How do I tell him about my low sex drive?
“Stress, depression, low self-esteem can all impact a woman’s capacity to feel aroused
I have always had a low sex drive. I have no problem with it, but I am dating a new man who I really like. I wonder whether I should warn him before he gets too excited about what’s to come. I have no idea how to start this conversation.
>> Low libido can be problematic in relationships, but it can also be a symptom of relationship problems. Poor communication, feeling taken for granted, ignored or angry can have a negative effect on sexual desire. However, not wanting to have sex with a partner you are unhappy with is not a clinical condition.
You don’t say anything about previous partners, but since low libido is often relationship specific, it is worth waiting a bit to see how you feel with your new boyfriend. If you do feel more interested in having sex with him than you have with previous partners, there would be little point in drawing attention to the issue at this early stage.
If this persists, however, you will need to discuss it with him. When doing so, remember that it is never a good idea to talk about sexual difficulties when you are actually having sex. Nor is it good to bring it up during an argument, when either one of you is stressed, or if you have been drinking.
Ironically, the optimum time for a problematic conversation is when you are both happy and relaxed. At those moments it feels wrong to introduce something that could potentially be a real downer, but actually, adding vulnerability to that particular mix strengthens rather than decreases feelings of intimacy. When you bring it up don’t just present him with the problem. Explain that there are all sorts of possible solutions, too.
Female desire is not straightforward. It is a complex interaction between physical and emotional wellbeing, and if they are out of sync desire may be affected.
Illness, difficult life events, an unhealthy lifestyle, hormonal fluctuations or medication can all affect a woman’s libido, but once the underlying problem is addressed, desire for sex should return. Having said that, the most common cause so flow libido are psychological. Stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and poor body image can all impact a woman’s capacity to feel aroused.
If you have never done so, it would be worth your while sitting down with a pen and paper and identifying any potential contributing factors that might play a part in your low libido. As an exercise, it will give you some clarity, and it will also make it easier should you decide to discuss the issue with your boyfriend. Some of the items that you identify may require a chat with a GP or a counsellor. Your GP can rule out physical causes, such as changes in endocrine hormones, with some simple blood tests.
You don’t seem to be particularly bothered about having low libido, which means that you wouldn’t meet the threshold for a diagnosis of hypoactive sexual desire disorder. This is defined as persistent deficient sexual fantasies and persistent deficient desire for sexual activity, but low libido merits a clinical diagnosis only if it causes a woman marked distress or creates interpersonal difficulty. You don’t meet those criteria, and besides, there is, as I said, a strong possibility you will feel differently in this relationship.
Look after your health, eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep, all of which will benefit your mind, your body and your libido. Otherwise, the best thing to do is to relax and enjoy your new romance.