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The Libido-Boosting Mind-Set That Will Make You Love Sex Again

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How many times have we heard that once women hit menopause, their libidos are bound to take a nosedive? Well, that’s a bunch of bull—because it doesn’t have to happen.

Yes, yes, estrogen levels go down and sometimes this creates a hormonal imbalance that can interfere with desire. Yet, once that potential problem has been addressed or ruled out, the fix for a low lust level may lie not in our hormones, but in our heads.

How so? Clinical psychologist and sex therapist Marianne Brandon, PhD, coauthor of Reclaiming Desire, explained, “If you expect to lose your libido as you age, your chances of having that happen increase substantially. But you can reclaim your libido with the most sensual organ you have—your brain.” What to do…

Focus on creating and receiving pleasure through your five senses, rather than just your sex organs. Appreciating the sensuality in sounds, sights, smells, tastes and textures helps you reconnect with your own sensuality and enjoy it in new ways, Dr. Brandon said. Try these: Listen to new types of music to discover styles that you find stimulating… run your fingers over a bit of fur or welcome the warmth of sunlight on your skin… hold a piece of glass to the light and watch it sparkle… really savor the sweetness of a piece of fruit or chocolate… inhale the aromas of various flowers or spices to see if any particular scent gives you an erotic tingle.

Learn to love the body you have today. Feeling self-conscious about sags, wrinkles or other signs of aging can interfere with sexual desire. To move past that, repeatedly remind yourself that your body serves you well and deserves to be honored. And remember that men tend not to notice these so-called flaws the way women do, Dr. Brandon pointed out. In fact, men generally think that their own bodies and ours look even better than they actually may.

Reconnect at the heart before you try to connect at the pelvis. Research shows that women tend to base their perceptions of what arouses them on their emotional reactions rather than on their physiological responses. Most women find that intimacy is key to desire, so it is difficult to get excited about a partner with whom you do not feel a strong emotional bond. “You and your partner may have been flying on autopilot for many years. If you reestablish emotional connection and tenderness outside the bedroom, that intimate sharing will spill over into your sex life,” Dr. Brandon said. “Fortunately, as men age, they often become more amenable to giving and receiving emotional attention.”

Think of sex as a journey, not a destination. Stop defining penetration and orgasm as what sex must be. Dr. Brandon explained, “I encourage women to see sex as a path to pleasure and enjoyment, not a search for some ultimate goal. If you focus on the moment-by-moment experience rather than a race to the end, sex can become anything and everything you want it to be.”

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Source: Marianne Brandon, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, is cofounder of the Sexual Wellness Center and founder of Wellminds Wellbodies, a center for holistic and integrative psychological care, both in Annapolis, Maryland. She is coauthor of Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido and Monogamy: The Untold Story. Wellminds.com
Date: February 24, 2011 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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