Experiencing A Loss Of Sex Drive? Here's How To Boost Your Libido

If you're feeling less horny during the pandemic, you're not alone.

There’s nothing like a pandemic to put you in less sexy mood. And the precariousness of the last 19 months has really has done a number on our libidos.

In fact, more than half of reproductive-age women have had a reduced sex drive during the pandemic, and 56% have seen a change to their menstrual cycle, a new poll has shown.

The study, which is being presented to the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Edinburgh, examined the disruption to menstrual cycles for reproductive-age women a year into the pandemic.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin surveyed 1,335 women of reproductive age, with an average age of 34, in April. A total of 64% of women reported worsening pre-menstrual symptoms, and 54% had a reduction in their libido.

The researchers said that rates of severe depression, anxiety and poor sleep were more than double those seen in the general community.

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The researchers pointed out that poor sleep and increased psychological distress during the pandemic have been linked to changes in menstrual cycle, and it makes sense that this would also impact our libidos.

Clearly, getting the basics of self-care right and seeking mental health support is vital to our sexual wellbeing. But if you are feeling ready to get your sexual appetite back to pre-pandemic levels, HuffPost UK previously asked relationship therapists and sex educators for their tips on boosting libido.

Tips on how to increase libido:

1. Communicate more

“The first thing is to acknowledge it, and actually recognise that something is different instead of having it pointed out or ignoring it,” said Relate sex therapist Peter Saddington.

“The second thing is to start talking about it with your partner because it’s quite likely your partner will have noticed and it might be causing tension within the relationship.

2. Make time for date nights

Saddington is a key believer in the power of date night.

“Consider having a date night and allowing yourself time so there’s a build-up rather than becoming sexual very quickly,” he advised.

“If you’re allowing yourself to relax and feel good about yourself [...] you might notice you’ve got some resurgence of interest and arousal.”

3. Build up an emotional connection

Date nights are also important for building up an emotional connection, he explained.

“Men can get aroused by looking and thinking about things, it’s far more visual, whereas women are much more about emotional connection,” said Saddington.

“If you’ve spent time together and you’ve spent time talking, you’re more likely to want to have sex.”

It’s also important to resolve any issues, “as underlying resentment will stop you feeling desire”.

4. Get yourselves in the mood

Looking the part can help you to feel the part, says Sangeeta Pillai, founder of Soul Sutras – a platform empowering South Asian women to explore sex and more. You could wear something that makes you feel amazing.

“It’s a lot easier to feel sexy when you’re wearing a silk dressing gown, some other sensuous fabric or even sexy underwear under your leggings,” she said. “So I’d suggest, make small ‘sexy’ additions to your wardrobe, something that feels easy to do. And I promise you, it will instantly shift how you feel.”

5. Build up your sex life slowly

Sex educator Ruby Rare said: “Start when you’re chilling or eating together, and say something encouraging to begin with. For example: ’I love it when you do...” Then introduce what you’d like to do differently, during sex,” she said. “For example: ’You know, I’ve always wanted to try...” Be kind, be supportive and encouraging. Rather than pointing out your lover’s shortcomings.”

Once you’ve broached the topic, set time aside to reconnect.

“It gives you both something to look forward to and allows you time to mentally prepare to step back into a sexy area,” said Rare. “And don’t feel like you need to go from little/no sex to ALL the sex in one go – take your time, allow yourself to ease back into things in a way that feels gradual.”

The authors of the study, who said that this is the first study which shows the ongoing impact of the pandemic on women’s reproductive health, encourage talking to a GP if problems persist.

Study author Dr Michelle Maher said: “Our findings highlight a real need to provide appropriate medical care and mental health support to women affected by menstrual disturbance, given the unprecedented psychological burden associated with the pandemic.

“We would encourage women experiencing any reproductive disturbances – such as irregular, missed periods, painful or heavy periods, PMS or reduced sex drive – as well as mental health disturbances, including symptoms of low mood, anxiety, stress and poor sleep, to see their GP for advice.”

And remember – don’t panic if you’re not ready to jump into bed with your partner, sometimes a sexual break can be good for your relationship.