talk to your partner; really tell them what is going on for you.

Your libido, contrary to common perceptions, is not a reflection of your love or desire for them. It's an internal system of yours and it's absolutely normal to experience lows. Ask for what you want, ask them what they want, and whilst you can still enjoy sex without your libido, it's okay to take the pressure off by speaking with your partner about taking sex off the table for a little while as you work through things. But absolutely discuss this with them first. You may find that there are other ways to satisfy them in the meantime.

In counselling when partners complain about their partner’s low libido, I ask them the next logical (and loaded) question. “So if you want to experience more orgasms why don’t you masturbate, you don’t need your partner to be there for that?” Their answers are always along the lines of I just want to feel close to them. Well, there’s plenty of ways to do that.

[askMadison]

Hear more of Madison Missina's sex advice on her podcast The Prune and the Pornstar. Subscribe in iTunes or download the Mamamia Podcast app.