By: Florence Paquet 

“I want to want to “… living with unwanted low desire

There is so much incredible, helpful content on this subject that this article will be about connecting you to existing resources and summarizing some. 

**Disclaimer: For folks who have had sexual trauma and are experiencing low desire regularly, I believe in your intuitive power to heal. Please be gentle – pushing yourself to regain desire and be sexual could be harmful. Working with an AASECT (certifed sex) therapist is an additional option.***

Sexual desire is NOT spontaneous, it is contextual and cultivated. Magnificent sexuality is not automatically known, it is learned and practiced. 

  • Lessons from Peggy Kleinplatz

First, from Emily Nagoski’s Come as You Are – try to turn off the offs and turn on the ons. 

This can happen with all genders, but I often work with women who are exhausted – from the pressure and efforting of living up to expectations of being sexual, from the guilt of “failing”, and often from taking on too much in general.

For these folks a good, long (longer than you might want or expect – think months not weeks) break. Often taking sex off the table while having a plan to maintain other ways of sharing intimacy, pleasure, and fun together can do wonders! During that time….

Turn off the off of an endless chore and errand list. Turn off the off of those things being undone unless they do them. Turn off the off of pressure for unwanted sex. 

Turn on the on of daily (often solo is necessary) relaxation and rejuvenation time. Turn on the on of sharing chores daily. Turn on the on of being flirtatious, having fun, doing something new, and being sexual with each other without it ending in inter/othercourse (oral, manual, toy, etc)

Resources 

Second, practice sexual skills – learn how to make “sex worth wanting” and enjoyable to experience for yourself and your partner(s). 

This often means learning how to communicate with each other what you like and don’t like, and personally being able to redirect focus to physical sensations of pleasure:

  • Communication exercises and games
  • Sensate focus – increases ability to focus on pleasure and trust partner
    • Sensate Focus
    • try solo sensate focus and mindful masturbation if being with your partner right now is too much
  • Take a massage class together 
  • Don’t forget the hot world of the taboo and fantasy
    • What porn do you watch? What do you fantasize about when you masturbate? What have been your peak sexual experiences? 

Third, from Jack Morin attraction+obstacle = excitement

Creating attraction:

  • remove sex from the table to remove constant pressure and rejection
  • really learn and practice and incorporate what each other loves. (see resources)
  • practice skills that help you focus on physical pleasure. (see resources)
  • regularly (hopefully weekly) doing something new, exciting, and fun together.
  • regularly (hopefully weekly) creating time to be alone, skin to skin, in a private, comfortable (dim lights, warm, soft, quiet, clean) area (without the pressure to have sex)  
  • a lifestyle of “foreplay” without expectation of it ending in sex 
    • this can be really specific and very diverse, I am a fan of keeping a list of “non sex” things you enjoy outside of the bedroom 
    • being flirtatious in touch and talk
    • making each other feel good about themselves 
    • staying attractive to yourself, turning yourself on (this might be masturbating, taking care of your holistic wellbeing, etc)
    • Foreplay tips

Now, putting in barriers or obstacles can generate a lot of heat. Partners are often on top of each other, doing everything together. It’s why you might notice a lot of partners’ desire starts to go down when they move in. 

Create some space if possible. Something like:

  • Solo relaxing or fun personal time at least 30 minutes daily, one weekend out of the month, and at least one week out of the year.  
  • Creating separate, hopefully private, spaces or areas that are only for each partner.  
  • Pursue and nurture solo passions or hobbies: music, art, DIY, etc. 

If you’re searching for more supportive resources, check out some of my go-to’s below! 

YouTube Videos

  • The secret to desire in a long term relationship by Esther Perel
  • How couples maintain a strong sexual connection by Emily Nagoski
  • The keys to a happier healthier sex life by Emily Nagoski
  • Esther Perel and Dan Savage on sex and monogamy 

Podcasts 

Additional Articles

Books:

  • Rekindling Desire – The McCarthys
    • A how-to guide to recreating a sexual life together
  • Come as You Are – Emily Nagoski
    • Solo exploration guide
  • Peggy Kleinplatz – Magnificent Sex
    • What makes sex magnificent and how to create it
  • Jack Morin – The Erotic Mind or Esther Perel – Mating in Captivity
    • psychology of