Not in the Mood…


Q: I have been married several years, and I love my husband very much. We have a great relationship, so why am I never in the mood to be intimate with him?

A: This is the #1 complaint we get from women, both young and old.  Women say:

  • Why am I never in the mood?

  • I could go weeks or months without initiating intercourse

  • I wish I felt like my husband and desired intimacy

  • It just takes so much time and work to get into it

BUT!  When you do get into it, do you enjoy yourself?  
Does this sound like you?  You’re not alone!
Your best friend invites you to a party a week ahead of time.  You say, sure!  That sounds like fun.  I like my friend, I like hanging out with her, and a party sounds like fun.  But Saturday night rolls around, and you’re already in your house clothes.  You have your pajamas on and thick, comfy socks.  You don’t have makeup on and your hair is in a ponytail.  Ugh.  “I really don’t feel like putting in so much effort to go out.”  You have to put on makeup, get into something nice, do your hair, put on uncomfortable shoes, and leave the house in the cold weather.
Once you get there, it’s a bit awkward at first while you see who’s there and begin to talk to a few people. After a while, you see friends you know, talk to them, and relax.  You know these people!  You’re friends with these people!  Everyone’s just here to have fun.  Now you enjoy yourself and are glad you came. Use this approach with your love life.  It’s 100% normal and fine if you don’t have any desire to get ready for the party.  It’s 100% normal and fine if you have to put in a lot of work and time and the beginning isn’t amazing.  Go to the party because you like who’s there.  And while you’re there, try to relax and enjoy yourself.  

Women’s sexual desire and libido work much like the above story.  Male sexual function, according to Masters and Johnsons, has a very linear approach.  Typically, it’s more common for men to experience spontaneous sexual desire than for women.  Men typically experience spontaneous desire, then arousal, then orgasm.  Many people expect, hope, and think that women should work the same way as men do.  The fact is that women just don’t work like that.  You might be comparing yourself to women you see depicted in the media, which is very unrealistic.  And you’re comparing yourself to men.

Women, on the other hand, are much more likely to experience responsive sexual desire.  According to Rosemary Basson’s research and model of female sexual response, 70-80% of women experience what is referred to as responsive sexual desire.  This means that once a woman engages in sensual touch and physical intimacy, she is then able to experience desire.

So what do we do if we hardly ever feel “spontaneous sexual desire”?

We don’t worry about it!  Instead, start intimacy slowly, and give your body time to remember that this is a pleasant experience and that you enjoy this.  Once you begin to feel aroused, hopefully, the desire will then grow.

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Rivka Sidorsky, LCSW-C, is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, a licensed psychotherapist, Board Certified Supervisor, a published author and sex researcher in peer-reviewed journals, a Harvard University research fellowship recipient, and a lecturer on female sexual dysfunction.  She was trained and personally mentored in sexual dysfunction and sex therapy from internationally renowned Dr. Laura Berman, Oprah's relationship and sex expert, at the Berman Center in Chicago. In addition to her private practice, she speaks widely on improving intimacy, female function and dysfunction, and on intimacy after cancer at professional conferences, universities, hospitals, and for community events. Her practice is in Silver Spring, MD.