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What’s Getting In the Way of Your Sexual Desire?

What's Getting In the Way of Your Sexual Desire?You remember that old song, Dem Bones? The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone and so on? It’s playing in my head as I hobble around with a sprained ankle. It’s taking a lot of energy and concentration to do the smallest of things. And that bruised swollen ankle is affecting the calf muscles, the other leg, which is bearing the weight of my body, and my life, it would seem. It’s a reminder how the body and mind works in harmony and what happens when one part is out of balance.

When our body is not functioning well, whether it’s a sprain, the challenges of everyday life, or aging everything is impacted. Along with physical shifts there are emotional changes all of which affect our sense of well-being. When that happens there is often an impact on our day-to-day life and those around us.

What’s happening to me is a good example of how a simple thing can affect sexual desire. The sprained ankle has led me to cancel two speaking engagements, social events, sessions at the gym, to eat too unhealthily, and other small things that are making me grumpy, fidgety and not very energized.

I don’t have much interest in sex–in fact I cancelled what would have been a fun afternoon of play because I felt like it would have been too much trouble! Actually, sex might be just what I need–a pleasurable diversion that would allow me to relax and have fun. What I should have done was show up and see what happened, knowing that my partner was the understanding type, should I have changed my mind.

When we stop wanting sex or we begin to think about it in a negative light it becomes hard to find a way back to seeking pleasure in intimacy with a partner. It becomes a sort of vicious circle.

In working with women who are complaining of a lackluster sex life or who aren’t feeling much desire there are often a number of contributing factors. And in the moment it can be difficult to figure out what they are. We get disconnected from our feelings and body sensations, or fail to see the impact of a particular stressor on our personal life.

If this sounds familiar, it might be useful to do a look at what’s going on in other parts of your life. You may find clues that help explain the shift in your sexual desire. Sometimes the answer is a simple adjustment in communication, work schedules, or possibly adding in some much-needed and deserved self-care.

Below are some questions to start with. A loss of interest in sex is not always a simple matter but you need to start somewhere. From here you can dig deeper to gather more information. The kind of information that might help you, or can ensure that you give a medical or mental health professional the details they might need to support you.

Ask Yourself These Four Questions:

Are you eating well? Is your diet full of good-for-you foods or one of prepared, convenience foods washed down with sugary beverages? What we eat affects how we feel.

Are you getting enough exercise? Exercise promotes blood flow in the body. ALL parts of the body. Blow flow is vital for vaginal health as well as circulation and the heart. Do you need to add more movement to your life? Walks, stretching, less time in the chair–even a few simple steps can contribute to making you feel more energized.

How’s your relationship? Is there something that needs communicating? Problems in one part of a relationship can get in the way of feeling an intimate connection. Can you find a time for a chat with your partner about what’s going on?

Health issues? Are you taking medications that make you feel tired or less interested in sex? Talk to your doctor about alternative drugs. Maybe fatigue is an issue and you need to consider scheduling sex. It’s hard to feel sexual when your body isn’t at its best.

What other factors might be affecting your interest in sex? Think about the last time you had sex then think about the last time you said no. What exactly led to you saying no? Did something happen? Is there something you wanted to avoid? Something that needs to change?

When we don’t feel in the mood for sex it feels easier to just avoid it all together. That creates a barrier and keeps you from getting the pleasure you want. When you examine the possible reasons and communicate with your partner it opens the way to finding answers.

Sometimes that old stand-by, “I’m not in the mood” is valid, as long as you’re not using it to avoid dealing with other issues. Sex is beneficial for your sexual health, mental health, and the health of your relationship. It’s worth the time to examine what you want and what you’re not getting, or giving yourself.

Take some time to think about it. Is there something you can fix, or add, to create the kind of experience you want to have?

Walker Thornton

We are delighted to have Walker Thornton as our Women’s Sexual Health columnist. After working for over 10 years in the field of sexual violence against women, Walker is now enjoying a new career as a freelance writer, public speaker, and sex educator with an emphasis on midlife women. Her blog, was ranked #5 by in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2014. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter For questions about sexual health, write her at

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