However, many sexual problems can be treated successfully. In this section you’ll find practical advice and information on overcoming the most common ones, as well as where to go for further help.
Most of us will go off sex at some point, especially during times of stress or sadness. But what happens if your desire doesn’t come back?
If you’re single and have decided not to have sex for a while, you’ll probably be okay with celibacy. But if you’re in a relationship, there are two people to think about. Unless you’ve made an agreement with each other not to have sex, this could lead to feelings of rejection and loss. Which could soon turn into resentment with both partners doubting their sexuality and attractiveness.
Going off sex can be particularly worrying for a man, because there is a very common myth that men are always gagging for it. So if you’re not, it could leave both you and your partner feeling confused.
In some cases, a lack of sex drive may be due to another problem, such as erection problems or painful sex (more details on these later in this section), or it may be due to a psychological problem. But in the majority of cases, it’s due to negative thoughts or feelings, the most common of which are:
- Low self-esteem. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you’ll not be able to see yourself as a sexual person.
- There may be other problems in your relationship, which may need to be addressed before sex is back on the cards.
- Your partner may not turn you on anymore. It’s a difficult thing to admit, but sometimes we just go off our partners. It might be a physical thing or perhaps they have an annoying habit or are not very good at sex. Fortunately most of these problems can be overcome, but you’ll need to be completely honest with each other.
- An inhibited childhood or a really bad experience may have left you with negative feelings around sex.
- You may have powerful fears about getting an infection or in some cases getting pregnant.
If you feel like any of the above is affecting your sex life, it’s important you don’t suffer in silence. Make sure you talk to your partner about the problem or, if that isn’t possible, a counsellor – The Lesbian and Gay Foundation has counsellors available, or your local sexual health clinic may have a psychosexual therapist who can help.
You can also increase your desire by:
- Relaxing – have a bath, use deep breathing techniques or buy a relaxation CD.
- Prepare your environment – make sure there are no distractions and that the atmosphere suits your mood.
- Using fantasy – get yourself in the mood by slipping into your favourite fantasy or read (or watch) something raunchy.
- Taking your time – don’t go straight in for the kill. Give each other a massage or tease each other with plenty of sensual foreplay.
- Focusing on the positive – if there’s something about you or your partner that turns you off, don’t think about it. Focus on something that turns you on instead.
Unfortunately, sometimes after the original cause has long gone, couples may find it difficult to restart their sexual relationship. So, after you’ve treated the problem, make sure you get lots of practice with your partner(s).
It will be a bit scary to begin with, but before you know it, you’ll be back in the swing of things!