Libido Lifters

Find out how to shift your sex drive into high gear

The kids are in bed. Marvin Gaye is crooning. And yet sex is the last thing you’re in the mood for. You’re far from alone.

Low libido is the most common sexual problem reported by women, with nearly 40 percent admitting their sex drive is in neutral, according to a 2008 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists study.

But don’t get discouraged if you’re among that group. You can still get the spark back. We’ll help you identify what’s killing your libido. Then our experts share some steps you can take to revive it.

How’d I Lose that Lusty Feeling?

There are several proven medical reasons why your libido might be lacking.

• Low sex drive is a common side effect of anti-depressants, which are now the most prescribed medications in the U.S.

• Sexual desire naturally declines as we age and levels of estrogen and testosterone decrease, with the most profound changes being noticed around menopause.

• Breastfeeding increases levels of the hormone prolactin, which decreases testosterone and deadens desire.

Even aside from these factors, life has a way of wreaking havoc on libido. Exhaustion and stress are probably more common reasons for saying “Not tonight, dear,” than the clichéd headache.

"In the beginning of a relationship, you’d have sex all night. Well, that certainly is not the case when you’re married for 15 years and you have two kids and you have to work," says Sheryl Kingsberg, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and professor of reproductive biology and psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "You actually have to work harder at it when you’re in a long-term, committed relationship because life tends to get in the way and sort of dissipate the natural idea of passion."

If you’re harboring any resentment or anger in your relationship – such as feeling like your partner should be shuttling the kids around more, or wishing he’d take some initiative and clean a bathroom without being asked – that anger is also going to make it difficult to feel amorous, says sex psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini of Houston. Poor body image can have the same effect: If you don’t feel confident in your body, you won’t feel sexy.

Sexual boredom is another common libido killer, Rapini says. The same time, same place, and same position can get old, especially in the course of a long relationship.

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