Let’s talk about sex, baby! With a name like Crazy Sexy, you’d think I’d be tackling this topic more often. Media, advertisements, TV and film, magazines, Facebook, billboards—sex is everywhere. But have you ever looked at how sex is portrayed and thought, that sure as heck ain’t happening in my bedroom? Pretty normal, since it’s far from most people’s reality. I know that many of my readers struggle at times with this part of life (I do too!)—whether it’s a lack of desire related to a health issue, exhaustion due to a packed schedule, responsibilities, stress, kids…or depression and sadness that stems from trauma or unresolved issues…the list goes on.
Today I’m kicking off a 2-part series on S-E-X. I want to encourage you to really honor this aspect of your life, whether you have a partner or you’re flying solo. And since sexual desire (our level of attraction to others, pleasurable thoughts, etc) and sex drive (our biological urge to have sex) is often tied to our general health, I brought in my dear friend, Aviva Romm, Integrative MD to answer some questions.
Aviva is a Yale-trained MD and Board Certified family physician, midwife, and herbalist who is focused on helping women not only heal their bodies and minds, but transform their lives. She has worked with countless individuals to help them get on a path to a positive and fulfilling sex life, and now she’s here to help us do the same. In part one we’ll look at the main causes of low sex drive and possible solutions. Next week, we’ll be back with Aviva to go even deeper and reveal some of the foods, herbs and supplements that can help boost your sex drive. Ready? Let’s get started!
KC: Do a lot of women struggle with sex drive?
AR: The numbers may surprise you:
- 30% of women age 18 – 44
- 45% of women age 45 – 64
- 80% of women 65 – 80 (and older)
These sex drive dips are tied to more than just sexual desire. While for most women, lulls in sex drive have to do with the lifestyle issues you mentioned (high demand on personal time that leaves them feeling less than rockin’ in the bedroom) some women experience a lull between the sheets because of something else going on with their health. This can lead to things like lowered libido, difficulty with arousal and trouble orgasming. And once pleasurable sex goes out the window, it tends to make sex drive issues even more challenging to work through because negative associations can pile up from stressful encounters.
KC: What are the top causes of low sex drive?
AR: Keep in mind that low sex drive is not always related to health issues. It could just be that your focus is elsewhere, like an intensely creative project or sending your kids off to college. But there are many common health challenges that can impact sexual health. Here are some of the biggies:
- Depression, anxiety
- Adrenal fatigue, general fatigue, stress
- Hormonal imbalances
- Thyroid problems
- Medications such as: anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, blood pressure, oral contraceptives, and many others.
Also, these additional issues can have a huge impact on the feelings of sexual desire and satisfaction beyond just sex drive:
- Low self-esteem, poor body image
- Unhappiness with partner
- Pain from anything from vulvodynia and vaginismus to vaginal dryness
- History of sexual abuse
- Urinary incontinence
KC: What are some of the things women can do to improve their sex drive?
AR: One important thing to do is get in touch with whether your sex drive is low or whether you have “Samantha from Sex in the City” expectations about what your drive should be. Are you comparing yourself to others rather than focusing on what makes you and your partner happy? This sex quiz can help you get in touch with your unique sexual health and how to get it on track if needed.
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Sex Quiz Questions & Recommendations:
1. Are there other symptoms that suggest a medical issue? For example, have you been gaining weight in the past few months? Are you more tired than usual? These particular issues could be low thyroid. Hormonal imbalance, blood sugar, and other factors can also affect your sex drive. If you have unexplained symptoms cropping up, book an appointment with your doctor.
2. How’s your relationship with your body? If you’re struggling with body image, you’re not alone. Over 97% of women have body hate thoughts every single day! Working with a therapist or counselor, reading books such as Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent, or the work of Mama Gena, for example, can help you to learn to love and respect your body and yourself.
3. How’s your relationship with your partner, and if you don’t have one, with self-pleasure? Many people are in relationships where their partner may be a little lacking in the giving pleasure department. One of the first steps is being able to speak honestly about this. Another is having strategies to get through the challenge. Check out The American Association of Sex Educators and Therapists‘ (AASECT) list of therapists. Or pick up Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by therapist and midwife Sherri Winston, voted by the AASECT as the best book on discovering women’s sexual pleasure.
4. Are you eating in a way that makes you feel energized, clear-headed and healthy? Low blood sugar, bloating, and feeling irritable aren’t a recipe for getting “in the mood” (and your mood can negatively affect your partner’s as well). Keeping your blood sugar balanced and healing your gut boosts your spirits and gives your sex life a lift!
5. Are you sleeping 7-9 hours per night? Poor sleep affects your sexual desire and drive. If you’re exhausted at the end of the day, sex before bed is probably going to go out the window. Getting more sleep is important for your heart health, mental health, weight—and sex life!
6. Are you taking time for relaxation to replenish your spirit and well-being? I know that when I’m burned out, the thing I want most is time to myself—not canoodling with someone else! Taking time to nourish YOU will put you more in the mood to connect with your partner.
7. Are you making space for romance in your relationship? So often our intimate partnerships become business relationships: “I’ll pick up the kids, you get the takeout.” “I’ll get the dry-cleaning, you take out the dogs.” And so on. We forget that intentional romance is an important and stimulating prelude to satisfying sex. It’s pre-foreplay! Often we’re just waiting for someone else to create romance. But we can do it, too. Think candles, nice scents, strawberries, and chocolate (hint: chocolate triggers the release of serotonin, increasing feelings of relaxation and pleasure).
I hope you’ll take the time to work through Aviva’s sex quiz and embrace some of her phenomenal recommendations. It’s all connected, my friends. When we nurture our sex lives, our entire well-being benefits and vice versa!
Your turn: What’s going on in your sex life? Are you struggling or are you feeling satisfied? Share your thoughts or tips here. We women (and men) never want to feel alone or isolated. Let’s break the taboo and have a good ole honest conversation about sex.
Peace & pillow talk,
P.S. Wanna spice up your plant-empowered cooking skills?
Check out my free digital cooking classroom. 12 lessons. 1.5 hours. Endless delicious possibilities. Chad and I will help you dice, sauté, roast, juice and blend your way to health and confidence in the kitchen.
filed under: Well-Being
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