“I have no sex drive.” Sex educators, doctors, and even bloggers have heard this complaint from women time and again. It’s often accompanied by stress in your relationship, guilt over not being able to achieve sexual intimacy with a partner and feelings of despair and inadequacy. Some women naturally have a low sex drive, however, and it isn’t detrimental to their relationships. If you can determine why you have no sex drive, you may be able to encourage it so you can once again enjoy sex.
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Help, I Have No Sex Drive
First off, we’d like to provide a helpful list of things you won’t want to do just because you have low or no sex drive. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t panic, but you also shouldn’t remain frozen in inaction. Here are a few things you don’t want to do.
- Blame yourself or feel guilty. This may not be fun for you or your man, but you’re not doing it on purpose.
- Force yourself to have sex, especially if it’s going to lead to resentment and regret. In some cases, you might be able to get the ball rolling by focusing on physical stimulation, but that doesn’t work for everyone.
- Skip foreplay because it gives you time to warm up, become aroused and connect with your partner better.
- Ignore the situation when you should be talking about it. Your man might come to be resentful or wonder what’s wrong with him. Your relationship may suffer, and you may miss out on the opportunity to discuss your sexual health with your doctor and find solutions to your low sex drive.
Understanding How Sex Drive Works
A woman’s sex drive has often been described as something of a lesser version of a man’s sex drive, which means that some of the conclusions drawn weren’t always accurate or helpful. However, we have come to understand more about the differences between genders in regards to sex, and what we’ve found is astounding.
Some sex educators and scientists discuss the concept of having a sexual accelerator and sexual brakes. This is known as the dual control model  . Every person has both of these, and the way they interact determines whether, when and how you become aroused. For example, someone with a sensitive accelerator and insensitive brakes is likely to engage in frequent or risky sexual behaviors , also known as hypersexuality .
How does this relate to you having no sex drive or low sex drive in women? PhD. Emily Nagoski explains this in her book Come As You Are. Your sexual excitement system (accelerator) sends signals to the rest of your body, especially your genitals, about relevant stimuli. But your sexual inhibition system (brakes) does the same in reverse.
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Several things might happen if you have a low or no sex drive. You might have a sensitive accelerator, but it might be overwhelmed by even more sensitive brakes. Or your accelerator might be rather insensitive, and your brakes might be particularly sensitive. You can see all the combinations possible.
As you might suspect, men and women differ in some ways regarding the dual control model. For example, women tend to have more sensitive brakes than men, and men tend to have more sensitive accelerators. However, research shows that things like chronic stress and depression cause most brakes to activate . Whether you’re a man or a woman, this can be bad news for your sex life.
How to Activate Your Sexual Accelerator
The good news is you can do something about it. Just because you might have an accelerator that’s less sensitive than your man’s doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sex. You just might need more stimulation to active your accelerator and minimize your brakes.
That’s one of the reasons why we recommend foreplay. You don’t need to be turned on right away (although, there’s nothing wrong if you are.) You just need to get there eventually. So break out your massage oils, your favorite toys, and a steamy erotic book.
Check out the advice in the following posts for foreplay inspiration and ideas.
We also recommend using toys, which can help you become fully aroused and orgasmic with less time and effort. Check out our sex toy recommendations for toys you can use alone or with your man.
However, if you have sensitive brakes, foreplay might not be enough. You need to reduce the cues your brain is using as excuses for to not send sexy signals to your body.
What’s Hitting the Brakes and Causing Your Low Sex Drive?
According to the dual control model, one of the most powerful sexual brakes is relationship problems, even if you don’t acknowledge that your relationship is in strife. These issues can bubble up inside the bedroom, and ignoring them won’t allow you to resolve them. So releasing the brakes means working on your relationship issues and focusing on increasing emotional intimacy as a way of renewing physical intimacy.
Of course, you might want to seek professional help for issues that are deeply rooted and too difficult to tackle on your own.
But it’s not just your relationship that might be causing your sexual brakes to activate. It could be the dishes piled up in the sink, your aging parents, a stressful project at work or your own self-esteem issues.
If you can reduce stress in any other area of your life, your sex drive will benefit. So, too, will your general health. Stress affects our physiology in indisputable ways including increasing our likelihood of coronary heart disease , it’s a trigger for migraines , and can even making it harder for your heart to recover after exercise .
So it’s no surprise that stress can also take a toll on your sex drive. While it may be impossible to reduce all stress in your life, simple measures such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness can be effective at reducing negative effects. In fact, one study shows that relaxation techniques are enough to cause a decreased perception of stress in adults who experience stress from parenting .
Sensual massage from a partner is free, has a relaxing effect and can help you and your man get into the right mindset for sex. Learn techniques and tips here.
Your Brain, Your Body and How It Affects Sex Drive
At the Bad Girl’s Bible, we know that every woman has the potential to be a beautiful, bad girl, but it can be harder than you’d think to achieve that. One of those reasons is self-doubt, both in terms of skill and body image. Both of those things can hit the brakes pretty hard.
Anxiety about skills are natural, but they don’t need to ruin a good time. Much of this site offers advice to be a great lover, give the perfect blowjob and tease him into a frenzy. These are skills that you can learn and perfect, so you don’t need to be a “natural.”
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Pairing new skills with an attentive focus on your man’s response will only boost confidence in the technical area of sex, however. If your issues center around your body, you might not be able to turn off the brakes even when you’re attracted to a guy and want to have sex with him. It’s not fair, but you’re not alone.
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I Have No Sex Drive and These Tips Don’t Help!
The dual control model doesn’t completely account for other reasons why your sex drive might be in the gutter, either. For example, a woman’s previously consistent sex drive might tank once she reaches menopause because the amount of the hormone estrogen in her body decreases. This same drop in estrogen can make it hard to be properly lubricated and even lead to vaginal atrophy .
Anything that reduces estrogen in your body could have potential ramifications when it comes to sex drive and desire. A hysterectomy, for example, leads to a drop in estrogen because the ovaries are removed . Anorexia and unhealthy thyroid activity can also contribute to estrogen depletion. However, estrogen therapy can replace some of the missing estrogen from your body, providing balance to your sex drive and reducing the effects of vaginal dryness.
Not every cause of low sex drive can be fixed with hormones, of course, but your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy as a solution to your low sex drive and other issues.
Have No Sex Drive? Try This
Here are a few more ideas that help troubleshoot low sex drive in women.
- Admit that you have a low or no sex drive. Saying “I have no sex drive” is crucial to solving the issue if you really don’t have a sex drive.
- Talk to your partner about your feelings. Use our guide to sexual communication to help. This is especially important if you’re not getting enough foreplay, you’re bored with your sexual routine, or your man doesn’t know how to please you (yet!).
- Take sex off the table, at least for a while. If you don’t feel pressured to have sex, you may feel desire return. And it’ll be naughty when you’re not “supposed” to be having sex.
- Prioritize emotional intimacy and non-sexual physical touch. Hug, kiss, cuddle and laugh with no expectation of sex.
- Use lube because your body might not be sexually responsive during these times. Discover how lube makes things slippery and fun.
- Talk to your doctor, especially if you’re dealing with mental health issues or menopause, which may be affecting your ability to become aroused or interested in sex. She may recommend trying a new medication or switching medications such as SSRIs, which may be the reason you have no sex drive .
- See a sex-positive therapist, either by yourself or with your man. Working on self-esteem or relationship issues can jumpstart low sex drive in women.
- Listen to your body. Learn to read signs of distress and to do things your body and brain require to relax and turn off the brakes.
- Recognize that sex drives wax and wane, especially in long-term relationships. If it’s just been a slow few weeks, there may be nothing to worry about!
If neither you or your partner are particularly attached to sex, you may even find you can have a loving, supportive and fulfilling relationship without having sex at all (or having very little sex). However, this isn’t an appropriate solution for everyone.
Having no sex drive can certainly be a negative in your relationship or even affect your own sense of self. But the way you react to the realization “I have no sex drive” is a better predictor or whether it will become a deal-breaker in your relationship and life than the simple fact that you don’t want sex right now.
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