This is the first of three blog posts on the three main reasons women might decide not to have sex, a series introduced last week.
Maybe the kids have flown the coop—or maybe not. Maybe your parents need more attention. Maybe you’re still involved with your career; in fact, maybe you have a big presentation in the morning, and you need to be refreshed and on-point. Is it any wonder that sex is the last thing on your mind?
Life’s demands ebb and flow, but they never go away. And your sexual self is closely connected to all the other flotsam and jetsam of your life. However, if your stress level and the demands on your time are chronic and overwhelming, other important parts of life, such as exercise, time to yourself, and intimacy with your partner are all too likely to fall quietly by the wayside.
Chronic stress, in addition to putting a terrible strain on your overall health, also interferes with the production of hormones that fuel libido. So, even though you may love and be attracted to your partner, lack of time and energy for sexual intimacy will cause that relationship to suffer over time. And, eventually, your desire for sex will diminish, too.
If the demands on your time and energy are draining away life’s pleasures, it’s time for some tough re-evaluation. The stresses may be unavoidable, like caring for elderly parents, but there’s probably something you can do to ease the burden.
To really deal with the “too tired” state of affairs, you need to view your life holistically. Lack of time and energy for sex is only part of the picture.
- Take care of yourself first. Carve out some space for emotional and mental rejuvenation, even if it’s as simple as a warm bath or a night to yourself with nothing to do. But don’t expect a one-time splurge to effect lasting change. Rejuvenation takes time and it takes conscious effort. How will you regain (or discover for the first time) your peaceful inner core?
- Take care of your health. If you don’t have time for sex, chances are you’re not paying attention to exercise or good nutrition, either. Among its many other benefits, exercise improves libido. It makes you more flexible, strengthens your joints, gets rid of aches and pains, and improves your mood. It makes you look and feel sexier. And, yes, all this takes time. Nobody said it would be easy.
- Talk to your doctor. Is it possible that fatigue is due to an overlooked physical condition? Could your medication be the culprit? Could you be depressed?
- And finally, pay attention to your partner. Rebuild the intimacy. Touch. Talk. Be creative. Sex doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Enjoy the journey; the destination doesn’t matter. Focus on pleasure, intimacy, and connection and the rest will likely follow. And yes, this takes time, too. Doesn’t anything truly worthwhile?
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.