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I feel no desire or arousal. What can I do to get my horniness back?

Dr. Shannon Chavez
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Dr. Shannon Chavez is a licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist with an expertise in female sexual health. She works with women and couples of all ages and backgrounds helping guide them from sexual concerns to sexual empowerment. She currently has a private practice in Beverly Hills, California, and uses a mind-body approach to sexual health wellness and a treatment approach that integrates both physical and psychological needs.

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I used to feel like I was in heat and couldn't get enough. Now I feel no desire or arousal. What can I do to get my horniness back?

A: Horny one day, gone the next is not a rare phenomenon. The ups and downs of libido are part of a woman’s unique sexuality and can sometimes be confusing. First of all, we must acknowledge that women’s sexual desire is multifaceted and complex ... but not in a bad way! It requires self-awareness, mindfulness and acknowledgment that it changes often. There is also a mind-body connection. When one system is down, it affects the other. First, let's try to assess how your body and health may be affecting your libido by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Have you experienced any changes in your body (recent weight gain or loss, medical condition, stress)?
  2. Are you taking any medications that might be interfering with sexual drive (antidepressants, birth control)?
  3. Do you have any medical conditions that might affect blood flow to the genitals (diabetes, high blood pressure)?
Now let’s assess the psychological role by asking these questions:

  1. How do you feel about your body (body image concerns, genital shame)?
  2. How do you feel about your sexuality (sexual orientation concerns, embarrassment, disconnection)?
  3. Do you feel that sex is a priority or a chore?
  4. Do you get enough attention, nurturing, and satisfaction in your relationship?
  5. Do you feel stressed out, anxious or not relaxed?
  6. Are you bored in your sexual relationship?
This list is not complete of all the questions you should ask yourself, but it’s a start. If any of these answers are "yes" then you know which factors are influencing how "horny" you may feel.
Here are some tips that may ignite your libido and help to bring your horniness back:

  • Rule out any medical concerns by seeing your doctor. It may be time to get a physical, blood tests, or check hormone levels. Talk to your doctor about medications that don’t interfere with sex drive. Bringing that libido back can sometimes be as easy as switching to a different medication. If hormones are low, ask your doctor about all options.
  • Improve sexual communication with a partner. If you are not talking about sex in your relationship that can be a problem. Whether it’s positive memories of when you first met, or that wild sexual experience that you will never forget, good sexual memories can re-ignite sexual feelings and lead to arousal. Also remember that there is always a low desire and high desire partner in a relationship, and it’s not always the women with the low desire! Uneven desire is a part of intimacy and takes dialog, compromise, and openness to resolve.
  • Schedule times to have sex. It adds anticipation and commitment to making sex a priority. It also gives you time to plan the date and talk about what you want before it happens. Send your lover a text, email, or leave a note about what you are looking forward to. Or leave sexy suggestions about what you want.
  • Sex can get boring just like anything else. Add some new activities to your sexual play - new positions, enhanced foreplay with sensual and erotic touch that you haven’t tried, kissing (think make out sessions like you did when you were younger) and changing the erotic scene. If you usually have sex in the bedroom, try a new environment that is comfortable, sensual and new. Novelty can be just enough spice to heat up desire.
Don’t wait for desire to magically appear. Make it happen. Most of us think desire precedes arousal. Sometimes it does, but not always. We can experience arousal without desire. A vague stirring of sexual feelings can ignite the desire to engage in sexual activity. So if your mind says, "I’m not in the mood" see if your body can respond to sexual play with a partner. Watching a movie, reading erotica, or listening to sexy music can also stir up emotions that can lead to sex.

Have a question? Ask Dr. Shannon here.

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