The libido, or sex drive, is a natural desire for sex. Sexual appetite can be influenced by such factors as health, mood, and emotional connection with your partner.
There is no one healthy standard for the libido. The range and particulars for each person are highly individual. Naturally high and naturally low sex drives are both normal. The libido can also fluctuate over time—for both healthy and unhealthy reasons.
People become aroused both mentally and physically, and develop different patterns of initiating sex. There is a difference between spontaneous sexual desire (you think about sex and get physically turned on) and responsive sexual desire (you engage in physical stimulation and become interested in taking things further as a result). Most of us respond to a combination of physical and mental arousal.
On a related note, some people are more comfortable initiating intercourse and “taking the lead” (likely dominant), and some are more comfortable responding (likely submissive). Having a preference for one or the other doesn’t indicate a higher or lower libido, just different needs for experiencing desire and pleasure. Partners who take the time to find out what turns each of them on deepen their relationship and potential for sexual satisfaction.
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Desire is a precondition for consensual sex. Partners can have more compatible or less compatible libidos, and compromise is often necessary to ensure mutual satisfaction. If a person with high sex drive has a partner with low sex drive, masturbation may be a good option to satisfy cravings without burdening their partner with unwanted attention.
Sexual intimacy occurs when both partners are emotionally and physically available, and willing to participate.
There are four stages of physiological arousal:
Excitement, or sexual tension—the body prepares for sex as blood rushes to the genitalia, nipples become erect, and the heartbeat quickens.
Plateau—stimulation becomes increasingly pleasurable, and responses intensify.
Orgasm—the climax, or release, occurs as a series of involuntary muscular contractions.
Resolution—without continued stimulation, muscles relax, tension dissipates, and you may experience a feeling of calm bliss, also known as “the afterglow”.
The more synchronized partners are while progressing through these stages, the more natural the interaction feels and the more pleasurable the sex is. It is nearly impossible to be in perfect sync, so be considerate of what your partner is experiencing. And it is only fair that you expect them to do the same.
Problems in the bedroom
The libido is complex. We all have our highs and lows but sometimes a lack of sexual desire is directly tied to an emotional or psychological issue. There are a number of common problems that affect sex drive and intimacy.
Many people suffer from performance anxiety and negative self-image. Worry about the adequacy of your body and the way it responds, as well as fear of being judged by your partner can definitely ruin the moment. Although men are more visibly affected, both men and women need to feel relaxed and comfortable with their partners to enjoy sexual intimacy. Don’t be too harsh on yourself—becoming confident in such an intimate setting takes time and practice.
Unrealistic expectations can also be a problem, and may be a result of having been exposed to a particular set of behaviours. For example, pornography focuses on what looks good on camera, rather than what feels good for the people involved, and paints an unrealistic picture of what sex should be like. Educating yourself about sex (via reliable sources) is essential—not only to discover what brings you pleasure, but also to know how to protect yourself from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and avoid unwanted pregnancy.
Many people have misconceptions about sex and about how men and women ought to behave in romantic and intimate relationships. We are constantly bombarded with stereotypes from the media, advertising, and misguided schools of thought that perpetuate black-and-white thinking, which doesn’t do justice to the uniqueness of the individual human experience. Misconceptions like these can contribute to a lack of creativity in bed, difficulty expressing desire, a conservative attitude towards sexuality, or incompatible interests.
A lack of communication with your sexual partner is another common culprit. It may seem romantic to be swept off your feet (or sweep someone off theirs) and let it all “just happen”, but if you have no idea what your partner likes and vice versa, this kind of scenario isn’t realistic. This is not to say that effortless intimacy isn’t possible—it’s just that it takes work, understanding, and patience to get there. Sitting down and having an honest sex chat with your partner can go a long way towards improving your relationship in bed.
Sex is not something to take lightly, but it’s also important let yourself have fun! You’ll find that the best sex is less dependent on skill and looks than on how comfortable you feel with the person you’re involved with.
A self-fulfilling prophecy
Reaffirming positive associations with your partner is important for a lasting relationship. Affectionate behaviours such as hugging or kissing release a cocktail of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin (chemicals that facilitate bonding), and lower cortisol levels (which reduces stress and anxiety), promoting further affectionate behaviour. Likewise, sexual intimacy increases the desire for further sexual intimacy.
While the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” isn’t completely unfounded, physical separation is more likely to result in decreased sexual desire between partners.
For a healthy libido over the long-term, it’s important for both partners to be both emotionally and sexually satisfied as this is the basis for a healthy intimate relationship. Low or decreased sexual energy can be an issue if one partner is continually unresponsive to the other partner’s efforts to initiate sex.
Loss and reclamation of desire
A lack of libido may have nothing to do with your current partner. Sociological surveys and studies show that libido naturally declines over time. This process often begins earlier for women than for men, since the decrease in sex hormones happens in different ways and at a different pace for each gender.
An overall lack of libido can be a sign of mental disorder, such as SAD (sexual aversion disorder) or HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder), also known as ISD (inhibited sexual desire).
An unhealthy state of mind can “block” sexual desire.
A person who experiences a lack of sexual desire sometimes maintains this condition either consciously or unconsciously. It can seem safer to keep oneself shut off from vulnerable emotions so as not to get hurt again. This temporary solution is quite likely to backfire, but it can be difficult to resolve alone. Confiding in a good friend or consulting a psychotherapist or sexologist may be helpful.
Your lifestyle has a big impact on hormone function. Taking care of yourself is imperative if you want to be physically, mentally, and sexually healthy.
Get enough quality sleep (consistently). Sleep is restorative. It is crucial for athletic performance as well as cognitive performance. It is also protective against inflammation, cell damage, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and depression.
Eat good food. A balanced diet is vital for all the systems in your body to function properly. Make sure to consume enough protein, fiber and healthy fats. Avoid undereating and overeating, and keep sugar and refined carbs at a reasonable minimum. Healthy food choices promote further healthy food choices—being mindful about what you eat gets easier with time.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps your body manage insulin, reduces anxiety and depression, boosts endorphin production, increases your energy levels while improving quality of rest, and maintains muscle, bone, and skin health. Even a little exercise every day can have noticeable benefits.
Manage stress. The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline serve important functions but can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating, if levels become chronically elevated. Set aside a little regular me-time for purposeful relaxation, especially if you’re a busy person.
Low libido isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some people deliberately suppress their desire for spiritual or religious reasons. Others identify as asexual—they may experience romantic attraction, but not sexual desire. Being accepting of yourself may well play the most important role in enjoying your sexuality.
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The sexual needs of people who live with disabilities are the same as everyone else’s but overcoming the stigma and gaining access to basic sexual-health-related information and services is much more challenging for them. Those with disabilities are still disproportionately underserved when it comes to sexual education and resources, both as adolescents and later in life. In this article, we discuss how to make information about sexual health more accessible for everyone, regardless of our physical or mental capabilities.
Sexual harassment is defined as an unwelcome sexual advance. If you have received unwelcome suggestive comments, have been touched without your permission, or have been bullied or coerced into complying with a sexual advance, you have experienced sexual harassment.
The potentially life-changing reality of an unwanted pregnancy causes real anxiety for most people. One of the last-ditch methods for preventing a pregnancy is emergency contraception, the key word being emergency.
The pleasure gap is an issue affecting many heterosexual couples. When one of the partners experience fewer orgasms during sex, the gap grows. To close the pleasure gap between men and women, it’s important to rethink heterosexual sex.
Long-distance relationships occur when lovers are separated by considerable physical distance. They live in two different cities, countries, or even continents and cannot routinely meet in real life due to their work and study obligations or for other reasons (such as the restrictions enforced because of an unprecedented global pandemic).
It is true that we all have our preferences. Couples often have one or two sexual positions that lead them more easily to the peak of pleasure. Varying the positions may be wise. By doing the same all the time, it loses its flavour. The routine sets in, but sometimes it takes little to change a habit and the two partners have slightly different feelings.
Most men will attest that the male member can be unpredictable. Losing erection during sex from time to time is very normal. We talk about erectile dysfunction or ED when a person consistently has trouble achieving and maintaining an erection.
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Relationships should provide love, security, and companionship. Everyone needs a few deep and meaningful connections with others as we go through life. However, not all relationships are easy. Romantic relationships can be particularly challenging, especially when they enter the long-term phase. Inequalities, differing love languages, and difficulty in communicating can contribute to dissatisfaction in a relationship. In this article, we will guide you through some of the most common disagreements couples face and how to find common ground.
Despite cultural and scientific progress, there is still an air of mysticism and misconception surrounding female arousal and orgasm. Both men and women still struggle to understand what makes the female body tick.
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Pornography is a popular adult movie genre that generates $90 billion annually in global revenues. Many people enjoy watching adult movies, regardless of their lifestyle and relationship status. Some watch pornography by themselves, while others use it to spice things up in the bedroom. Although adult movies can bring novelty to your sex life, it's important to watch them responsibly and find fair trade sources.
Hormonal contraception has been an effective tool for helping women gain more control over family planning and reproductive health. However, changing the way your hor-mones function is not a trifling matter. There may come a moment when a woman wants to take a break from hormonal contraception or stop using it altogether.
We live in a society where sex is considered a normal and necessary part of life. This is the result of a decades-long effort to overcome deep-rooted feelings of shame and guilt associated with sexuality. Because sexuality is so intimate and so consequential, it has led to problems in social organization throughout human history. The topic is so burdened with moralizing because it is an obvious subject to address when establishing social norms.
Online dating started for real in the mid-1990s. It’s a fair bet that online romance scamming wasn’t far behind. We all want to connect, but when it comes to your safety and emotional well-being, boundaries and trust must be established before you take the next step. Knowing how to spot a catfish can help you avoid falling prey to this form of emotional abuse as you explore relationships online.
Sex drive—or libido—is a person’s level of eagerness for sexual intimacy. A person’s sex drive is influenced by the psychological, physiological, and social aspects of their life experience, such as age, hormones, family attitudes, lifestyle, past sexual experiences, social pressures, health, and many other factors. Each of us is unique, so it’s not uncommon for people in a relationship to have mismatching libidos.
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Hormonal birth control doesn’t work for all women—some experience side-effects, others just aren’t comfortable with the idea of altering their bodies in such a fundamental way. These are the alternatives.
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Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), affecting millions of people worldwide. A lot of stigma surrounds STDs, making it difficult to seek help when needed. But the reality is that anyone can get herpes.
Dating and relationships aren’t easy for anyone. Finding a partner can be even more challenging for asexual people. An asexual person has little or no sexual desire for others, which means they tend to abstain from intercourse and other sexual acts. When one partner has little interest in sexual intimacy, it can be tough for a partner who desires sex to maintain an emotionally intimate relationship.
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