Today I share with you the continuation of yesterday’s post in response to NPR’s All Things Considered story called “Female Libido Pill Fires Up Debate About Women And Sex”. Link to the original NPR story here.
Yesterday I covered “Why Flibanserin is not “Female Viagra”, and today I will cover some suggestions I have for women and/or couples who may be in a similar situation as the woman in the NPR article.
First Steps: Health Check and Trust Building
The following tips are for people who may be open to more ideas on pumping up desire before going the pharma route:
The woman who was quoted in the beginning of the NPR article is 50 years old. And yet when we talk about female desire age doesn’t really matter, does it? Without anyone to tell us differently, a lot of us think the desire for, the amount of, and the type of sex we are supposed to be having in our 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s is the same as it was when we were in our 20’s. As a sexologist, I can tell you it doesn’t always happen that way. Sex will most likely change over one’s life span; drive, libido, and interest are affected by the physical and hormonal changes to the body during peri-/menopause/andropause/aging and this is perfectly natural. If you find yourself in a position of low desire, make sure you talk to your doctor first to rule out any physiological issues. Get your body chemistry checked out, but first do your research on the physician because pharmaceutical companies spend billions marketing to doctors.
Revisiting the Past to Ignite the Present
For some people, spicing things up to increase sexual desire can be intimidating and baby steps are the way to go. Trust in any relationship is important and can be key to putting yourself out there to try new approaches. Two of the benefits of being with a long-term partner is the trust you develop and that you grow closer as you grow old together. Often though, people forget this or take it for granted. Sometimes they may even blame the length of the relationship on waning desire. But trying something new is more comfortable when one has a trusted partner in my opinion. To rekindle that flame, try thinking back to dating and the methods you used to engage with your love. Try texting them some sexy innuendoes or leave love notes around the house or in their coat pockets. Touching each other lovingly or sleeping together naked on a daily basis can also help reconnect you as well. Spend some time each day investing in building the interest and desire during the daylight hours in a playful way. Take advantage of the memories you have had together and revisit some of the things you did while you were dating. As long as your partner is game to play along with you (aka consent) it can be titillating and fun. Once you both get home you may find a desire to let the dishes wait until morning (wink, wink). Exploring new experiences can feel much safer with someone you know and trust.
Expanding Sexual Education and Exploration
Most women (and men) could also use more education about various sexual behaviors. Lots of heterosexuals think of penises-in-vaginas as “sex” but there are plenty of other fun activities to engage in that one could find interesting (and I’m talking about more than just blowjobs). One could try taking a class or seeking out information about tantric massage or more kinky behaviors, like those where you play with the power or control aspect of sex. In the right class you could learn, for example, the rules of thumb for the safe use of handcuffs, discover the safe areas to spank someone in order to avoid internal organ damage, and find the most comfortable blindfold for your use, all while learning how to negotiate and communicate what things are and are not ok for you. Power play can be an interesting dynamic; I think this is probably why 50 Shades of Grey is so intriguing to so many people. For another form of pleasure-centric play I suggest prostate massage and pegging; Charlie Glickman’s book The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure can help couples get past the uncertainty of what to do. But there are so many more acts to explore than these few I’ve mentioned. There are certainly more than just always having him put his penis in her vagina. My colleagues and I educate on these things on a regular basis so don’t be afraid to educate yourself!
Venturing into New Experiences
This next suggestion is something that might sound really “out there” for many of you but hear me out; together you can try doing something kinky like going to a sex club or sex resort. Having sex with your partner in a space where other people are having sex can be hot. There is a rolling orgasm thing that happens when one couple starts to climax and the other couples in the room respond to the additional auditory stimulation. In a sex club, there are often rules of engagement. Finding a resort that fits your needs may require some research, but you can find good ones. For example, a lot of places require you to be part of a couple (no singles). It is in these spaces that you’re in an environment where it’s permissible to engage with your partner around other people and consensually acting as either exhibitionist or voyeur – the operative word is consent. It may take some getting used to the idea at first; give yourself that time to adjust. You’re not engaging with other people necessarily, you just have that additional thrill and experience of having sex with your partner in front of or in the presence of other people and that can provide titillation for the two of you for quite a while.
Small Acts, Big Impact
Both partners can take initiative to pitch in and build the desire in any given relationship. I’m not talking about adding just a couple more minutes of foreplay. I’m talking deliberately adding little acts of love, caring, and compassion that make each other feel loved and adored. For example, helping out more with the kids or household responsibilities without being asked or giving a massage with ZERO expectation that the massage will lead to sex. Sometimes partners can offer more support than they think and feeling supported and loved in a time like this is important.
Empowerment in Sexual Health Choices
I hope my ideas have given you some additional things to consider. Taking a pill can be an easy answer for sure, but possible side effects might do more harm than good and there are plenty of other low cost options to consider. Keep in mind that if there are serious problems in the relationship then taking a pill won’t solve the problem. A lot of times the lack of good sex is a symptom of bigger problems in a relationship. Make sure to consult with a doctor about whether or not a pill is the best choice for you but keep in mind that a lot of physicians don’t have comprehensive training in human sexuality so they might not think of any of the above alternative suggestions. Remember to a wise patient and consumer. Wishing you success in bed and beyond!