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The Naked Truth
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The Amazing Shrinking Lesbian Sex Drive
Has your sex drive started to wane, and you’re not feeling up to bumping and grinding because of the old bump and grind of daily life? Would your partner/lover/girlfriend/wife like to have some mad passionate sex, but you just don’t have the desire to follow through? Do you wonder things like: "Does sex drive fade and disappear as we age, or does it just go away?" "What are the things that can affect our sex drive, regardless of age?" or "Will my partner and I just sit around like a couple of neutered cats as we get older?"

Here is a look at some of the answers to these questions.

There are a number of reasons that a woman's sex drive can drop off or disappear such as: stressful life circumstances, emotional issues, cultural beliefs, physical health issues, and side-effects due to medications.

In many cultures, myths surround sex and aging are rampant such as: when we get older, our sex drive drops off and eventually disappears; elderly folks just can’t have sex because they are too old and frail and could dislocate a hip (or some other body part); sex for older people is too dangerous, because it could cause a heart attack, stroke, and they can die.

For many people, the thought of older/elderly family members having sex is disgusting, but when you think about it, would you want your sex life to just disappear as you get older? Of course not, and it doesn't have to evaporate.

The source of all these myths usually boils down to what our culture defines as a stereotype: that sexual activity is for the young and middle-aged. To many people, old age means sitting together on a porch, with the cats and dogs laying around us, while we rock into the end of our lives. That’s “rocking” as in a chair and not “If the van’s a rockin’ don’t come knockin’!”

If you feel that the idea of stereotypes and sexuality are not valid, think about the increase of diagnoses of anorexia and bulimia in young girls. Most of the time, these disorders develop within the context of certain childhood issues. They can develop because of cultural views that beauty is the stereotype of stick-thin models, or of the issues of low self-esteem that young women deal with as adolescents, when they don’t look like everyone in the media. Some female celebrities develop these issues due to the pressures of what they are told to look like in order to make money. The latest version is male music artists get to wear baggie clothes, while the females must be half-naked, leaving little to the imagination.

It is acceptable for men to be heavy, or even obese. Look at the popularity of Jack Black, Kevin James, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Goodman, and Drew Carey, to name a few. Now think of how many overweight actresses are on TV or in the movies, that have the type of popularity that these men do.

Some of us may, indeed, loose our sex drive as we get older. As a matter of fact, some studies show that approximately one third of women report a lack of interest in sex. Aging and menopause, either surgical or naturally going through the process, are associated with a risk of sex drive decrease. The medical viewpoint is that this is due to declining hormone levels in women.

There are solutions if this is a hormonal issue, including testosterone treatment. For a good source of information on this subject, and different types of treatments, visit the website of Jennifer Berman, MD: http://www.bermansexualhealth.com.

She and her sister, Laura Berman, LCSW & PhD, hosted a TV show called “Berman & Berman” that covered issues of women’s sexuality and related health concerns. This website is very comprehensive and has a great deal of information on different types of treatments for sex drive decrease that is physically based.

Laura Berman’s website is from a counseling perspective, and covers many issues regarding sex and intimacy: http://www.drlauraberman.com. I would suggest doing some research on the Internet, especially on the websites I've noted above, before talking to your health practitioner. She or he may not be aware of all the options available for treatment, and not all doctors are open to testosterone therapy, according to Dr. Jennifer Berman’s site.

Some medications can also affect sexual desire. The ones I'm most familiar with are the SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, anti-psychotic medications, and mood stabilizers. Mood stabilizers are frequently anti-seizure medications that have been found to help stabilize mood. Other medications that could interfere with sex drive or sexual reactions are sedatives, some pain relievers, anti-anxiety medications, birth control pills, beta-blockers, diabetes medications, stimulants, appetite suppressants, and medications for high blood pressure. You’ll have to check with your MD or the pharmacist to see if your medication interferes with your sex drive or sexual responses.

There are different ways around this issue. Some psychiatrists and/or general practitioners who prescribe these medications will suggest a "drug holiday." This means going off the meds you’re on, after you have them established in your system, for a day or two to allow your sex drive to return. Sometimes a decrease in the dosage will do. NOTE: Always talk to your MD before decreasing the dosage or taking yourself off any medications for any reason, or duration of time (except missed dose during the day). Always talk to your doctor and ask questions. You have a right to find out as much as you can about side effects of medication and treatments.

Other factors in decreased sexual desire are psychological in nature. Depression, anxiety, stress, self-confidence issues, or problems with your relationship or physical health can wear on your mental outlook, and contribute to lack of desire. If there are mental health concerns due to situational depression, on-going mental health issues, and/or stressful life situations, then connecting with a therapist to deal with these issues can be important.

At the least, you can help yourself by taking the time to care for your personal needs. Finding ways to relieve stress is important, and will greatly benefit your health mentally and physically. Exercise helps to release endorphins into your system, and mood stabilization A good, healthy, diet low in simple carbohydrates and processed sugars, will help with issues of depression and anxiety, and keep you physically fit, and feeling good due to more stabilized blood sugar.

Sometimes when we are in long-term relationships, our lives get caught up in the ebb and flow of daily routine and stress. When this happens, sex can become less of a focus due to being overwhelmed in other areas of our lives. In these cases, set a date for sex with your partner.

Whether you are in the mood or not, work on having some intimacy. Start out with cuddling, snuggling, kissing, massaging, and move into a more intense foreplay. Let your mood build, and as you get into it, the desire will most likely follow. Remember to not think about the bills that need to be paid, the criticism from your boss, the kids needing new shoes, or the dog/cat needing shots. Focus on your lover and the moment.

I know that this isn’t totally romantic, or what our culture has taught us concerning what a sexual relationship should be. The reality is that if you can push yourself to revive the sexual aspects of your life, then the benefits are many. You can do this, and it may take only one of the things we’ve discussed, or a combination of several of the techniques or treatments to help you over the hump--to get you back into humping. Increased intimacy with your partner results in decreased stress, and a happier outlook on life in general, so good night and good sex!
Tracey Stevens and Kathy Wunder are the co-authors of
“How To Be A Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide”
“Coming Out Advice for Lesbian and Bisexual Women"
“Relationship Advice for Lesbian and Bisexual Women"
“Lesbian Sex Tips: A Guide for Anyone Who Wants
To Bring Pleasure to the Woman She (Or He) Loves”

“Sex tips para lesbianas/ Sex tips for lesbians" (Spanish Edition)
“The Lesbian Big O: Over 100 Sensual Illustrations"


Their website, www.AmazingDreamsPublishing.com,
provides more than 1,500 free community services for
lesbian and bisexual women worldwide.


Contact Tracey and Kathy at
www.amazingdreamspublishing.com

NOTE:
The advice in this column is the opinion of the writers and is not intended as a
substitute for medical or psychological treatment from a health care professional.
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