If you're single, or have made a conscious decision to be celibate,
you may be quite happy without having sex for a while. But if you're
in a relationship and you've just gone off it, not only are you
missing out on the fun and intimacy sex can provide, but so is your
can lead to powerful feelings of rejection and loss that can soon
turn to resentment. Both partners can begin to doubt their sexuality
off sex can be particularly disturbing for men. It's a common
myth that men are always dying for it, so if you're not, both
you and your partner maybe feeling left confused.
sexual desire is rapidly becoming the most common issue treated
in psychosexual therapy. There are a number of reasons why someone
may initially go off sex, but often what happens is that even
when the original cause has long gone, couples may find it very
difficult to restart their sexual relationship.
some cases, going off sex may start as a symptom of another sexual
problem. For example: difficulty reaching orgasm, impotence or
painful intercourse. If this may be the cause, read the information
on those conditions too.
a few, the problem may be physical. But in the majority of cases
it's the result of negative thoughts or feelings.
The most common ones are:
* Poor self-esteem. If you don't feel good about yourself you'll
find it difficult to see yourself as a sexual person. Your partner
will be seeing a very private side of you and that takes confidence.
* Relationship issues. If you're feeling angry, upset or in any
way insecure about your relationship, you need to address these
issues before you can expect to feel sexual towards your partner.
Try talking things through with them or going for couple counselling.
Some couples struggle to feel desire for their partner because
they say they feel too close. The relationship feels too much
like brother and sister and sex may feel inappropriate. Sex therapy
can help these couples see each other in a new light.
* Partner problems. It's a sensitive subject, but a common cause
of going off sex is a partner who turns you off. It might be a
physical or hygiene issue, perhaps they have a habit that makes
you switch off or they're not a very skilled lover. Honesty is
the only way to get round this.
* Bad experiences. An inhibited childhood or a particular traumatic
experience might have left you with negative feelings about sex.
* Fears. There may be powerful fears of pregnancy or getting an
infection. Talking through these things with your partner or a
counsellor may help.
Other possible reasons
Any illness, disability or change in your lifestyle that leaves
you tired, in pain or feeling low about yourself will have an
indirect affect on your sex drive. The following have a direct
* alcohol and drug abuse
* illness or damage to testes or ovaries, which can affect hormone
* illnesses such as some pituitary conditions, hypothyroidism,
cirrhosis or stress
* certain prescription drugs
may find it useful to see your GP if any of the above apply.
Tips for increasing desire
* Relax. This is the most important thing you can do. Have a bath,
use deep-breathing techniques or buy a relaxation tape.
* Check your environment. Be sure there are no distractions to
you becoming aroused and that the atmosphere suits your mood.
* Exercise your pelvic floor. This will increase the blood flow
to your genital area and make you more conscious of any sensations
of physical arousal.
* Try using fantasy. Get yourself in the mood by slipping into
a favourite fantasy.
* Enjoy being sensual before you're sexual. Take your time and
allow your body focus on the pleasurable sensations of touch.
* Change your view. Get sex into the forefront of your mind by
reading or watching something more raunchy than you'd normally
* Focus on positives. If there's something about your partner
or yourself you don't like, don't think about it. Force yourself
to look at and think about the positives, instead.
* Stimulate your sympathetic nervous system. Exercise, watch a
scary movie, go on a roller coaster - anything that will speed
up your heart rate. Research suggests that 15 to 30 minutes later
your body is more sexually responsive.