Female Libido Explored-What to Do When She “Just Doesn’t Want To.”

Woman in robe flipped

By Caroline Muir

There isn’t a female libido pill as yet on the market. Ever wondered why?

Female arousal is a complex affair, perhaps more complex than an actual ‘affair’! It is so complex that I can only refer you to the best information I have ever read to explain the intricacies involved in female arousal: Vagina, a book by Naomi Wolf. I am privileged to have had my classes with women written about in twelve pages of this masterpiece of research.

A couple that I am counseling touched my heart deeply as I felt into their pain resulting from the fact that she doesn’t want to “have” to have sex any longer with her husband, at least for now. Their sexual loving is not painful or aggressive. She loves him and he loves her. She just doesn’t want to! Josh sits before me in shock and grief as this is his primary way to feel union with his beloved Heather… or as he describes it he is “a thirsty man desiring water… hungry for intimacy with his wife.”

Upset older couple roundHe remembers the last time they made love. He admits they were just going through the motions… that it wasn’t a thoughtful joining as they had been learning from me; the principles of Tantra and the yoga of intimacy. She really does not know why this is her truth and how she feels at this time. 

The sadness I feel and see in them is reminiscent of a lost and lonely place. As a woman, I do not find her wrong or broken or in any way ‘a mess.’ She is a wise and compassionate therapist, successful in her world. She “just doesn’t want to”! Sex for Heather is no longer fulfilling.

Yet she grieves his sorrow. She gives him freedom to explore… to continue living ‘as a man’ with others. That of course leads to talks about separate living and the myriad of painful situations that include grown children, friendships and family, pets and the daily playing of music that they share. He grimaces at this gift of freedom… he only wants his wife. I know this parting of physical/sensual/sexual ways is common to long relationships and marriages. I reach into my fifty years of living in relationships for words of wisdom.

Older Couple playing chess crop roundI suggest dropping deeper into friendship with one another, something they both feel is uppermost in their marriage and relationship. I suggest “Let It Be” as John Lennon sang to us as we were all reaching for the light of understanding.

I suggest a “sabbatical” from their sexual marriage, while deepening their intimacy and friendship with one another and their families. I invited Heather to do a Ritual of Completion with me or with her women’s group, in an invitation to “lay to rest” her duty as a wife. It’s very possible that in dropping the inherited duty of a wife, she might very well find her sensual joy in the freedom to say no!

Josh now has the opportunity to choose Heather for the warm and wonderful companion whom he has grown to treasure over twenty years. There is a heavy “should” in how a marriage is supposed to look in the sexual arena, and women often struggle with these libido changes as they age. It appears that we need to claim our autonomy from the marriage identity, often without wanting to lose the marriage, while hoping to find a new level of desire based on loving friendship and freedom rather than the duties of marriage.

Couple with baggage clear

Marital Baggage can be quite heavy. In the pure union of lover and beloved, this conflict isn’t meant to be heavy. In an ideal world we would want to make love as a celebration of our love. Yet libido for both men and women alters from the natural flow of desire that we knew when we were younger. The best antidote for a lazy libido is to simply… play!

Easier said than done? “Seriousness is an adult disease” and Sex is serious business. How about this instead: Play with one another…  play with yourself… play with your children… learn from the kids and pets about ‘play’ and bring that Quality of Play to your lover. Let go of goals, orgasms and performance. They are the biggest blocks to play!

I would love to hear from you! Please comment and add both your serious and your playful thoughts.

10 thoughts on “Female Libido Explored-What to Do When She “Just Doesn’t Want To.””

  1. Play is a significant “helper” as is laughter and shifting up the activities and maybe even the friends we hang out with, sometimes. New perspectives.
    This is an enlightening article below, Caroline. Complicated matters!


    I’ve found over the years (62 and counting!) that with my tantric training I can “just say yes” sometimes and know that I will totally get into it within a few minutes. That mind/body/spirit thing works. Recent studies show that, under fMRIs, women say they are not turned on by various images but, in fact, the researchers show that their brains are all lit up. So women aren’t always connecting with the arousal their bodies are actually feeling. Interesting and nothing that any “female Viagra” is going to fix, though the pharmaceutical world keeps looking for that magic bullet. xoxo

    • I am so happy to feel and read your response Suzie!
      It’s true what you say. Usually within minutes it DOES seem like a good idea and my body will tell me that…
      It IS a complicated matter! Even with all my Tantra training, I also experience it myself… I “just don’t want to”. But the other side of my brain tells me all of the benefits of pleasure and so… I succumb!
      Oh Great Mystery………

  2. If a woman opts out, there are numerous reasons that the couple may want to examine in case they may want to create a refresher. Sexual activation with self or between partners is an important element of health and aliveness and intimacy. A time out is a great thing to create the space without pressure to explore issues and solutions as needed. Options for both partner’s support and fulfillment during such a time is a necessary element of this experience. Some of these reasons are 1) menopausal symptoms that make sex painful. 2) Lack of quality connection and intimacy during sex 3) Unresolved issues that interfere with the ability to feel safe and open 4) Polarity issues: sometimes sexual tension and respect is lost if partners find themselves in reverse roles 5) Trust of self and partner to manage relationship more supportively and more.

    The loss of sexual desire can be a great motivator for couples to create needed changes and up level the relationship, if they care to use it in that way. How much are each of you willing to do what is necessary to reclaim it? Anything is possible, if you choose to step up your game and believe in each other.

  3. Thanks Shama! We all need support around this issue. I agree, there are many variables. I want to guide my clients into as many possibilities as I can provide (and then use them myself!) and see what works best, what is missing and what I can do to move into any action that warms my heart.

  4. My feeling is that the yoni needs healing massage.
    Removing past hurt from the yoni will result in a HUGE resurgence of desire…I am experiencing this in my life. I feel turned on and juicy many times during the day without any sexual thoughts or touching…..its as if the yoni is expressing her blissful happiness!!!!! I recall what you said in Wolf’s book Vagina: “she will never leave you.” Yes, yes and YES. and such massage and healing can also result in the ability to have orgasms through intercourse. absolutely. a woman commented here that women are “not connecting with the arousal they actually feel”…so much fear!!!!! due to past hurts at the hands of men, we start patterns of feeling fear and resistance when a man touches us; we grow up feeling that sex is for HIM and HIS desires, and that we must submit to/put up with it and keep our own needs silent. we feel that sex is an intrusion on us, even a violation. how Victorian!!! all this pain MUST be dissolved if we are to bloom- we are more sexual than men are, in reality! anyway, love you, Caroline!

  5. I am still young but have experienced lack of libido in the past. I am currently experiencing deep levels of intimacy, and this is due to invocking the Goddess Inanna, she is amazing at helping to surrender all blocks and creating a safe space for enjoying an incredible connection to the Divine through intimacy in whatever way that will manifest for those involved. Invocation is easy, just call her by name and ask her to take the lead.

  6. Hi Caroline, My marriage of 20 years is on a sexual “sabbatical” currently, and I was amazed to see that you had written about our very circumstances. Marriage is not like the Fairy Tales that we are raised to believe in. They must evolve, dissolve, or remain in status quo. The status quo for most couples is a place of compromise and comfort. But, this is often at the expense of one or both person’s true desires. My emotions swing wildly depending on my mood and situation. First, I am deeply hurt and sad. I feel rejected, precisely at a time in my life where I am vulnerable. I just turned 50. No big deal, right? Today’s “fifty” is not my parent’s generation “fifty “and I know that. Still, there are things to adapt to. Like balding! It sucks but get over it dude and “own it!” Tamara is blossoming. Fiercely BLOSSOMING. It is beautiful and painful to witness. I so want to be a part of her blossoming and yet it is a personal journey for her. Our kids are mostly grown and our job as parents is not as hands on as it once was, so there is room for this kind of expansion. We have been living separately for 3 months. Neither one of us knows where this will all lead… but it will not lead back to the past marriage. We have evolved in the past in beautiful ways with the “Divine Feminine” as a couple, and now it looks like we need to evolve as individuals and see if we can come together in a new way. I am filled with ALL of the emotions in the deck from NVC. (non violent communication) I think I am coming out of the ‘Shock” phase and into the “reality” phase. I am the ultimate Aquarian and know that I am capable of quantum leaps. I have a deep faith in MYSELF and I know that I will be great regardless of the outcome. I say this as a DECLARATION. I reach out my hand towards my destiny and I have initiated the process… I am alert to the hand that reaches out towards me.

  7. Our marriage is also on a sexual sabbatical, although it’s my husband’s choice more so than mine. In the beginning it was very frustrating. But in recent years I’ve taken on the approach what Caroline mentions and focus on the friendship and nurture what does work. I’m much happier when I’m spending time thinking about what we are working on together rather than what isn’t working.

  8. I love all of your replies to this very sensitive issue… and sabbatical seems to at least ‘help’ the situation greatly. One thing that is certain… everything changes! So hang in there, dear ones. Entering into my 70th year, both my partner and I feel new levels of sexual attraction at different times for different reasons… libido being the least of them! I can only celebrate Sexy at Seventy, knowing it will continue to surprise me!

  9. Sexy at Seventy-I share your feeling Caroline. In our 20th year of marriage, my husband and I have gotten closer and sweeter than ever before in the past year and a half. Truth is I used to rely on sex and orgasm to deal with the distance that used to be there, and that wasn’t bad. But we are in new waters now that we can’t fully define. The pressure to get somewhere with each other, resolve conflicts or make sure that we’ve “still got it” for each other doesn’t seem to be our current path. Change feels like a challenge. Thank you for this great subject and the conversation inspired by your topic.

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