Professionally, I am a Registered Nurse, Certified Sexuality Counselor, and Sexuality Educator. In 38 years of serving humanity in a variety of healthcare roles, I could fill bank vaults with the stories folks have shared with me about their own life’s journey. Some of those stories have been deathbed confessions that have never been shared with another living soul, some folks tell stories of lost love, some tell stories of realized dreams, and too many speak to the regret of missed opportunities. I realize what a privilege it is for folks to feel safe enough with me to bare it all and I cherish every trusted moment. What I can say for sure, we all have a life story that deserves to be heard.

Once people know what kind of work I do, they will inevitably ask, “What is the most common reason people come to you?” Of course, the reasons for seeking the assistance of a sexual health professional are as individual as the person in front of me and as common as the world around me.

My mojo is MIA.

I would say one of the most common concern that brings folks to my office is related to sexual desire. There are several phrases used in a discussion about our sexual mojo: libido, urges, drive, lustfulness, horniness, appetite, zest, hunger, etc. What are the words you use? What do those words mean to you? It is important for me to be curious about what sexual desire means to the individual and the couple. I think of my sex drive as an internal motivation for sexual connection and gratification – horniness, lust, urge. Sexual desire is more complex and integrates internal motivations along with many external factors such as work life balance, unmanaged stress, relationship connection, quality of sleep, self-care, etc.

Couples often picture sexual desire as a ON/OFF switch, when the truth is, sexual desire can be all over the place!

Emily Nagoski, PhD, is a sex researcher and author who wrote, “Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life”. She speaks to desire in the terms of an accelerator and brake. Influencers that put more pressure on the accelerator will motivate you toward sexual connection. Influencers that put more pressure on the brake will motivate you away from a sexual connection.

Positive Influencers are positive interactions with your mate that push your accelerator toward a sexual connection. These might look like:

Negative Influencers are the negative interactions with your mate that push your brake and hold youback from a sexual connection. These might look like:

You can do your own investigation into the positive and negative influencers shared between you and your mate. Start by making your own list and asking your mate to do the same. Schedule time to reflect on each other’s list, as well as provide feedback to the following questions.

Sexual desire is impacted by a multitude of physical and emotional factors. There is rarely just one brake being applied to the person with low or no sexual desire. Below are the topics to be assessed in a clinical environment when trying to understand issues around sexual desire for both men and women.

All people and couples will have fluctuations in their level of desire as they move through life. This does not mean anything is wrong or the relationship is failing. I am reminded of my own journey as a sexual woman and know that I have felt the negative impact of each of the listed influencers to some degree, from time to time. My partner and I continue to seek comfort in the conversation and stay in-tune with the brake’s life may be applying.

If the lack of sexual desire is a source of concern for you or a place of conflict in your relationship, consider talking with a sexual health professional for support and encouragement to change habits that no longer serve you. I would love to walk beside you on the journey!