Just because the birds and the bees do it doesn’t mean it’s easy! Sometimes, our natural desire to have sex can begin to feel a little less natural, and that’s okay.
There are a number of potential triggers for this decrease in libido, and many of them can be resolved with some independent work or, when necessary, medical intervention. With that being said, here are a few common reasons you can’t seem to find pleasure during intercourse.
You can’t finish
If I was enrolled in college indefinitely with no prospect of graduating, chances are I’d eventually stop showing up to class. In the same way, having sex without being able to orgasm can feel like working without compensation. It’s no surprise then, that the desire to have sex decreases with difficulty finishing increases.
Although the “big O” does not entirely define the quality of a sexual experience, never being able to cross the finish line can be very disheartening indeed.
Low oxytocin, medication, or orgasmic dysfunction are among some of the common factors that cause difficulty reaching climax. If, after trying to solve this problem by exploring your sexual desires independently (see below) you still find yourself in an “O no” situation, consult a medical professional.
You’re dealing with body image issues
If we are uncomfortable in our own skin, especially if our partners are not particularly vocal about their attraction to us, sex can often feel like more of an emotional chore than anything else.
When insecurity or body image issues prevent you from enjoying intercourse, there are a number of potentially helpful solutions you can try. First and foremost, practice becoming aware of the self-critical voice in your head during sex. Every time you hear a negative thought, replace it with a body positive thought, and a reminder that you are entitled to sexual pleasure.
You aren’t sure what you like
We cannot expect to enjoy sex if we do not know what good sex feels like to us. That’s kind of like telling IHOP to surprise us with one of their hundreds of pancake options (54 of which we just happen to be allergic to) and expecting to not get a rash. My point is, you have to know what you “aren’t allergic to” in order to enjoy your meal.
Spend time alone identifying what it is that feels good and turns you on, and then bring a partner into the mix. This way, if they’re doing something you don’t quite like, you can redirect them in an efficient and effective way.
You have sexual shame
Many of us, whether for religious or contraceptive reasons, were taught from a young age that sex was “wrong” and/or that we should abstain from it entirely. Despite the benevolent intentions of our schools and religious communities, the consistent drilling of this “no sex” mindset can often trigger feelings of sexual shame and guilt in adulthood.
Across the country, therapists are seeing an astounding number of patients who have feelings of residual fear and guilt associated with sex. If you feel afflicted with similar sentiments, just know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, and that you should feel encouraged to talk to a specialist about your concerns.
If you think any of these issues are affecting you, or you are experiencing painful sex but don’t know why, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist.