“It’s All in Your Head” and Other Ways The System Beats You Up

When a woman’s desire for sex and ability to become aroused starts to diminish, it often doesn’t happen suddenly. More often, it’s subtle and gradual or happens in spurts. And because it’s so gradual and subtle, women often assume it’s “in their head” or somehow in their control and have a difficult time understanding that it might well be physiological.

Here’s what a drop in desire or arousal might look like. Once upon a time you had sex and always has orgasms from a hand or a mouth. They were often good, sometimes fabulous, sometimes “eh”, but they were fairly reliable. At the end of last year, for a few months, when you were really stressed out about one of your kids, you had less sex and the orgasms were weaker, but hey, that is to be expected when you are stressed, right? And sometimes they didn’t happen at all, well,  because your head wasn’t really  on the sex  at all anyhow, so that is also to be expected. Right? Anyhow, then you and your husband went away on vacation and things seemed fine. Or were they? Maybe once or twice you didn’t orgasm, but well… you were having so much sex.

Then you came back and went back to life and for a while there was not much sex. After all, you just had so much on vacation. When you did have sex, the orgasms seems fewer and even more far between but well, you are getting older and you can’t expect things to be exactly the same way they were when you were 20 right? But sex seems kinda less fun. Maybe a bit more work and more like a chore. “I definitely have to try harder” you think to yourself. I have to get a babysitter and go out. I have to buy some sexy nightgowns. I really haven’t been paying much attention to our sex life. And then you do one of those things and then you have sex and it’s mediocre and you feel like you are just not trying hard enough.

Then you read a book that tells you that you need to just slow down and relax and really touch each other. So you do that too. It works once, maybe twice, but the other 4 times, you just thought about all the work you had to do. You feel like you need to WORK HARDER at letting go. You start blaming yourself more and more. You start running through a list of all the things you are “not” doing to make your sex life work.

  • I’m too focused on work and not the relationship.
  • We’re not talking enough.
  • I’m not setting aside enough time for sex.
  • I’m not being “still” enough.
  • I’m not being “mindful” enough.
  • We’re not gazing into each other’s eyes and souls enough.

All of which begs the question. What happened to the days when you didn’t have to work so hard to get turned on, have good sex, or have an orgasm? It doesn’t matter whether you are defining “working hard” as using a triple strength vibrator for 20 minutes or you are defining it as “honing the ultimate stillness and present-ness”. It all feels like work. And it’s not working. And here’s the real kicker… the experts, all the ones that are focusing on stillness and mindfulness are all telling you that if it is not “working”, if sex isn’t better, you are not trying hard enough.  Because their systems work. And if it’s not working, you are the problem.

It’s all very convenient for the experts to say “If you do XYZ—(my newest system) perfectly, it will solve your problem” because it protects them. If the problem isn’t solved then clearly you did not try hard enough, long enough or with enough faith. Clearly the problem is with you and not with the system they proposed.

Well I’m here to tell you otherwise.

Having good sex for the long run definitely involves some work, some self-reflection and some investment of time and effort. BUT only if a reasonable amount actually works! If you try the “system” being offered in a fairly reasonable way, you should see results! No system is useful if it takes herculean and super-human effort and even then shows little results. And that’s where the physiological piece comes in. You just can’t leave out that part of the equation. Because if you do, you may find that all the other systems don’t work at all, or only work minimally. Because your physical body is a critical component in how you are feeling sexually.

So stop beating yourself up.  And stop trying so damn hard because it very well might not be anything behavioral you can do now to fix things. When sex becomes a chore. And when fixing the problem becomes a chore and all the things you are trying do not seem to be really working, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if the problem is chemical, hormonal, blood flow. Because there are things you can do to help all of that and they are definitely not your fault!

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