Getting Out Of A Sexual Slump
Dear Gay Sexpert, Recently I have not been feeling my sexual self, which is odd, considering I am 18 and “should” have a very healthy libido. I haven't had sex in nearly 5 months nor have I had the urge; porn has lost its appeal now as well. Just a week ago I was in a position where I could have had sex, but it seemed like a chore & I just wasn't interested. I've never had any problems before and have always been quick to 'rise' to the occasion. I'm pretty sure that whatever is going on is psychological.
— Frustrated and Confused
Dear FAC, It’s hard to say exactly what you are experiencing since I have so little information to go on, but let me give you some general information about changes in libido. You are correct. The vast majority of waivers in libido are not physical problems but mental ones. However, sexuality is often the first thing to alert us to ailments going on in our body. Anything from a change in medication, to a fever — our body can feel it all over, sexual desire included. So with my clients, I always recommend a visit to the doctor for a general physical to be sure there isn’t anything going on in their body.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most everyone goes through seasons of low libido. Maybe there’s a death in the family, or there’s a stressful time at work. Maybe your desire for relational intimacy has gotten stronger than your appetite for sex for the time being. Sometimes, our libido is nowhere in sight for no reason at all. The important thing is to not define yourself, or fixate on that period of low sexual interest. Too many times, a person will have one bad sexual experience and then s/he starts to believe that every sexual experience will be that way. Accept it as part of the temporary landscape and your sex drive will most likely return.
Most people mentally limit the sexual pleasure. We believe so many cockamamy things about our sexuality, it’s a miracle this puritanical society didn’t die out long ago. We receive these messages everywhere, from our birth to the present — from the media, our family, our peers, the government, religion, and ourselves to mention a few. Most of these messages tell us “you are only a legitimate sexual being if... you buy this cologne, you follow these rules, you make this amount of money, you believe a certain way, you look a certain way, you behave a certain way, and on and on...” It might seem that a single message has little effect on your libido, but start adding them up, and just about everyone buckles at some point under this barrage of sexually obsessive negativity. Sadly, it is still very rare that a person can grow up with a positive self esteem, much less a positive sense of sexuality.
One thing that seems to help in my private practice is having my clients begin to identify some of these messages. For homework, they write out a list of what they have been told, and what they believe about sex. The list starts slowly, “Sex is dirty. Faggots go to hell, etc...” Then, as they begin to get the hang of it, a floodgate opens. They can write pages of all the crazy, mostly negative things, they believe about sex which usually limits pleasure and also limits the ability to make the responsible and enjoyable choices they want about sex.
Usually, once they see the list in black and white, it serves as a reminder to let go of these negative messages. Letting go — depending on the messages — can take some time and practice. I am of the belief that the more you raise sexual awareness about yourself (like this list) and the more you educate yourself about realistic sexuality, the more strength and freedom you have to make the wise choices you want regarding sexual pleasure.
Lastly, the best antidote I have found to counter all these overriding sex-negative mental messages (that might decrease our libido) is experiencing pleasure in the body. That’s what happens in orgasm, right? We generate the correct circumstances that enable our body to experience one of the most pleasurable highs it can muster. I had a professor in graduate school often say, in so many words, “Sexual satisfaction is simply a result of proper stimulation. Figuring out what that stimulation entails is the real challenge.” Further, since we are all different, it might take some experimenting to intimately understand your particular sexual tastes as they evolve over time. This is not the responsibility of your partner, although it is great when one can help out. Moreover, who’s going to tell your partner what you really want sexually except you? Your body is the only one you will ever get to responsibly enjoy, so get to know it.
Yes, the mind can create sexual pleasure all by itself, but it can also be the one thing distracting us the most. Besides, who wants to make sex an exclusively mental experience? Why not use all your senses to generate pleasure in your body — get a massage, take a bubble bath, exercise the body, make some noise, get out in nature, etc... Your body (not just your cock) is a trustworthy guide that tells you what feels good. Do what pleasures your body the most, and watch the energizing enjoyment follow.
At this point, often my clients say, “Yes, but.... Yes, but.... Yes, but...” with all the reasons in their arsenal as to why simple pleasure won’t work for them. I’ll bet you might be doing it, too. Yet, show me ten reasons why genuine pleasure in your body won’t point you in the direction of sexual enjoyment, and most likely, I’ll show you ten negative messages that keep you from enjoying your sexuality more fully.
So tell us in the below space what you do to generate sexual pleasure out of a dry spell?
(Photo: Getty Images)
Dr. Jallen Rix holds a doctorate of education in sexology and specializes in maximizing sexual pleasure for singles and
couples, "ex-gay" recovery, religious abuse and creative approaches to
sex education. You can learn more about Dr. Rix at his website.