Libido, Desire, and Pleasure: The Sexual Domino Effect
This post is part three in my series about the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health. Click here and here to read the first two posts.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The phoenix or the flame? The libido or the pleasure? There are some things we may never know, and there are some things we most certainly can experiment with.
One of the four pillars of The Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health is in regards to Libido, Desire, and Pleasure. We fund research to explore what affects and enhances a woman’s sexual desire. On a theoretical note, though, I think it’s important to think about the sexual domino effect of libido, desire, and pleasure.
Ideally, a woman’s libido is on fire, which causes her to desire sexual activity and her partner (or herself!) more. This then leads her to experience pleasure with her partner or solo. But does it always have to be in that order? As women and men age, it’s common for their libidos to decrease. Symptoms of this include feelings of loss of connection with your partner, not wanting to initiate sex, dreading the thought of sexual behaviors, having no interest in experimenting in or out of the bedroom, and having sex significantly less.
We are busy and tired. Our minds are filled with projects at work, ensuring our children are happy, organizing Sunday’s family dinner. More often than not, other actions come before our sex lives and nurturing our libidos, when really, we should make sex a higher priority. Having a thriving sexual relationship with your partner and with yourself is not only a gift, it’s a stress reliever, gets your blood flowing, burns calories, strengthens pelvic floor muscles, and more.
In times when you think you aren’t feeling it, try to fool around a little. Drop everything else you’re doing and stop worrying. Kiss your partner. Have your partner kiss your neck or whatever erogenous zone really gives you the chills. When you start to feel some pleasure, your desire for more will grow. This, in return, will feed your libido (your body’s desire, not mental) and fire it up. Women are notorious for “thinking too much.” In the bedroom, when you think you’re not into it, and your mental desire isn’t there, try to boost it by feeling. Allow your outer senses to lead you to a more sexual mental state.
This sexual domino effect of libido, desire, and pleasure can work both ways. Heat up your desire whichever way works best, but always give it a try. When you’re feeling pleasure on all levels, it doesn’t matter which came first.
However, there are some who still struggle no matter what. This is where funding from the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health can help. We are currently helping to fund a fellowship that focuses on libido studies in perimenopausal and menopausal women; libido and how it is affected by the use of hormonal contraceptives; and sexual dysfunction in women and her partner during and after cancer treatments.
Even if you do a quick Google search of “loss of libido,” you’ll find that it’s hard to find solid scientific information about women’s libidos. We have a pill for men, but we need more. We need a real solution, not just a band-aid. Our research shows that approximately one-quarter to one-half of women are affected by a lack of sexual desire, known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Now it’s time to help women and couples solve their libido issues.
With more research, we’re aiming to give our pill-popping society an alternate option: real solutions. Pills are a quick fix, but they may not necessarily get to the root of the problem. And we’ll only know the root of the problem and an equal solution with time, funding, and research.
When it comes to libido issues, it’s imperative to understand that every woman is different. What helps one woman may do nothing for another. It’s all about trying new things and not letting giving up be an option. Make a roadmap for yourself, and if something isn’t working, take a different route. You must actually work to be committed to finding the techniques that make you tick. Most importantly, both parties, you and your partner, need to be fully dedicated to working on libido issues. Keeping the lines of communication completely open and fluid is the only way to work toward something together—you can’t try to read each other’s minds. You have to talk about it. Whatever you do, try and try again. We’re certainly trying to find solutions, too.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. With the assistance from doctors on our Board combined with research, the blog posts this month have been created.