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  Society 
13 of July, 13:00

How to revive your sex drive
How to revive your sex drive
How to revive your sex drive
[all 2 photos]
Losing your sex drive can feel very depressing and cause lots of problems in any relationship.

I`m not talking here about male erection problems or women finding it hard to reach orgasm - I can send you special leaflets if one of those is your problem - but just losing all desire to have sex, even though you have a reasonable relationship and willing partner.

I will give you some practical tips on reviving sex drive in a minute, but first you have to be sure that the real problem isn`t that there is a whole lot of unresolved feeling between you both generally.

Good sex cannot be divorced from our feelings. If you have rocks just below the surface in your relationship, you will crash on them unless you make a determined effort to dismantle them.

Don`t get sucked into blaming one another. It doesn`t matter whose fault it was - that`s in the past. Look to the future and see if you can agree together changes you`d both like to make and agree ways to reach your goals. If you get stuck, then arrange to see a Relate counsellor (0300 100 1234, or see www.relate.co.uk).

The feeling of positive energy and force for change may well give a whole boost of its own to your love life. You can help this along by making a special effort to show each other love and appreciation, and by telling each other "I love you" regularly.

Even if it at first it feels like an effort, it`s surprising how often, if you treat someone as if you really appreciate them, then you start to do so - and they feel much more appreciative of you. Those warm feelings make it far easier to get the ball rolling again sexually.

If you find it hard to rediscover physical intimacy, learn massage. To be touched caringly is one of our most basic human needs - as crucial as food and drink - but all too often touching gets cut down to a minimum, even by couples having sex, let alone those whose love life has died away.

Sharing caring, all-over body massage brings great physical pleasure and relaxation to both the giver and the receiver of the massage. It soothes away the cares of the day, which have probably also played a part in wearing down your sex drive, and gets the hormones whizzing round the bloodstream again.

You don`t always want to go on to have sex straight afterwards but when you do make love it will enhance the quality of your physical relationship, make it something special just you two share.

Sensate focus exercises are special techniques devised by sex therapists to help resolve a whole range of sexual problems including loss of sex drive, and you can try these for yourself at home now.

They are rather like a course of petting or foreplay specially designed to relieve anxiety and inhibitions, and to help couples communicate more effectively about sex.

Stage One: Each of you separately sets aside some time during which you will not be disturbed. Either in a warm bath, using soap or oil, or in a warm bed using lotion to make your hands glide smoothly, massage your body all over.

Starting with the non-sexual areas, explore every inch, discovering what feels particularly and perhaps surprisingly good to you. If you can and want to, masturbate to orgasm. (There is nothing wrong with masturbation. It is a positive help in treating many sexual difficulties.)

Stage Two: In a warm bedroom - with soft lights if possible (but certainly not no lights) a drink to relax you (but only one or two), low music, whatever you like - take it in turns to massage one another all over.

Again, start with the non-sexual areas, explore all the body. Experiment with light and firm strokes. Try licking and tasting one another all over.

If you feel yourself getting tense or anxious, tell your partner how you are feeling. Try to learn to lie back and let your partner please you. Tell one another what would feel good next.

Stage Three: Just like Stage Two, but now you also move on to the sexual areas. If you both say what you would like, what gives you pleasure, you may both become aroused and can bring each other to climax, as long as that`s what you both feel ready for. (In case you`re unsure, most women find the area around the clitoris - the little peak of tissue in front of the vagina - most sensitive to stimulation.)

Only after giving one another a lot of pleasure for some days or weeks with Stage Three should a couple think of moving on and having intercourse. Remember you`re trying to revive sex drive. A bit of frustration can help build up a head of steam.

And it really can help love-making stay exciting and pleasurable to remember that it doesn`t always - or ever - have to end in intercourse. Couples can give each other tremendous satisfaction with other caresses of fingers or tongues if they want to.

Such variety can stop sex seeming predictable, and stop you feeling pressured by the expectation that every time you start showing physical affection it must end with intercourse.

Only a minority of women do usually reach orgasm during intercourse - most of those who climax do so as a result of other stimulation. For them intercourse should naturally be just a part of sexplay, not the be-all and end-all.

Some women and a few men never climax at all, but still enjoy making love. All that ever matters is that each partner enjoys the shared physical experience without feeling pressured to fit in with some norm of what is thought to be successful sex.

Sensate focus exercises also help us give making love greater priority in our life. It`s amazing how many couples would say that making love is or should be one of the most important parts of their relationships, yet actually devote just 20 minutes at the end of the occasional busy day.

Set aside the time to make love properly while you have energy to share and enjoyment to bring. You should practise these Sensate Focus exercises at least three times a week for an hour.

If you find these exercises don`t seem to work or you and/or your partner don`t manage to keep them up, you may need a different sort of help. The underlying problem could be a repressive upbringing or bad early experiences. If you write to me I can send you special leaflets explaining how to get the right sort of help.

If you`re suffering particular difficulties, such as finding it hard to reach orgasm, premature ejaculation, erection problems or painful sex, I can also send you leaflets to resolve these too.

sections: Society

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