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We’ve been answering your questions for Sexual Health Awareness Month. If you missed some, catch up here.

Q: Is it normal to have no interest in sex? Is it different for everyone? I’m just never interested in having sex and I don’t really enjoy it when I do have it. How can I increase my libido or make it more pleasurable? 

The short answer? It’s 100 percent normal not to be interested in sexual activity.

There are an infinite number of reasons why someone may not be interested in sexual activity, whether this has always been the case or is a new development.

For example:

  • misinformation or lack of information about healthy sexuality
  • negative experiences or beliefs about sex
  • dissatisfaction or difficulty within partnered relationships
  • underlying or untreated health conditions, such as depression
  • change in medication or medication side effects
  • periods of stress or hormonal fluctuations

If you think it could be related to your sexual orientation

Sexuality is a spectrum, and your needs and desires can change over time.

It’s entirely possible to have experienced sexual attraction in the past and find that you no longer do, or to have always experienced little or no sexual attraction. It’s also entirely possible to only experience sexual attraction in certain circumstances.

If you think it could be related to a specific situation or underlying condition

Sexual health is multidimensional. If you aren’t feeling well physically or emotionally, it can affect your ability to tune in to your sexual needs.

For example, if you’re dealing with unexpected or challenging stressors — like living through a global pandemic — your sexual health may take a nosedive as you adapt to these circumstances.

If you think it could be related to discomfort during past experiences

If previous sexual experiences haven’t been enjoyable, it makes sense that you may be uninterested in sexual activity moving forward.

It’s worth exploring what could be getting in the way of you experiencing pleasure. For example:

  • Are you experiencing unwanted sexual pain?
  • Are you experiencing sexual difficulties, like obtaining and maintaining an erection, or vaginal dryness?
  • Are you having trouble in your relationship or feeling resentment toward your partner?
  • Are you overworked or find that you have less time for yourself?
  • Are you parenting young children or acting as an adult caregiver?
  • Are you managing a medical condition?
  • Are you experiencing financial hardship?
  • Are you worried about the current state of affairs?

All of these factors can negatively affect your sexual health.

If you want to find a way to make sexual activity more pleasurable

The best way to increase your libido or make sexual activity more enjoyable is to pause and be intentional about what you want to change.

I recommend grabbing your phone or notebook and writing down your sexual health vision, or what you want your sex life to look like.

This will give you a clearer view of your innermost desires and, in turn, help you better communicate your sexual needs — to yourself and others.

Allow yourself to let go of any sexpectations. Instead focus on communicating what you find pleasurable.

If you don’t know what you find sexually pleasurable, I recommend practicing solo sensate focus. This can help you increase bodily awareness and identify what types of touch are pleasurable.

You can also practice sensate focus with a sexual partner. This will help you learn about each other’s erogenous zones instead of worrying about how to best perform for one another.

My last recommendation is to engage in regular masturbation and fantasy training. The more time you spend exploring your sexual fantasies and pleasuring yourself, the more likely you are to want to be sexual.

Got a question about sex? Send us your questions and we’ll have our expert answer them in the newsletter. What’s your question?

Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota, one of only a few programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Dr. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including O: The Oprah Magazine, HuffPost, Playboy, Women’s Health, Thrive Global, and Midweek Publications. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.