September 23, 2010

Q&A: Decreased Libido and Vaginal Lubrication. Anything I Can Do?

Most women and men will notice changes in their sexual feelings or in the ways their genitals respond over time.

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Question: I’ve been experiencing a decrease in libido and vaginal lubrication, which concerns both me and my partner. He’s starting to think I don’t desire him or that’ I’m bored with our sex live, which isn’t the case. Is there anything I can do about this?

Navigating Changes in Sex and Relationships

Most women and men will notice changes in their sexual feelings or in the ways their genitals respond over time, and it’s good of you to be attentive to your body and to your experience of sexuality.

However, as your partner cannot know what’s in your heart or in your head unless you tell him, it’s up to you to communicate with him. Of course, the responsibility is not yours alone as he also needs to be open to hearing what you have to say and to listening to you.

You said, for example, that it’s not the case that you don’t desire him. However, you also said that you’ve experienced a decrease in libido. If you desire him generally, but don’t always want to have sex when he wants it, perhaps you can let him know that. I’m sure that he sometimes feels tired or stressed and not into sex. Or maybe sometimes he’d rather watch a certain television show, check his email, hang out with his friends, or go to a sports match, than have sex.

It’s completely normal and healthy for people to like doing lots of things – sex doesn’t always have to come first for people to feel happy and satisfied in their relationships.

Gracefully Declining Sex

In the very first chapter of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, I wrote about how women and men can learn to decline sex in ways that help their partner to feel good, and that enhance their sex lives, rather than cause their partner to feel hurt, frustrated or confused.

You might ask your partner how he feels when you decline sex or what sense he makes of it. Does he worry that he’s unattractive to you or that you’re not into him anymore? How can you both come to feel okay about your sex lives?

Turning Dry to Wet

As for vaginal lubrication, there are many reasons why women may experience more dryness. Some women experience vaginal dryness after taking low dose birth control pills. Also, it’s common for women to feel more dry if they start having sex shortly after a warm shower or bath, if they’re taking allergy medications such as antihistamines, or while they are breastfeeding.

Another common cause of vaginal dryness, especially in young women, is too little time spent in foreplay or doing things that feel sexually exciting. Try spending more time in foreplay – perhaps at least 10 or 15 minutes – so that your body has enough time to go through physical changes related to sexual arousal, including the production of more vaginal lubrication.

More Information

You can read more about how to decline sex in relationship-enhancing ways in Because It Feels Good, and more about natural lubrication in The V Book.