A previous version of this article on how to increase libido when you’re too tired appeared in Blood + Milk.
How do you build libido when you’re too tired in your day-to-day?
Awareness is the first step
Grab two pieces of paper and draw a big circle on each. Divide up one circle based on how you want to allocate your time. Divide the other based on you actually spend your time. Include categories like work, family, sex, hobbies, friends, etc.
Take a deep breath and look at your charts side-by-side. Where do they match? Differ? What needs to change? What can you change?
Sometimes this is obvious, like my client who worked 6am to 5pm. That’s not a typo! At the end of her day, all she wanted was self-care. By going to work only 30 minutes later, she created time in the morning for herself and, in turn, wanted to cuddle and sex her hubby at night. No one at work noticed.
Other times, you have to prioritize. Another client spent weeknights with friends or networking and weekends working or at events. She limited nights out to twice per week, called friends while walking her dog, and felt more balanced—and in the mood.
A lot of womxn* with low libido identify as people pleasers. Sound familiar? Say no to one personal obligation and one work request this week.
Expect that doing this—or thinking about it—might bring up big feelings, even an identity crisis! Notice, sit with, and process your feels. Try journaling, moving your body, talking to a therapist or friend, practicing self-forgiveness or tongelen meditation, or whatever else helps you through an anxious or tough time.
Manage Your Stress
For many womxn, stress kills their libido. If that’s you, build stress-reducing activities into your day. Try:
- Grounding Exercises
- Practicisng Mindfulness
- Going outside—even a 10 minute walk on your lunch break
- Reading or listening to books
- Using essential oils to destress
- Being creative—color, paint, embroider, knit, etc.
- Moving your body—living room or cubicle dance parties count
- Taking real breaks—a.k.a. not scrolling through social media
Adjust Expectations About Your Libido
Society teaches us that sexual desire just appears! This spontaneous desire is more common in men.
On the other hand, most womxn don’t feel turned on until after sexy things happen. This is called responsive desire—and it’s completely normal. If you’ve ever thought, “the sex is great when we have it, but I want to want it,” that’s it.
Not sure if you’re in the mood? The next time your partner initiates, say something playful like, “let’s kiss and see where this goes.” Your libido just might pop up.
Build Foreplay Throughout Your Day
Create a life and relationship that turns you on. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- When you separate and reunite, take 60 seconds to hug and kiss it out
- Read erotica/romance novels
- Flirt with your beau via text. This can be as erotic or innocent as you feel comfortable.
- Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Maybe that’s putting on sexy panties, diffusing an arousing essential oil like, ylang ylang or sandalwood, or working out
- Flirt with (almost) everyone. The barista. That cute stranger on the subway. Bosses, coworkers, and parents are probably a bad idea but otherwise have fun
- Go on adventures with your beau. Try a new bottle of wine or restaurant. Play hooky. Jump in their shower. When you break out of your routine, you recapture that loving feeling.
- Slow the eff down and savor every moment of foreplay
Think of this as a master guide to building your libido. Choose one thing that you can picture yourself doing—you feel nervous but not scared shitless. Try it out and see what happens. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, that’s good to know. Return to this list any time you want to dive deeper.
Your Partner in Passion,
*Names have been changed.
*Alternative spellings for “woman” were created as part of the feminist movement to promote women’s independence from men. This current spelling encompasses a broader range of gender identities than “woman,” including trans women and non-binary femme individuals. For more information, check out this great piece in the Boston Globe.
*Names have been changed.