A new reader, let’s call her Kerry, contacted me recently and had this to say:
“I’m in the coming-to-terms stage. Being 35 and on the crazy train for 5 years is enough for my husband and me. I would like to hear from others about how to deal with (sigh…) loss of libido. I assume I’m not the only one? But I don’t know what to do about it, other than see a therapist, and I don’t really know how that will help anyway. I used to have a sex drive like a MAN and TTC seems to have killed it almost completely. This causes me much sadness, embarrassment and anger, and I have no idea how to fix my body’s refusal to enjoy sex! I want to get back to enjoying my life, and this is a huge barrier.”
Let’s face it: having sex on-demand is like being force-fed chocolate. It sounds like a lot of fun at first, but it doesn’t take long for the novelty to wear off.
If you’ve been on the TTC (trying to conceive) merry-go-round, you know all about charting fertility and the mad scramble for the bedroom when that little line on the ovulation test stick shows up. After just a couple of months of failed attempts, it’s difficult to muster the enthusiasm to keep trying, especially as the success of the mission depends so much on both people being “in the mood” and even “in the moment.” Add to that the fact that the most intimate parts of your anatomy have been paraded before countless doctors, and the whole think quickly loses its allure.
From my own experience, I remember how sex became a frustrating chore and how quickly it stopped being about fun or even love. I also found that, once sex was associated with trying to conceive and all the emotional baggage that comes along with it, it was hard to separate the two again. But it’s possible.
I am no expert on the psychology of sex and libido, but I can speak from my own experience, so I will.
It does come back. It takes time and it’s part of the healing process. Once my husband and I got some distance from our experience and were truly on the road to moving on, we were able to focus on one another again, and the love that brought us together in the first place was still there. In fact, I think that the experience we went through together has brought us closer in many ways. We talked about it a lot (a LOT!!) and both agreed that, as awful as the infertility experience was, we were glad we went through it with each other, and not with someone else. In many ways, it has brought us closer and it helps to remember that.
As for getting the old libido back on track, pick up almost any women’s magazine and it will have an article on rekindling the passion – warm bath, candles, lingerie, toys. I think the trick is finding the thing that works for you. Warm baths and candles, for instance, are a sure way to put me to sleep. Here’s what does work for me. [Note to my husband: you should have stopped reading this post about five paragraphs ago. Sorry.] Commit to a minute. Just one minute. Even if you’re not in the mood, you can do anything for a minute. Agree that if it’s going nowhere after a minute, you’ll stop. Odds are, once you’re actually in the throes of intimacy, the rest will follow.
Ladies, what has been your experience in this department? Do you have any advice for Kerry? Please share it.