Oh libido, where art thou?


Libido is basically synonymous with “sex drive”, right? 

Hmm, I’m not so sure about that anymore. 

As we move into midlife, we can start to expand our sensual experience – if we allow ourselves to – and it can be wonderfully transformative. 

Everything is changing at this time of life, our physicality is changing, our bodies are changing, our needs are changing. But our ideas around libido often stay the same. We stay stuck in the idea that we will continue to “have sex” as we always did, or not at all. Those are the only two options. Any loss in desire to do exactly what we’ve always done, in spite of all the other changes going on, means we’ve lost our libido, right? 

You can probably guess by now that my answer to that is NO!

We are changing and evolving and we can choose to enjoy a fulfilling erotic life with an active libido far into old age. 

Or we can choose to let it go, which is just as valid and is the choice some women make.

So here’s a challenge: Get comfortable somewhere you won’t be disturbed for 15 minutes. Should be possible, right? Maybe hang a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door or take a warm bath. 

Or start practicing telling your loved ones you need some time alone to do something for yourself – because communicating that we need time for ourselves is one of the essential things we need to be able do in this life phase.

Now, ask yourself what makes you feel good in your own body. What gives you energy? Try going there with your hands and see how you feel. It might be through self-massage, or exploring how it feels to stroke and touch your own body with no expectations. See how your skin feels on all the different parts of your body – your arms, legs, belly, hands, feet. 

Or if that doesn’t feel doable, start by playing some of your favourite music and dancing alone while noticing what movements make you feel good in your body. Where in your body does it feel good? Explore that in any way that feels comfortable.

Take these 15 minutes to do what you may have never done before, i.e. say hi to your own body and give it a bit of appreciation.

“Thanks, body, good job over the past half-century!”.

And try to avoid the negative self-talk about what your body looks like. We all do that all the time, but this is about appreciation and gratitude and awakening the life energy inside you – because it is in there if you try to find it.

My “libido” as I had understood it up to then disappeared when I turned 50. Gone, nowhere to be found, my body felt numb to touch. My nerve endings were buried deep inside my skin, there wasn’t an erotic thought in the vicinity and I had no clue what to do about it.

I didn’t want that part of my life to be over. So I went exploring!

I slowly started opening up to the idea that libido is not just about sex, it’s more of an evolving life energy that needs to be tended and nurtured. It’s about opening up all of our senses and experiencing the world with our entire being. Walking in nature, dancing, participating in energetic workshops, exploring some aspects of tantra – any or all of the above can help us regain and reframe this life energy we think we have lost because we’re “just not feeling it anymore”.

Slowly I learned that sensuality is a playground we go to. And it requires nurturing. Once we’ve nurtured it in our own body, and started to awaken a new eroticism, we’re in a much better position to start having fun again with others. 

It worked for me, so maybe it’s worth giving it a go.

Happy exploring!

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