All too often I hear people say things like “My libido is crazy high today,” “My libido is gone” or “I lost my libido after menopause,” but how many people can actually define what the libido is? Often times when folks use the term libido they are referring to their “sex drive” or their level of sexual desire. Theoretically, libido can be defined by yearnings, cravings and impulses that come from your psyche, or mind. Libido is the the “cognizant” part of sex. The part of the process that leads you to sexual play. When this amazing “energy” that translates to desire is lost, so too is sex.
Libido is extremely sensitive; it responds to many different stimuli. A memory, a smell or even a sensation from touch can trigger your desire for more. On the flip side, if you become busy, stressed, sick or tired, your mind may transform your “energy” away from desire. Your psyche might be telling your body that you have more important things to think about than sex, even if you don’t want it to.
New relationship energy, or NRE as it is commonly referred to, evolves when one experiences heightened emotions and sexual receptiveness. Generally speaking, libido is often high when forming a new relationship. It is the resilient current between the coasts of your souls. But just as the sea settles after a storm, so too does the intense urge that comes after the foundation of love. This calming of the libido typically occurs after six months to two years. While this feeling or “lack there of” tends to concern people, it is actually very normal. If you were having sex as often as you did when you fell in love, it would be difficult to find time to work, socialize and most importantly sleep.
Each person’s libido is unique. Your mind may lead you to constantly think about sex while your partner may rarely think about it without some outside jolt. There are also some people who don’t think about sex at all. The truth is that the libido is dependent on many things. It may vary with levels of stress, health, medications, what we have been taught about sex, the level of pleasure received from your most recent sexual experience, and the distractions that are occurring in your surrounding environment.
No matter where on this continuum your libido may be, it is important to understand that there is only an issue with your libido if it is affecting you in a negative way. The following are a few things people may want to try if they would like to increase their libido:
Self-care is imperative to living a healthy life. No matter how busy you are at work or with the kids, make time to take care of yourself. Attend a workout class, meditate, go for a long walk, relax, dress up, take a bath or get a massage. There is no reason to let go of the physical connection that you have with yourself. If you feel sexy in your skin, you will be sexy to someone else.
Let your mind wander into the past. Think about your most exciting experiences and your most sacred and/or sexy fantasies. If you let your mind work with your body, it is quite possible that it will find the libido that you have been looking for.
Don’t be discouraged when arousal affects your body in a different way. For some people, arousal comes before desire. Try using arousing forms of touch and massage, and you might be shocked to find that your libido or desire for sex is all of a sudden there. It is important to be able to recognize different signs of arousal whether that is an increase in breath or flush on the neck.
Build yourself a positive sexual history. Make sure that you are confident and comfortable around the partner that you are engaging in sexual encounters with. Healthy sexual experiences will help your libido grow.
Lisa has a B.S. from the University of Miami where she studied advertising and psychology. She worked in media for three years before pursuing her career as a sexologist. Currently, Lisa is studying to receive a MEd in Human Sexuality from Widener University's Center for Human Sexuality Studies. She is co-founder of the site Sexpertise.org.