Libido – Between Highs and Lows
Libido, or sexual desire, is complicated.. You can have too much or too little. Sometimes it is overwhelmingly strong but there is no way to make use of it. Other times you would really want your body and mind to react, but nothing is happening. There are a million things that can affect the strength of your libido: from life changes, to hormones, health, relationship status and some might even say the food that you eat. As a woman, I am supposed to always be ready. But also not. So I want sex, a lot? I am a slut. And if I don’t want sex at all? I am a prude.
Finding the right balance to meet society’s expectations of a woman’s libido is almost impossible. And even if we disregard those expectations, we are still putting pressure on ourselves because we want to please our partners. Or maybe we are freaked out by the fluctuations in our libido’s strength throughout our lifetimes. Whatever it is, in the end there is no right or wrong, or societal normal. It should be about what makes you feel comfortable, and what you need to feel fulfilled, sexually, romantically and individually.
I think we first really notice our libido when it doesn’t fit into the relationship or sexual circumstances that we find ourselves in. It could be a mismatch in libidos in a new romantic connection, or we suddenly have a lot of opportunities to masturbate, but are not feeling it. Another major issue is when the libido changes during a long term relationship. Things that have felt comfortable, are gone and there is this nagging fear of not being good enough anymore. I have been through it all. The highs, the lows, the mismatches, the frustrations and fears. And I often wonder: how much focus do I really want to give my libido?
How Important is Your Libido?
How important your libido is to you, really has to do with how important sex is to you. In my current relationship, sex does play a bigger role than in my previous relationships. So any changes in my libido, worry me. Especially if my sexdrive is on the low side. Generally I have a high libido but depending on my partner, or my relationship status, I can also push it down.
There have been many periods in my life during which I only masturbated to get off quickly and get it out of my system. The times when I was sexually frustrated because my my sexual needs weren’t met, were few. I always sort of managed to adapt to the situation I found myself in and was okay with it. So while I am a very sexual person with a generally high libido, I don’t get frustrated when I don’t have a lot of sex going on. I just masturbate, get it out of my system, and move on. Of course I’d always prefer sexual play with a partner, but I can live with it, physically, if there isn’t any outlet for that.
Hypersexuality and Mental Health
My libido gets affected by my mental illnesses a lot. Most people probably realize that their sexual desire is higher during periods of calm, and that they don’t really want to fuck when they are struggling. It is definitely the same for me. When I haven’t slept well, my anxiety levels are high and I am stressed out, my body and mind do not crave sex as much. But it also gets a tiny bit more complicated for me.
I have bipolar disorder (type 2) and the different bipolar episodes definitely affect my libido. In hypomania, I am hypersexual, which means I have the strong urge to engage in sexual interactions, all the time. And I become insatiable. I know that this sounds exciting, but it is really hard to keep up with that as my partner. I also tend to be prone to make some unhealthy decisions during those periods. And I can’t get enough, it is like always chasing the next orgasm, almost getting obsessed with it.
During depression, my libido is a bit lower but I actually think it is somewhere in the ballpark of what is considered average. I am lucky there because it is very common to lose one’s sexdrive completely during a bipolar depression. My libido drops below average during stable times instead, when I am trying my best to function. My focus is on getting my life back on track, and sex doesn’t play much of a role there.
And then there is the trauma too. I have been through sexual abuse as a child and it definitely affects how you approach sex as an adult. With the Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the C-PTSD, I have parts of me who are hypersexual constantly and sometimes even only exist for the sole purpose of sex. And then there are those parts of me for whom sex is foreign or in some instances even triggering. So no matter bipolar episode, my libido is all over the place. It really is all about how safe I feel and how well my partner approaches me. I can get sexual in no time, in the right circumstances and with the right stimuli. But I can also become almost asexual, when I am focused on something different. I am not always ready, but I can become aroused in no time.
Physical Health and Hormones
Just as much as my mental health affects my libido greatly, so does my physical health. On days that I am tired, worn out and out of spoons, I am just not feeling it. I struggle with autoimmune illness and chronic illness so I am rarely on top of my game. My body definitely doesn’t always do what I want it to do. And even if I would want sex, like, I have a desire for sexual desire, my body would not react. It can be extremely frustrating and I often try to push my body instead of letting it rest, which exacerbates the negative effects I am struggling with.
And then there are hormones, oh the lovely hormones. I have two hormonal illnesses and they wreak havoc in my body. But the one physical thing that has the most impact on my libido, is PMS. I have strong PMS and I can go from seductive succubus to dried up prune in a few hours. Every month I am completely confused by why I am suddenly so physically horny for a few days, until my partner has to remind me yet again that it is because of my cycle. I am really not looking forward to what menopause is going to do to me.
Intimacy vs. Libido
My partner and I have had a dry patch for a while this year. I can’t really pinpoint why it was that way, but I assume it was a combination of things. A lot of changes and a lot of stress in our lives have definitely contributed to us both not wanting and enjoying sex the same way that we used to. And not only that, we both didn’t have much of a desire to finish, couldn’t have an orgasm or the orgasms were quite disappointing.
It took us a while to actually talk about it and we both realized that we felt quite similarly about the situation. That even during times of lower libido, we actually enjoy each other’s company, and we want to be intimate with each other. Playing, touching each other or even a BDSM scene without any penetration or orgasms, was just as rewarding to both of us.
Communicating helped us understand that we had been both stuck in societal ideas of that orgasms, hard cocks and wet cunts are all that count when it comes to sex and intimacy. They don’t. The most important thing is that you want to be together. In what way, and if sex is involved or not, is totally up to you. As always, the most important thing in a relationship is communication so you can make sure that even if your libidos don’t match, or you are both struggling with low libido, that your needs for intimacy are met. A need for intimacy is not the same as sexual desire, but gratifying one of those two, is always better than leaving everything in the realm of frustration.
It is totally normal that one’s libido fluctuates. And it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It doesn’t matter if you are a sexblogger, in a highly sexual relationship, a sexworker, in a D/s connection or in a vanilla marriage. Your libido will fluctuate. And if there is a mismatch, or you are frustrated, communication and trying to figure how needs can be met, is a safe path to walk on. And if you normally are hypersexual or asexual, if you need a lot of stimulation or you can’t get sex off your mind, it should always be about what you need to be happy in any particular moment. You are not a slut, nor a prude. You are a human being just like everyone else, and that means that your libido will fluctuate during your lifetime.