It’s something we’re not told when we’re younger, but we can’t always just switch on the horniness when we feel like it.
Sex with your partner can feel great. It can cheer you up, chill you out, and make you feel needed and desired. Sometimes, however, you feel weirdly averse to the idea of sex, even though you really enjoy it.
And it can be hard to figure ways to tell your partner you’re not feeling it today in ways that don’t cause offense. It’s not that you don’t want to want sexual contact — you just can’t find the energy or motivation.
We’ve all had those days (or weeks, or months, sometimes) when our sex drives play hide-and-seek. After a difficult project at work, a stressful time with the kids, or even an amazing but exhausting vacation, feeling sexy seems like a secondary concern to crashing out.
If you don’t feel like cooking, you can order takeout. If you need to take a break from your kids and head out with friends, childcare may well be on the cards. So what’s the shortcut that reconnects you with your sex drive?
After talking to experts in the field, we found some great ways to get yourself in the mood.
It’s harder than it sounds, but easier than it feels when you’re not in a sexy mood.
1. To start with, do something relaxing
This might seem like the answer to everything, but that’s because it actually works.
Jumping straight from your spreadsheet into your spread sheets is hardly going to yield many sexy prospects — it’s going to feel like a chore. You might even start seeing spreadsheet formulas run in front of your eyes.
You need to unwind before expecting too much sexuality out of yourself. You’re only human.
Maybe take a long bath, lay down with a book, grab a cup of herbal tea and a cookie, or just grab a few minutes to yourself.
Whatever you do, occupy the moment in your own comfort zone. If you find it hard to relax, we’ve got you.
2. Change the rules
“Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the routine of day-to-day life without looking up to take in your surroundings,” Sinclair says. “A date night can be a really awesome time to touch base with your partner and try something you’ve both never done before.”
Whether it’s a type of cuisine you haven’t explored together or a new move you’ve considered throwing into your bedroom routine, using this time to explore new opportunities (or each other) makes it into not only fun but a real chance to grow with your partner(s).
Making alone time a priority should be an important part of connecting in a relationship. However, life gets in the way. Chores and obligations and other emotions can get in the way of those sexy-good-time vibes you felt when you first met.
If we aren’t mindful, we can sometimes miss opportunities to reconnect through all of those pesky things that enrich our life in other ways, such as work, family responsibilities, and social obligations.
Sometimes, you’ve really got to carve out time with your partner and make it special.Here’s our guide to refreshing your relationship.
3. Change the scenery
Find a place that removes you from your everyday life for a while.
Leah Millheiser, MD, director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University, suggests that leaving your “usual spot” can add some excitement.
If you’ve got the resources (and if any are open in a post-COVID landscape), why not book yourself a night away in a nearby hotel or bed-and-breakfast? Failing that, a night of camping under the stars could be the escape from routine you and your partner need.
Grab a quick dinner or drink somewhere while making sure there’s enough time left in the evening to head to a different location and get it on. Sometimes, just the act of putting the time aside in itself is enough to stimulate a sexier atmosphere.
Changing scenery can help take your mind away from the daily grind and help you start focusing on your sexual desires. Being in a locale outside of your usual hustle means you can escape that everyday-drudgery mindset for long enough to start having sexy thoughts.
4. Try reading or watching something that turns you on
Millheiser suggests focusing on exciting or sexually stimulating media.
Some people prefer erotica, others enjoy steamy romance novels, and many people enjoy steamy or romantic movies that have racy sex scenes throughout. Whatever gets you going, it should make you want to do more than just watch.
Porn that depicts fantasies you enjoy can also help you access your inner horny. Why not watch it with your partner(s)?
(You’ll need to grasp that it’s not a realistic portrayal of sex, though. Rather, it’s a stimulating visual tool.)
5. Try new sex toys
While a massager like the Lelo Smart Wand is a quality go-to for a quick and easy orgasm, toys that do all the work for you may not leave you craving your partner’s touch. Always leave your audience wanting more, as they say.
Vibrators designed with a partner in mind, like the Eva or Fin, are also fun to use together or solo. For something beyond standard genital stimulation, bVibe has some great buttplug options (bet you didn’t think you’d read that today — but it works for some people).
For people with vulvas, clit suction toys are also a ride. Find out more here.
And while blowing your whole paycheck (or load) on sex toys isn’t the best idea, investing in a few quality toys is better than having a treasure chest full of inexpensive toys that don’t really address your drop in sexual desire.
Try as you might, there are some medical conditions and personal contexts that may serve as pretty firm barriers between you and your sexual desires.
You may have a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that really cuts you off from feeling horny or excited. Previous experience with emotional or physical abuse, sexual assault, or rape may also block access to your own sexual fulfillment.
A chronic ailment, disability, or condition, such as psoriasis, fibromyalgia, or endometriosis, can also make sex painful and uncomfortable — even just the idea of sex can be draining and emotionally challenging.
Realistically, while you can try to work through your symptoms, and they should never define you or your sexual needs, it’s likely that you’ll have to address or at least manage your health conditions to reconnect with your sexual urges.
If you’re not already receiving care for on-going mental or physical pain, it’s worth seeking consultation with a doctor who can help you get through it.
And any partner worth their salt will understand and work with you to understand these boundaries.
Horny feelings can be hard to come (lol) by with the mounting pressures of adult life. However, giving yourself time to reconnect with your happy place and your partner can help you relocate your libido. The odd vibrator here and there doesn’t hurt either.
Getting in touch with your sexuality can help you become more satisfied and connected with your partner. An orgasm (or three) is the perfect way to blow off steam.
If you’ve never had an orgasm, here are some great places to start exploring.
Eva Giunto is a writer, daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend who happens to have a high sex drive. She enjoys many things besides sex, but sex is by far her favorite thing. Eva hopes to be one of many women who share a positive and realistic perspective on women who love sex. Follow her on Twitter @forevagiunto.