I have been through many different stages in my life: times where I have had no drive whatsoever, times where I have had what seems to be a regular level of drive and times where I have been climbing the wall like some kind of nymphomaniac. There are definitely hormonal and mental angles to it but good old sexual chemistry can spark it, even when both of those negatives are plaguing you. The one thing that I’ve always wondered though, what is it that fundamentally controls your sex drive? I know that it can be chemically cancelled out completely (because I’ve experienced it for myself) and that if you’re feeling particularly worthless within yourself then the idea of sex does absolutely nothing to you but these things are always capable of being turned around at a second’s notice.
The longest ‘dry spell’ I’ve encountered since I became sexually active was 6 years. The first few years were particularly difficult because my drive just didn’t know what was happening but it kinda did get to the stage that if you don’t use it, you lose it. After a while I had come to the point that I just assumed that it was dead forever and nothing would bring it back, because the idea just didn’t spark anything any more. Masturbation kinda became a stress reliever and sleep aid rather than something to keep a sex drive in check. I think it just confirmed that, for me, if there was no physical connection with someone then the want for that emotion just didn’t exist. It didn’t feel available to me, so what’s the point of longing for something that you can never have; just make the best with what you’ve got. I feel that I have to point out that this wasn’t self-enforced celibacy, or a lack of a partner, as I was in a long term relationship during the entire time that happened to be with someone who had no interest in a mutually beneficial sexual relationship. If my partner wasn’t sexually interested in me, there really was no point in encouraging the need for that to be encouraged within myself. I still, to this day, wonder why I bothered marrying that man!
A fantastic point of contrast occurred when I decided to finally get out of that relationship and stumbled upon someone who was sexually interested in me. It was a newly awakened drive that I never knew still remained within me. I figured he must have found an attraction there if he wanted to have sex with me so my feelings of worthlessness seemed to be insignificant. I didn’t care if he wanted a relationship, if it was just sex, if he had cravings for closeness or if any of it was specific to me because I was just enjoying having a libido again.
I often wonder whether the fact that the sexual side of me was neglected for so long was the reason that, when I got it back, it went through the roof. There was no memory of what my drive was like before the dry spell, but I have a feeling that it was always higher than most. Is libido connected to polyamory? Is everything just a mixture of baggage? Can you want to have a number of intimate relationships without the high libido to go with it? Obviously I’m not discussing polygamy. That’s a completely different can of worms! I’m purely referring to polyamory. I have always found my capability for love to be higher than average but I also know the capability is there to just need the one person to love and cherish. This is very probably my subconscious searching for something it thought it could never have.
For the last few years, my requirement for sex had been low based on pain medication suppressing the want/need for the dopamine or endorphins. This caused me to have quite a bit less interest in sex, generally, and the feelings of desire no longer existed within me. Even as the pain medication lessened and virtually stopped, the drive never really returned. Again it felt like it was gone for good as the desire no longer seemed to exist within me, even as my self confidence came back and my physical stature was in a greater condition than it was pre surgery. All of this is what has made me question where our sex drives come from, as recently it has returned in spurts (no pun intended).
A side of me has reared its head again and it’s a welcome return to my life. I enjoy every part of sex: the want, the need, the thoughts, the build up, the physical sensation, the emotional connection, the mental stimulation and the frenzied reactions when the desire is strongly mutual. Even when there is only the physical sensation and none of the other stimulation I still enjoy sex. It will never be as fulfilling than the times where everything is there, but physical sensation alone can be enjoyable. I am aware that the current return of libido is based on a specific person being in my life, as the coincidence is far too great, but I still question whether libido is chemistry (based on hormonal release) or the need to ‘join together’ with the other person. Is it the base instincts of wanting to populate the planet with a mixture of both genes? Are they fundamental cave man instincts? Is it general physical attraction and enjoying aspects of the person’s body that you want to experience? Is it a mix of everything or is it one specific thing that holds the trump card where your sex drive is concerned? Either way, I’m just happy to have the feelings around that make me crave physical intimacy as it always has been one of my favourite things! The saving grace over everything is that: no matter how long you’ve endured a lack of sexual desire, it’s never gone for good.