AM I normal? Is how often we do it normal? What is normal? These are the questions and worries that plague many women when it comes to sex and how often they do or don’t do it.
We’re bombarded by sex everywhere we turn, from TV and film to music videos and billboards. And whilst we’ve heard the saying ‘sex sells’, we know we’re living in a sex-saturated world when suddenly adverts try to convince us to even look at toilet roll in a sensuous manner.
So what happens when you’re living in a sex-obsessed society but your feelings towards sex have changed from seeing it as something pleasurable to seeing it as a chore that you ‘have’ to do?
No.1 asked relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr, to explain what a sex drive actually is and what we can do when we realise our libido has gone into hiding…
What exactly is a ‘sex drive’?
A sex drive is defined as a person’s urge to seek satisfaction of their sexual needs. It has long been debated whether men’s sex drives are stronger than women’s and there are lots of opinions on the factors that influence our sexual desire. Many studies have shown that male sex drive can be more straightforward. It’s common knowledge that many women place value on emotional connection as a spark of sexual desire, but there are of course physical factors at play too.
What can get in the way of our sex drives?
Lifestyles are often busy and stressful, which can have an impact on our desire for sex. Practical elements such as finding the time and physical barriers, such as simply not having enough energy, can mean that sex moves quickly down our priority list. It’s important to also explore other underlying causes for lack of sexual desire, like potential medical issues and rows with your partner. Anxiety and depression are also associated with low libido and so you may wish to speak to your GP for advice.
Why do women feel pressure about their sex drive?
Many of us are guilty of comparing ourselves to others. In fact, in a recent survey, one third of women felt that comparing themselves to other women has affected their state of well-being. We often hear stories of women enjoying their sex lives and that can lead to unnecessary pressure and expectation. The truth is that many women experience sexual challenges during their lifetime, whether this is a lack or loss of sex drive, difficulties reaching orgasm, or pain or discomfort during sex.
It’s also important to remember that there is no set formula for what makes a perfect sex life. As long as you are open and honest with your partner and happy in your own situation, there is no need to live up to an idea of what is ‘normal’.
How can we get more in the mood for sex and intimacy?
Low libido is commonly linked to tiredness so you should consider ways to improve your diet and boost your energy levels. Start by eating more wholegrains like nuts, cereals and brown rice as they deliver slow-release energy and are packed with important B vitamins. Limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks as they can lead to energy highs and lows and feelings of irritability. You could also consider a natural supplement to improve your energy levels and lift your libido.
A major factor in low libido is often too much personal or professional stress and so it’s important to consider lifestyle changes that can help to reduce this. Try a new hobby such as yoga or pilates or go for a short walk each day to relax and de-stress. Exercise also releases mood-enhancing hormones so you may feel happier and sexier too!