Dear Levi B.,
I haven’t been interested in sex lately. I mean, normally, I’m a very horny woman, but for the last month or two, it’s like things just aren’t happening at the right time and my libido is on vacation. I’m really sad about it. What can I do?
Dear Horny Holiday,
I think the first question you need to ask isn’t, “What can I do,” but, “Why is this happening?” There are many explanations, but often in a situation like yours, the underlying cause is emotional or psychological. I your question you say that you’re sad about losing your libido, but is it possible that you were sad before your sex drive took a dive? Depression, even mild depression or temporary sadness, can really dampen your thrill for a midday romp. Maybe you received bad news from home, or you’re fighting with your roommate, or the caf hasn’t served your favorite cookies in a month. All of these things could be contributing to a general sadness or bad mood that leaves you feeling less than frisky.
Related to this is stress. I don’t need to tell you that Antiochians, across the board, have barely been able to keep their heads above water in the endless tidal waves of stress this term. With the uncertain future of the college and the bare-bones student services, everyone has to work three times as hard just to secure their current existence. If that doesn’t stress you out, I don’t know what will. On top of that, it’s getting to be that time in the term when the last few months procrastination start catching up in a serious way. I bet you’re buried under a pile of homework and running from meeting to meeting (even if that meeting is as informal as just getting caught up in caf conversations about the state of our home). It’s hard to let go and lose yourself when your brain is running a million miles a minute with to-do lists, guilt about other things you “should” be doing, whether or not Main Building will be standing in the morning, and what you’d say to Toni Murdock if only you had the chance. And even if you can get your brain to stop spinning like a gerbil on its wheel, you’re probably exhausted at the end of the day from the work overload and the emotional overload. Maybe you don’t have the energy to do physical activity or to be considerate of your partner(s), so it doesn’t seem worth it to try.
How do you feel about yourself? Moments of low self-esteem can cause anyone to feel less than sexy. Did your mother call you to tell you how disappointed she is that you’re not going to medical school and joining a San Francisco art collective instead as your post-Antioch plans? Did one of the “cool kids” poke fun at your clothing style or the way you dance? Did you get a big paper back with lots of red-ink criticism and very little praise? When you aren’t feeling confident and good about yourself, it’s difficult to want to put yourself in a vulnerable position. Getting naked, asking for what you want, and trying to please a partner all take a lot of guts, and if you’re feeling less than your best, you might need practice some affirmations in the mirror before you’re ready to make love with another person.
If any of these things are going on, try to give yourself a break. Buy yourself some flowers. Go sit under the sun lamp in Wellness or take a walk on a sunny day. Talk to people who make you feel good and make you laugh. Talk to your professors or John Smith in the ASC if you need help getting a handle on your assignments. Remember that you’re doing the best that you can, and that it’s okay to save Antioch for, say, 12 hours a day as opposed to 14.
Perhaps you should make a date with a sex partners (or partners). Give yourself a Saturday afternoon and evening off. Do things on your date that make you feel good: watch a funny movie, play Jenga, eat really good food, play pool, read out loud, cook together, tell silly stories, dance like crazy. Allow yourself to relax and enjoy the break and the other person’s company. Hopefully happiness, relaxation, and playfulness will lead to some serious fooling around.
If you’re still having trouble, you may want to talk to a counselor about what’s on your mind. They can help you work through issues and find a balance in your life so that you have the time and energy for sex. There are also some rare cases of female “sexual dysfunction,” but it’s a rather controversial diagnosis and the treatment is imperfect (often the use of drugs like Viagra are prescribed). However, if after trying everything else, you feel like maybe there’s a physical barrier between you and your sex life, it might be worth it to do a little internet research and think about talking to a doctor, but I don’t think this condition fits your situation, so I would leave this as a very very very last resort option.
Sometimes even the most sex-crazed among us encounter times in our lives when the burdens weigh heavy and sex just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for a little while. Give yourself a break, remember that you are a sexy, desirable person, and let your libido come back when you’re ready for it.
Lusting for You,