Sometimes life gets in the way, but knowing your sex drive is key (Picture: Getty)
Getting ‘in the mood’ as we see it on TV usually involves candles and scratchy red lingerie. In reality, though, it’s a complicated beast.
Some people are constantly horny without much stimulus, while others respond best to emotional cues from their partner. Others have what’s called responsive arousal.
If you don’t naturally feel the urge to have sex, but you enjoy having sex, this might apply to you.
Emily Nagoski, in her book Come As You Are, estimates that around 75% of men and 15% of women experience spontaneous sexual desire, which is exactly what it suggests.
Meanwhile, 5% of men and 30% of women experience responsive desire, which is when arousal only happens after stimulation.
Basically, you might be sitting thinking about what to have for dinner or what you have to prep for work, not thinking about sex. If you or your partner initiate sex and begin having it, you get into it easily and have a grand old time.
It’s simple enough, but it can make it hard to feel like you know your own sex drive, given it’s fun when you’re having it but you can’t get horny at the drop of a hat.
Moreover, it’s important to understand the difference between genuinely not wanting to have sex, and being open to the idea but not specifically horny.
If you experience responsive arousal, learning about your own cues and communicating that to your partner is key. That way they can see that you’re not unattracted to them or have a low sex drive as such, but you may need to get started to see if it’s the right time.
Always remember you never have to have sex if you don’t want to, and consent can be withdrawn at any time. Learning about responsive arousal is all about how you feel and what you’re comfortable with.
Laura Banks, from online sex therapy platform Sexfulness, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘As most people think that sex drive should appear spontaneously, people with responsive arousal may believe that they have low libido (or even no sex drive at all!).
‘In fact, such people just need other things to get aroused, not just a sexy thought to “want” sex.’
She adds that those who experience responsive arousal are separate from sex-indifferent people who ‘can have sex for their partner’s pleasure, reproduction, etc. but have no positive feelings about sexual contact.’
Check out Laura’s top tips for dealing with responsive arousal (and recognising when you actually want to have sex):
- Understand that there’s nothing wrong with you and that you’re normal.
- Try different things to spark your sex drive. You have no desire for sex until you are in the process of receiving some physical stimulation so you need to find out what works for you.
- Understand how you get turned on. The point is to find out if you notice any sign of sexual arousal in response to stimulation and when exactly it happens.
- Practice orgasm breathing. It can really help to relax, increase sensitivity, and switch off the brain. This practice helps bring arousal and orgasm closer.
- Work on external factors – if a person is not aroused by erotic thoughts or fantasies, some other factors can do their part – preparing an intimate setting or practicing with various erogenous zones, toys.
Everybody’s libido is different, so enjoy getting to know yourself without the pressure, and have fun doing it!
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