Lack of desire is the sexual problem most frequently reported by women. It manifests as a disinterest in or avoidance of sex, and in many cases is reflected as a discrepancy in the couple’s desired frequency of sexual contact. Lack of sexual desire is a problem that presents both partners in a relationship with a confusing dilemma. Couples often question the level of commitment and caring for one another when one or both lack sexual interest. A cycle often develops resulting in their undergoing increasing levels of stress in daily interactions that negatively impact problem-solving skills and communication patterns.

Physiological and/or medical problems may contribute to a decrease in sexual functioning. Medical evaluations often focus on assessing hormone levels, thyroid function, use of medications such as anti-hypertensive medications, vaginal infections, or any other illnesses or conditions that may affect sexuality. In addition, the use of alcohol, drugs and the excessive use of chemicals can drastically decrease sexual interest and may be confused with sexual dysfunction. The lack of sexual desire is a frustrating problem for many couples regardless of the cause.

Once all physiological components have been ruled out, you should focus on communication, sexual expectations, stress levels, and the amount of time set aside for emotional and sexual contact.

If you decide to go in for couples’ counseling, treatment is usually structured over a several week period. It begins with individualized touching exercises that the couple does at home. They learn to be together physically and emotionally without the pressure and demand to feel or be sexual. Verbal and nonverbal communication is enhanced as attitudes, behaviors, and relationship dynamics are explored and modified. Each person learns that they are in control of their sexuality and can choose if and when to turn on or turn off their feelings.