The female libido is as complicated as women are known to be. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSSD) is estimated by the Mayo clinic to affect 40% of women at some point in their sexually-active lives.
One of my teachers, one of the top acupuncturists and herbalists in the US, asked me once, “have you had much success in treating low libido in women?” He asked because he had not had a lot of success in treating it with acupuncture and herbs.
At that time, “no,” I had not either.
Chinese medicine theory states that the Kidney regulates hormone balance and sexual organ functioning. In my experience, strengthening the Kidney function usually fixes a male libido problem within a number of weeks; in women, we can treat hormone imbalance symptoms such as adrenal fatigue, menopausal syndrome, or infertility, but libido…not so much.
Yet, I hear all the time from women of all ages about the lack of interest in sex.
The root cause? Aside from any obvious physiological problem, the cause is a disconnect to our pleasure center.
This goes way deeper than you may think. Other things related to the detachment of our pleasure: over-eating, anxiety, depression, and anger.
We are taught from a young age:
- Pleasure usually indicates you are doing something that is wrong, which leads to…
- Pleasure-induced guilt happens because…
- We should be taking care of other people first; only after everyone else is happy are we allowed to make ourselves happy.
You may be thinking, “I don’t do that,” and if you don’t I applaud you! Congratulations!
You also could be thinking, “How do I get more in touch with my own pleasure?…without the guilt?…and still get everything done?…Impossible!!!”
Our plates seem too-full and our lives too hectic to be bothered by something as trivial as sex. You don’t need it to get by.
But you don’t want to just get by. You want to thrive. You want to feel vital and loved and brilliant and sexy. The paradox is that sex by itself does not necessarily make you feel sexy.
What makes a woman feel sexy is her allowing herself to indulge in what makes her feel good. …and not feel guilty about it.
How this translates into reality for me is kind of like this: I give my husband a kiss if I feel like it, not because I feel obliged to do it; if I need a break, I take it, unapologetically and I enjoy it; I take time to chat with my friends because it feels good to talk to people; I live by a code of honest communication because repressing what you really want to say is a terrible feeling; and I get as much enjoyment out of each moment in the day. When something becomes less enjoyable, I change the scenery, do something different, and don’t feel bad about it.
Here are some small changes you can try to incorporate more pleasure into your life:
1. Make a desire list: what do you want in life? Some of the things on my list: fresh flowers in my house, 2 weeks of vacation every year, regular massages, and a new bathroom vanity. Be creative and think big! List every little thing you want, cut out pictures, and post it on your refrigerator or somewhere you see it regularly.
2. Be vigilantly honest: with yourself and with others. Do you really want x, y, or z? Or is it just a habit? If you are feeling angry with someone, or scared of a situation, can you honestly talk to your partner about it? Or do you stuff it (figuratively or literally)?
3. Treat yourself at least once a day: take a nap at lunch; enjoy coffee with yourself or with a friend; schedule a massage; etc… If you can’t treat yourself, who will?!?!