Well, this is Mothery Love with a twist. Let’s talk about decreased libido.
First of all, Happy Mother’s Day. I really like TED talks. I aspire to give one sometime in the next few years. Late one night on call I was scrolling through YouTube, in search of my next parody song. (You all know how I do.) I was stopped by this one about sexless marriage.
With 14 million views, I was intrigued. Also, I started to think about how many of my patients come see me for the annual exams and just as I put my hand on the door on the way to leave their seemingly complete and comprehensive visit, I am stopped by a,
“There is one more thing, doc.”
These reluctant women have finally mustered up the gusto to ask about their decreased libido and what advice I can offer. My questions to investigate the issue usually include, “Are you having pain? Is or has anyone ever hurt you sexually? Do you have fun once you are actually having sex but just lack the desire on the front end?” I ask about foreplay and orgasm etc., but only because these are things that I have learned throughout the years are components to sexual enjoyment. In all of our vast gynecologic training, the psychology of sexual desire is rarely if ever explored.
I sat in that call room and watched this entire TED talk. I think I may have even watched it twice. If you have a sec, go to minute 11:50 in the video. And I quote:
The desire to have a baby will rev up any woman’s sex drive. The problem is, having that baby is likely to kill it…
Prior to this statement, the speaker talks about the inadequacies in female sexual education. Go to 7:52 and see how she breaks down what many girls are taught about sex and what that can do to a woman’s relationship with sex as she matures. She also delves into how a part of it is this notion is that motherhood and being sexy or interested in sex are discordant. I’m not going to lie. The thought that my mom and dad had sex even the two times to make my brother and I still turns my stomach just a little.
I can’t tell you how many pregnant or new-ish mothers I see who have a take-it-or-leave-it relationship with sex. I say new-ish because all women need to wait the 6-8 weeks postpartum, but for many, not a lot changes after that. Priorities change from sex to sleep, laundry, sleep, dinner, sleep, baby or small child tasks and sleep.
“Sleep is the new sex.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one, my student loan repayment non-for-profit would be up and running by now. (It’s going to be called The RobynHood Foundation and it will be grand! I’m coming for your principles.) I don’t fault pregnant or new moms for not being interested in sex, but there are a number of reasons to get back on that horse again, no pun intended (lol). A sexless marriage is defined by the experts as less than 10 sexual encounters in a year. Here is how you can bump (and grind) that number up (I just can’t help myself).
Health Benefits of Sex- Avoid a Sexless Marriage
- Less stress: From another well sourced and quoted article,“Ambardar says touching and hugging can release your body’s natural ‘feel-good hormone.’ Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system. Sex and intimacy can boost your self-esteem and happiness, too, Ambardar says. It’s not only a prescription for a healthy life, but a happy one.”
- Better Sleep: After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness” after sex, says Sheenie Ambardar, MD.
- Less physical pain: Endorphins function similarly to morphine.”Before you reach for an aspirin, try for an orgasm. ‘Orgasm can block pain,’ says Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, a distinguished service professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. It releases a hormone that helps raise your pain threshold. Stimulation without orgasm can also do the trick. “We’ve found that vaginal stimulation can block chronic back and leg pain, and many women have told us that genital self-stimulation can reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain, and in some cases even headache,” Komisaruk says.”
- Fewer colds: Women who have sex once or twice per week had higher defending antibodies than women who were less active. “Sexually active people take fewer sick days,” says Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD a sexual health expert.
- Better skin: Sexually actively women have a youthful glow that makes them look years younger than their sex-less counterparts. In a study conducted at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, a panel of judges viewed participants through a one-way mirror and guessed their ages. Those who were enjoying lots of nooky with a steady partner—four times a week, on average—were perceived to be seven to 12 years younger than their actual age.
- Lighter, less crampy periods: This one goes in part with the decreased pain, but there’s more. “When a woman orgasms, her uterus contracts and, in the process, rids the body of cramp-causing compounds,”
- Better muscle tone: Sex counts as exercise. Sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV. It gives you a one-two punch: It bumps up your heart rate and uses various muscles.
And these are just the health benefits. We haven’t even touched on the known relationship strengthening that goes along with increasing intimacy. Your partner came before the kids AND the children benefit from seeing healthy affection in the household. (Not seeing you do the do #ew, but love and affection are palpable.) They know when you are happy and intimacy, in many circumstances, contributes to this.
So how do I increase my desire to have sex?
Get help for pain or dryness. If sex hurts, you can’t enjoy it. An ultrasound, vaginal culture, skin evaluation or different lubrication may be needed.
Put down your device. Nothing will distract you from a desire for sex like a work email or a social media thread. Put it down and spend time with your partner.
Have sex. Tell your partner what you like, or do it yourself. Sexual stimulation will increase desire, especially in women. The longer you go between sexual encounters, the less interested you’ll be. Schedule it if you need to. A fireplace needs logs added to keep the fire ablaze. Feed your fire.
Don’t be afraid to see a marital counselor or a sex therapist. I have seen wonderful improvements in women’s expressed libido after seeing a sex therapist either by themselves or with their partner.
“Settle all marital arguments in the bedroom, naked.” – Maureen McGrath
Lastly, take a page out of the book of Nicky Minaj. In the space of owning her sexuality, I think she can be considered #goals.
Feel sexy. Be sexy. Own sexy. Even if you are doing this,
… don’t worry, your partner surely sees this…
You sweet sexy thang you…
Please like and follow us with the Facebook Like Box and any one of the email subscribe boxes above or below. Thanks sexy!
Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald is a board certified OBGYN. She began practicing medicine in 2007 and now uses her extensive knowledge and growing following to increase health awareness in a fun and viral way. She is the founder of The Gyneco-blogic and an author of numerous books for adult and childhood health education and social growth. For more, check me, I mean her out at dreverywoman.com