This is one of the questions most frequently asked by people identifying as women. There seems to be this idea that we should always be ready for sex at any given moment. This idea that one passionate kiss should render us helpless to waves of sexual desire. I don’t know about you, but it takes a bit more effort than that to get me going.

For a long time, the majority of doctors and scientists were cis men and it was deemed inappropriate to study the bodies of cis women, so they didn’t. Anything discovered about the anatomy of a cis man was thought to be true about cis women as well. This included libido.

Because, generally speaking, cis men are quick to arousal, they assumed that women should work in the same way. This led to a lot of shaming around lack of libido. It extends into our media as well. You’ve probably seen movies where a cis couple is making out and then suddenly he’s penetrating her…yeah…not realistic. Most people with vulvas need a little more attention than that. 

The idea that we should be hot & ready all the time is quite damaging. Many women dissociate from sex because they feel like there’s something wrong with them. Others go along with sex that they aren’t interested in because they want it to be over with. This is absolutely heartbreaking. Just because you have lower sexual desire doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. There’s plenty of reasons for a lack of sexual interest and none of them are because you’re broken.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having lower sexual interest. Sometimes that’s just how you’re wired and it’s completely normal and natural. It only becomes an issue if you wish you had higher sexual interest. So, if you’re looking to put your sex drive into high gear, here’s some ways you can get the metaphorical juices flowing.

Turn On Your Brain

Before you even take your clothes off; you have to be mentally aroused.

According to Masters & Johnson there are 4 stages of arousal: Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm, and Resolution. The excitement phase has just as much to do with your brain as it does your body. 

If you’re looking to increase your interest in sex, this is the most important factor. You can keep your brain primed for sex by increasing the sexiness in your day to day life. Send sexy texts, read erotica, put on clothes or underwear that make you feel sexy, take sensual selfies and send them to your crush. Your brain will start to see the world as a sexier place and will be more ready for sexual activity. 

Stop Stressing

Stress is an instant libido killer. When you have a lot on the go, sex is the last thing on your mind. You won’t be able to focus, your mind will wander and you just won’t be into it. There are times in your life where sex just won’t be interesting to you because of all the external pressure you’ve been feeling. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Stress is a part of life and it’s ok for sex to take a backburner when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, the ironic thing is that sex is a great way to relase pent up, stressful energy. If you’re looking to let go of some of the weight on your shoulders, sex can be a great outlet. Getting there is another story.

Try some non-sexual stress outlets. Take a movement class (dance, spin, yoga). Anything that gets the blood flowing and gets you out of your head. Meditate, journal, vent to a friend or family member or talk to your therapist (if that option is available to you). 

My favourite way to destress is through masturbation. It allows me to control the sexual situation, let go of stress and comes with the magic of orgasms. It’s a win-win.

Find A Partner You Trust

Sometimes our disinterest in sex comes from not feeling 100% comfortable with our partner. Maybe it’s a new relationship, maybe it’s a one night stand or maybe you just haven’t been connecting as deeply with your long term partner.

The best way to create trust with a partner is by telling them what you want in bed and letting them know your boundaries. Knowing your sexual likes and dislikes is what makes you feel powerful & in control. It also allows you to let go more readily because you can take comfort knowing that nothing will happen during sex that hasn’t been previously discussed. It’s never a good idea to surprise someone with a new sex act without talking to them first.

Talk to your partner about what you both enjoy in the bedroom. Establish the lines that you won’t cross and talk about what you might be curious about trying one day. Your sexual interests can change from partner to partner or day to day, so it’s important to keep checking in with your partner both in and outside the bedroom.

Many people have lower sexual interest, but because society shames us so much for our sexuality that sometimes it can be difficult to know if we just aren’t interested or if we’re holding back because of fear and shame. Both are totally normal, but if you are interested in boosting your libido, give some of these tips a try and find what works for you. You should never feel pressured to be more or less sexual than you want to be, so embrace your sex drive no matter where it sits and explore the parts you’re interested in exploring. Simple as that.

Jennifer Doan is a sex educator, coach and the host of the podcast Taking Back Slut. Jennifer is committed to helping people connect to their sexual power in a way that feels safe and comfortable to them. Connect with her on Instagram @jenn_doan for sex rants and unapologetic nudes.