Cast your mind back to a more carefree point of your existence; to a time where perhaps there were no children, no worries about money, nothing dragging down the corners of your energy. For those readers who never much cared for sex, salute. There is a growing community of people celebrating an asexual lifestyle. But for those of us who used to spin gladly into the stars of sensuality, take a moment to consider whether there may be parts of you that do want to want it - if only someone else could iron the PE kit / finish the Q2 profit projections…
This first step is foraging in the attic to relocate one’s own desire, rather than seeing sex as yet another demand on your resources. Within something like a marriage, explains relationship therapist Esther Perel, sex can end up “no longer something we want, but rather something we are supposed to do.” We must upend this. “Reconnect to that other part of you, the playful, non-responsible, mischievous, flirtatious, sensual self.”
Then, eliminate specific libido drains. It has become a cliche how bad modern lifestyles are for hormonal health - and so our sex drive - be it how screens disrupt our circadian / hormonal rhythms; other passion killers include stress, unhappy digestion, depression and SSRIs (key orgasm killers), even the contraceptive pill etc. It is worth taking time to whittle out any obvious culprits, and yes, try to be in dimmer light as you approach bedtime; meditate to manage stress; consider a really good probiotic for your gut, like Symprove, and work out if you are properly nourishing yourself.
I speak from experience. I’ve been a sex columnist for most of my life, yet after the birth of our second child I was sexual roadkill. The idea of being touched was nauseating; I couldn’t recognise myself. Happily, I ended up meeting a clinical nutritionist who pointed out that low levels of B vitamins and omega (key nutrients your baby demands in your breast milk, but also the building blocks of happiness hormone serotonin) may relate to lowered mood and in my case depression. A month taking a cart of supplements proved to be transformative, on every front.