Underwhelming sex, or lack of sex entirely, is a problem faced by many. Women often juggle various responsibilities, and that exhaustion can couple with stress. After a long day, the last thing on our minds is physical intimacy with our partner.
Low libido occurs for so many reasons, and blame-shifting becomes a “go-to” source of frustration. It is also the least effective way to bring back the spark and reconnect.
Why Blaming the Partner is a Dead-End Street
No one likes to be blamed for anything, especially reduced intimacy in a relationship. It doesn’t feel good to be blamed, and most people fight back; Sometimes aggressively. Blame questions the desire in your relationship.
The truth is the desire is likely as strong as it ever was; there are just a variety of factors that have led to a current lull. Blame affects both members of the relationship in many ways. One of the most important is that it creates a state of failure to act on both parts. When one blames their partner, it essentially says, “I can’t fix this until you do.”
Blame such as this inhibits the ability to enact real change on either side. With blame, the sexual situation in a relationship is not likely to improve. For that matter, if sex does happen, it often does so begrudgingly, resulting from feelings of obligation and responsibility rather than passion and desire.
The Hidden Reasons Behind Shifting Blame in a Relationship
Blame shifting occurs in a relationship for many reasons, most of which aren’t necessarily productive or healthy. Vulva-havers may also have deeper reasons for experiencing low libido beyond day-to-day exhaustion and stress. Some of the most common include lack of communication, hormonal changes, low self-esteem, and a lack of understanding (self-awareness) around what you want and need in the bedroom.
If you are experiencing a period of low self-esteem or low body-image. These are the times where you just don’t feel like yourself or feel physically unattractive. You aren’t likely to feel sexual desire. That is ok! It is not abnormal to feel out of sorts on occasion, and when you do, it is hard to feel sexy or sexual. It can be difficult for your partner to “see” these emotions or understand why your drive is seemingly gone.
A significant contributing factor to low libido can be changes in hormone levels. As vulva-havers approach pre-menopause and menopause, production of many of the hormones responsible for libido begins to wane. Although the extent to which hormones influence desire varies from person to person, as estrogen levels decrease, libido often follows. The onset of pre-menopause and menopause results in a slow but often significant decrease in estrogen production. For some vulva-havers this could have a noticeable impact on libido as well.
Another root source of blame-shifting is lack of communication. Communication in a relationship is vital to its health at all times. Sex and intimacy are great, but if they aren’t meeting your needs, they can quickly become repetitive and, well, boring. It is essential to openly communicate what you need from your sex partner to spice things up and rekindle the flame.
How to Rekindle the Passion and Get Back in Sexual Sync
If blame has introduced challenges to your relationship, it can be challenging to know where to begin to get back on track. There are several reasons why vulva-owners struggle with low libido yet there are many more ways to improve your relationship with your partner. It is essential to find what works for you.
The extent to which you experience pleasure is something you can own. Instead of looking to your partner (or shifting blame to your partner) explore yourself and your needs. It is through this self-exploration (either physical or psychological) that you can find the reasons behind low-libido and learn healthier ways to address it. While each relationship is certainly unique with its own set of circumstances, below are a few ideas that may help light the fire.
Compliment Your Partner & Let Them Compliment You
When we are feeling low compliments can be hard to give and take. However, an excellent way to improve your self-esteem is to improve how you see yourself. When your partner compliments you don’t search for the negatives. You are beautiful and it is your time to shine. Also, complimenting your partner is a great way to ensure they know the desire is still there, even if current circumstances dampen your libido.
Break the Habits That Kill Your Sex Drive
You may experience low sexual desire for a variety of reasons. The causes can be physical, emotional, or related directly to habits that impact how you feel about having sex. There may be elements of your day-to-day life that hinder your sexual desire without you realizing it. Breaking them may seem like a simple fix, but when we get into a routine, even a sexually unhealthy one, it can be challenging to get out of the rut. So, it’s important to make a positive effort to substitute the bad habits for the ones that improve desire.
- Excessive screen time before sleeping. This habit is bad for many reasons. Besides increasing stress, messing with your sleep cycle, and wasting your time, being stuck to your phone steals your emotional energy. “Your energy flows where your focus goes” – remember? Power down at least an hour before sleep and be fully present with your partner – do things together, talk, cuddle – the desire is likely to reveal itself before you know it.
- Staying up late. The chemistry is simple: less sleep increases cortisol levels – your body’s main stress hormone lowers sex drive. Adequate sleep keeps your hormone levels balanced and your desire high.
- Overeating or too much drinking. Feeling full and tired after a heavy dinner is far from sexy. That extra glass of wine won’t set the mood either – alcohol is a depressant which is likely to kill the desire or even make it hard to reach orgasm. Moderation is key.
- Skipping foreplay. Quickies are great and fun, but not until you make a habit of them. Appetite comes with eating, and foreplay is a delicious appetizer. Take your time to let that excitement build up.
- Not prioritizing yourself. If you constantly put yourself last on your to-do list, chances are you’ll never make it to the end of it. Practicing self-pampering on a regular basis is crucial to a healthy self-image, body image, happiness, and confidence. And being confident is an important part of getting back to your sensual, seductive, and sexy self.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is a broad notion that covers just about anything you do to look after your happiness, health, and wellbeing: positive self-talk, healthy exercise, nice clothing, hobbies you enjoy, body treatments, psychological and medical care – things that develop a healthy sense of self-worth which is strongly tied to sexuality and relationship satisfaction.
With all the marketing noise around the amorphous term these days, many women find it difficult to define some tangible self-care goals. Basically, taking care of yourself means many things to different people at different life periods, however, the definition is not as important as the practice. Making it part of your routine shouldn’t be a drag.
Here are some tips to follow if you want to make self-care a habit that sticks:
- Lift self-care activities to the same level of importance as eating and sleeping, meaning they should be prioritized to happen just as regularly.
- Don’t commit to activities that you hate. Self-care is supposed to be a breath of fresh air, not a bitter pill.
- Plan and budget self-care the same as any other aspect of your life. Besides putting it among your daily activities (write it down, literally), allow time for scheduled checkups, body care appointments, therapy sessions, holiday activities, etc., in advance.
- Make self-care as simple, affordable, and flexible as you need it to be to fit into your lifestyle.
If you are concerned about potential medical (menopause, hormone changes, etc.) or psychological issues that may have an underlying impact on your libido, consider therapy or seek medical advice. Self-care is essential so that you can be the best version of yourself for yourself and others.
Actively communicating your emotions with your partner can help them better understand why your sexual desires are the way they are right now. It can also help reduce the blame and finger-pointing that can inevitably occur when either partner in a relationship feels as though something is wrong, but they cannot understand what or why.
It is essential to take a moment to address your needs, although the idea of approaching your partner about this can be scary. For the conversation to be most productive and beneficial remember to be honest. Tell them what you like and need. Talk about the time of day you feel most sexual and what things they do that turn you on. Explain what acts, moods and rhythms during sex and foreplay are exciting. Provide suggestions and thoughts that can help you both be on the same sexual page.
Bring Back the Spark
The “spark” thing is often discussed in terms of intimate relationships and how to “rekindle that old flame” between you and your partner, but let’s focus on bringing your inner spark back in the first place. Reconnect with your authentic self – emotionally, spiritually, and physically – reclaim your sexual self, rediscover your true desires and what makes you really feel alive. Shifting your focus from others to yourself is the best way to win the blame game.
Once you take responsibility for and own your pleasure, you’ll own the power in other areas of your life – especially relationships – to identify the root cause of the problem and work with your partner towards the most satisfying fix. The emotions that one experiences with a shift in libido can be challenging, but when you know it’s not anyone’s fault and team up with your partner to find a solution, they are far more likely to be open to experimenting with new ways to make sex more exciting.
Blaming is a common self-defense mechanism used to discharge discomfort and frustration when we are feeling especially vulnerable. Understanding this underlying need for self-love and acceptance is crucial to beating toxic patterns that weaken your relationship. It takes reconnecting with yourself first before you can reconnect to your partner and rekindle desire and passion between you.