Welcome to Elle Oh Elle, where Portland-based writer and entertainer Elle Stanger takes your sex life from subpar to subversive. Find more of her musings here.
What do you do when you have completely lost your sex drive? Oh boy, do I know this one. Firstly, ask yourself some basic questions:
1. Do I get enough exercise?
The Center for Disease Control tells us that American, adult bodies require about 20 minutes of aerobic activity every day, and muscle-building exercises additionally. Basically, get enough movement to make you sweat, and not just horizontal mambos.
2. Is my medication affecting my sex drive?
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- aka SSRIs -- are notorious for affecting arousal. Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft are just a few of these FDA-approved meds that have historically led to the inability to pop a boner. Talk to your doctor about finding an alternate path to happiness. As an unmedicated ADHD adult with a genetic marker for bipolar II, I’m a big fan of cognitive behavioral therapy. Google it.
3. Do I get enough vitamin D?
If you rarely venture outside, or find yourself living in a region of perpetual grey (ahem, Portland, Seattle), take a supplement. If your body doesn’t need it, you’ll just piss it out. No worries.
Oregon-based certified intimacy and sex coach Stella Harris suggested, "Sometimes you’re not spontaneously experiencing desire, but you may experience responsive desire. This could mean that a partner’s arousal, or being touched in a pleasing way, or even watching porn or reading erotica might get you in the mood for sex -- you just have to start before you’re feeling it, which may seem counterintuitive."
And remember that none of us go from 0 to 100 all of the time. "It’s important to know that our bodies change over time and our interest in sex can increase and decrease at different times in our lives and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing," Harris adds. "Many people go through periods of celibacy or identify as asexual."
So, you’ve done all of those things, what’s next? Ask yourself this: what was the last thing that got you aroused? I’m a firm believer that the best sex begins in the mind, so let your imagination run wild and fantasize. We all get to live safely within our brains, so if you want to sit on the face of the hot cop that gave you a traffic ticket, or you choose to recall that time that the stripper "really liked you," in the lap dance, grab a bottle of lube and make love to yourself, via your creative fantasies.
If you don’t masturbate: it’s important to acknowledge that a small chunk of the population doesn’t indulge in sexual self-touch. If your libido is still in the no-fly zone, ask your trusted co-pilot to take control. Ask, "Hey, I’m feeling less sexy lately, can you be the one to initiate sex? If I don’t want to proceed, the safe word to stop is: [pick your safe word, I choose poodle or banana]."
Guys, and gals: pamper your purdy self. Get your nails done, or indulge in a straight-razor shave. I’ve always admired how beautiful and "porny" my hands look when I’m giving a HJ with some freshly manicured claws. (I won’t scratch you, unless you ask...)
Lastly, if you’ve recently undergone a huge life change such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or if you’ve given birth, or had a major surgery, go easy on yourself. You’re probably just incredibly stressed out.