Beauty / Health

In the driver’s seat: sex drive and sexuality in everyday life

Hannah Holman @ IMG wears MARYIET bra and briefs from Par Femme.

Desire is multifaceted. There are movies and then there is real life. Psycho-sexologist Chantelle Otten explains just what desire is – in our everyday lives, how we can nurture it or kick start it back into gear.

What is ‘sex drive’? What increases it and what hampers it?

Desire is multifaceted. It can be influenced by social feelings and interactions or biological causes, but it can also be influenced by our psychological reasoning, and feelings play a huge part in how our desire is created. Desire is when you own the fact that you want something, and it’s never just in our heads.

You can imagine a person that you desire and can create a whole fantasy of how that interaction will be. You are in a story that you yourself energise. You can imagine the taste, the touch, the sensation, the warmth. You are in a sensory sexual experience that hasn’t even happened yet. You have a sensory reaction to something that isn’t even there yet.

Our erotic mind works wonderfully with the simple power of imagination, it is unique, and it is essential to when you want to preserve this desire. When you want to be an erotic person, or a sensual person, or a sexual person… you need to feel like you are deserving of engaging with that part of yourself. That is the personal experience of sexuality. How do you motivate yourself to engage in your sexual self? How do you own the fact that you want to have that side of you engaged?

When you lose imagination, when you lose the wanting of your sexual self, you can understand that you lose the desire and an important connection with yourself.  

Sex drive is like driving a car.

If you can’t start the ignition, it’s hard to go anywhere. You need to know what is affecting you at that time from a biological, social or psychological function. Sex is not spontaneous and natural, in-fact you need to have a bit of oil and fuel to get the journey going.

If you want to move forward, you need to put your foot on the accelerator. This is a deliberate move because you want to reach your destination. How do you get yourself in the mood? If you communicate your needs, is it a better sexual experience. If you feel good, you can be more present. These are all accelerators. I suggest you write a list of what works for you.

Braking will slow things down. What could slow down or stop your sex drive? Too much stress, work hours, illness, mental health, partnership problems, self-esteem. These and many others could put a brake on your sex life. I suggest you also write down some suggestions for brakes.

Losing focus will make you lose your way. Kind of like texting while you are driving, you can only do one thing at a time. If your head is more interested in the washing and dishes in the sink, it’s hard to be present in a sexual interaction. Make sure your mind is on the journey at hand and you are in control of your vehicle.

How do you rekindle lost chemistry?

In the first 18 months to two years of a relationship, you have the ‘honeymoon period’. During the early stage of a relationship, many couples barely come up for air due to the excitement of falling in love, this is called ‘limerance’, and lasts 18 months to two years. Unfortunately, this blissful state doesn’t last forever. Scientists have discovered that oxytocin (a bonding hormone) released during the initial stage of infatuation causes couples to feel euphoric and turned on by physical touch. It actually works like a drug, giving us immediate rewards that bind us to our lover. Holding hands, hugs, and tender touch are great ways to affirm your love for your partner. Physical affection sets the stage for sexual touch that is focused on pleasure. Although these ‘honeymoon hormones’ can dissipate as a relationship develops, acts such as kissing, hugging and touching your partner can still elicit the release of dopamine and oxytocin.

To rekindle your lost chemistry, you need to make a definite effort. And remember that sexuality is about the journey, not the destination of penetration and orgasm. I suggest stripping back sexuality to simply lying in bed and fooling around or stroking each others bodies (and I’m not talking about going straight to the erogenous zones). Set a goal of doubling the length of time you kiss, hug, and use sensual touch if you want to improve your relationship and get those love hormones flowing.

It’s a good idea to plan these nights, in this busy world, we need to set time for sports, and sexuality is one of them. Let go of expectations. There is no pressure to be perfect, to perform or to orgasm. You and your lover, your bodies, and your time together are to be enjoyed. Period.
 Sex is about the journey, not the destination

Another idea is to let go of the need to control. Breathe into relaxation. Sex is messy, it is imperfect, it doesn’t have to go in any direction … because you can always do it again tomorrow. Trust in yourself, your lover and the process. Be clear, I dare you to ask your lover to do something just for you in the bedroom. Enjoy the thrill of the unanticipated and unexpected ride.