|Lost that loving feeling ... give her a boost|
LOSS of sex drive is just about the most common sexual problem among women.
There's no one cause but it is usually possible to work out the underlying factors and make some changes to help you start enjoying your love life once again.
While I am talking here mainly to women, if you’re the partner of a woman who seems to have lost interest in making love, you should find lots of pointers here to help you get your sex life up and running again.
One obvious question for a woman who’s gone off sex to ask herself is: was your sex life ever very good?
Sometimes when women first get involved in a relationship they are so thrilled to be in love, settling down and perhaps having children, that they don't stop to question the quality of the love-making.
But after a few years have gone by, they find they have no great desire to have sex, and it's basically because they haven't been getting that much out of the experience.
It could be that you and your partner never actually discovered what would really turn you on and bring you satisfaction.
There is still a lot of misunderstanding about women's sexuality. For example, more women reach climax through oral or manual simulation than through intercourse. My free leaflets or e-mail fact sheets How To Have Great Sex and Women and Orgasm will help if this is part of problem.
Or it could be that you used to share a great sex life but your partner started rather taking it all for granted, stopped bothering to get you really aroused. This can happen once you stop dating and set up home together, for example.
Or your partner may have started taking you for granted in other ways. Our sex drive doesn't operate in isolation. Loss of sex drive is very often a symptom of more general problems.
Perhaps you feel your partner leaves too much of the household chores and childcare to fall on your shoulders.
So many women these days are still expected to run the home as well as having a paid job. You should have equal leisure time with your partner. Quite often all a woman needs to regain her sex drive is more relaxation and consideration.
Do a deal with your partner that at least one evening a week, he gets the kids off to bed, washes up and so on, while you put your feet up or have a lazy bath.
Then you spend the evening together, perhaps sharing some all-over body massage, or taking a bottle of wine to bed, or whatever takes your fancy. Get back into the fun of having dates together.
It often helps to agree that you won't actually have intercourse for, say, a month, but will kiss, cuddle and caress, touch, make love in every other way, to get the hormones and the imagination going again. It has a real tonic effect, and you can give each other satisfaction in other ways if you want.
If you are at such loggerheads that trying this feels impossible, then you probably have more deep-seated problems you need to be looking at.
If there is serious tension between you, and you can't sort it out by talking it over together, do get the help of a Relate counsellor (0300 100 1234, www.relate.org.uk).
You will also need counselling help if what is happening is that memories of some unhappy past experience are bubbling up and blocking your sexual feelings.
It could be that your partner has had an affair, or you've suffered a bereavement, or were abused when younger. As I've said, we can't separate out our sex life from our overall emotional well-being, but the right sort of help can make a tremendous difference.
Depression damps down sex-drive, so do check with your GP if you have been feeling low generally.
Alcohol can dry up the vaginal secretions and reduce the blood flow to the sex organs. This in turn can make sex more painful and so damp down sex drive, so it is best only ever to drink moderate amounts of alcohol. If you need help to cut down, contact Drinkline (0800 917 8282, www.nhs.uk/units).
Various herbs and supplements are reputed to boost sex drive. If you’re into alternative remedies, check out what’s available in your local health food shop or chemist.
If your sex drive has taken a nose-dive after having a baby, then hormonal problems may be mixed in with the pressures of new parenthood. In that case, see your GP for a check up and let me know, so I can send you my free leaflet on Sex Problems After Childbirth.
Hormonal swings linked with the menstrual cycle make some women hate sex, as well as feel very low and irritable for some days before their period. I can send you information on treatment available to sort out premenstrual problems.
If you think your loss of interest in making love is linked with the menopause, again tell me, so I can send you my free e-leaflet about all the help available for that stage of life. The menopause certainly doesn't have to spell the end of an active and pleasurable sex life.