Psychological issues have a huge impact on a woman’s libido. Maybe you don’t feel good about your body. Maybe you’re exhausted, because you’re too busy at work and having to take care of the house and kids when you get home. Maybe you have no energy left to give to your partner. All of this can contribute to anxiety, depression, stress, poor body image, low self-esteem, relationship issues, and life dissatisfaction.
Dr. Ruth says that the brain is the most erotic organ in the body. So, the libido is very much influenced by a woman’s thoughts inside her head and her emotional well being.
The truth is that the quality of your life is largely governed by your thinking. Most people think that certain conditions are necessary in order to be happy, and if those conditions aren’t met, they can’t be happy. In other words, “if I just were able to lose this weight, I would feel better about myself” or “If my spouse would just change his behavior, I would be happier in my relationship.”
You have a voice in your mind, that is constantly judging and evaluating everything about yourself. It says, “you need to look like this, act like this, have this, do this, BE this.” And if you’re not, there’s something wrong, and you’d better fix it! I call this voice THE INNER CRITIC, and it is constantly speaking to us from the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed. It is this voice that robs you of your joy, your aliveness, your self expression, your satisfaction, your contentment, your fulfillment. It judges and evaluates you, criticizes you, and tells you where you don’t measure up. Given all of this, it’s no wonder that your inner critic can be in the driver’s seat of your libido. Look at all that you have to overcome in order to feel like having sex!
Your inner critic has been running you for most of your life, and creates most of your sense of self. You had a 2nd grade version of it, a 10th grade version of it, a young adult version of it, and you struggle with it now. It is constantly and compulsively analyzing, labeling, and interpreting everything about you, your relationship, and your life. Your inner critic compares you to an ideal version of the way you should be, your partner should be, and your life should be. She is all about perfection. And nothing will measure up to her expectations.
A lot of the suffering women experience comes from expecting that all aspects of life should fit this ideal picture. And when life doesn’t, this is when women feel an overall sense of inadequacy and dissatisfaction, because their expectation is that it should.
And instead of dealing with it, women cover it up, keep their true feelings hidden, and suffer with silent shame, because although it appears like they have it all together, deep down they feel miserable. And this misery definitely impacts not only how they treat themselves, but how they treat the people that they are closest to, mostly affecting their relationships with their partners and children.
Women need to feel emotionally close and connected to their partner in order to have a satisfying sex life. When you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself first, it becomes harder to have a healthy relationship with anyone else. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s easy to project that outward onto your partner.
We all know how it goes when you try to change your partner! When men feel criticized, they pull away. The more he pulls away, the angrier we get, and then we become even more angry and try to fix or change them! This can cause a vicious cycle in your relationship with your spouse, as the more you try to fix and change him, the more he pulls away.
The repetitive lack of connection to your partner, unresolved conflicts and fights, and poor communication between partners can cause chronic unhappiness in the relationship. Sex is a man’s way of feeling emotionally connected to women. So, when he feels disconnected, he wants to have sex. But, we, as women don’t feel like having sex unless we feel emotionally connected. So, herein lies the vicious cycle. He wants to have sex to feel connected, and we don’t want to have sex unless we feel connected. When we are stuck in the vicious cycle, neither partner takes responsibility for the lack of connection, love and affection towards their partner. Each person justifies his or her actions, and before you know it, it’s like you are two 4 year olds saying, “I’m not going to show love unless HE does!” “Well, I’m not going to show love unless SHE does!”
So, this overall effect of the vicious cycle can wreak havoc on a woman’s libido. And, relationship and sexual issues have as much of an emotional impact on men as they do on women. When one partner isn’t happy with their sex life or the quality of the relationship, both partners are deeply impacted, and both partners suffer.
What can also wreak havoc on a woman’s libido is that we live in a culture that places value on youth and beauty. So many women struggle with feeling good about themselves and their bodies, because they are comparing themselves to an ideal version of how they think they should look. And there is also a false belief that permeates our culture that as women grow older, their sex life will decline, and they should accept this as part of their reality. The truth is, this is not the case. Although hormone imbalances play a role in how a woman feels about sex and her body, you do not have to experience a low sex drive simply because you are a particular age.
So, a key to a better sex life is connected to developing a better sense of self, and experiencing more joy and contentment in your relationship with yourself and your partner.
The road toward more satisfaction with your life is to begin to distinguish the difference between YOU and YOUR INNER CRITIC. As I stated earlier, your inner critic is the voice in your head that never shuts up, and keeps evaluating, judging and criticizing, in the interest of trying to perfect you. The irony is that the more that you keep trying to meet the unrealistic expectations of your inner critic, the more you will struggle. You will never have what you are really looking for: joy, contentment, satisfaction, true peace and happiness, because you will always be trying to achieve the unachievable.
The goal here is NOT to silence her! It would be nice, but unfortunately, she isn’t going anywhere!! The goal here is to regain your power by recognizing that much of what your inner critic says is based on an idealized standard. Your inner critic keeps raising the bar, no matter how hard you try to meet her expectations. Today’s perfection, tomorrow, becomes merely yesterday’s news. When you catch her putting you down and trying to perfect you, your partner, your kids, or some other area of your life, you can short circuit the power that your inner critic has over your emotional well being by recognizing her insatiable appetite for perfection. She can never be satisfied. You, however, can be, by recognizing your strengths, accepting your weaknesses, and having some self compassion. Understanding the difference between YOU and the unrealistic demands of the Inner critic, and learning to separate HER from YOU will alter your relationship with yourself.
Once you begin to practice distinguishing yourself from your inner critic, you may find yourself more peaceful, and more content with your life, exactly the way that it is and exactly the way that it is not. You may even find yourself falling in love with yourself. Imagine what impact that could have on your libido.