Stop Waiting for Your Sexual Desire to Return

Kelley Gray M.A. LPC self

Most of us know why we’ve lost our desire. No time, too tired, too busy, we’re already “over-touched,” there’s always a kid in the bed, after-kid-bedtime is about the only quiet time in the day to regroup – the list goes on. No mystery here as to WHY it’s gone, let’s explore how we can possibly get it back again …

Here’s the deal. For a long time we have understood human sexuality to follow this progression: 1.) Desire 2.) Intercourse 3.) Orgasm 4.) Resolution. The problem with this view is that it has lead us to believe the woman must experience desire in order to say yes to or initiate sex. As many of us know, one can wait … and wait … and wait for quite a long time. Which, obviously, leads to less and less sex … which in time, creates a dry sexless tundra. Women worry over this reality, they reach out to girlfriends to discuss all the reasons why they don’t want to have sex – which does nothing to reignite the fire within.

I’d like to demystify sexual desire a little bit here. If we think it’s some elusive and magical visitation we’re awaiting and wondering why we aren’t good enough or lucky enough to receive it; we sink into despair, shame and feelings of wifely failure. I like to look at it (at this busy stage of life) like working out, eating healthy, studying the bible or tackling a project. Just because you don’t feel like starting it doesn’t mean you won’t really enjoy it once you get going. In time, the activity becomes its own reward and you find yourself actually feeling like you want to work out, or actually craving veggies and even depending on your prayer and study time.

When it comes to sex, if we can make a conscious choice to just go for it … maybe even with a schedule or goal in mind at first – once per week, twice per week, every other week, whatever – watch and see what happens after a few weeks. You may actually discover that you feel DESIRE.

DISCLAIMER: This approach MAY NOT be healthy for women who are recovering from or have sexual trauma in their histories. This could feel terrible, obligatory, out of control or damaging. I’ll be writing a blog especially for you soon, this current nugget of encouragement may not be helpful for you. Everyone needs to listen to their bodies/guts, no matter your history. It is paramount that you feel grounded and present in your body and very safe with your husband. We’re just working on combatting “blah” feelings here, not unsafe feelings.

Back to that clinical prediction of how sex progresses: {desire, intercourse, climax, resolution.} Many, many women report feeling desire, interest and excitement about half-way through the sexual encounter. Do you see the problem here with the expectation that desire is the precursor? What we’ve learned is we just have to “get over the hump” first – please pardon the expression – I wracked my brain for another one. If a little more attention can be paid to foreplay and a little romance, this gives the woman’s body and brain more time to release the day and be in the present moment. Then if an orgasm happens, after the romantic encounter is over most women would say, “Ok, that was a good use of time!” Author and marriage expert Michele Weiner-Davis tells a story of a man in her office who said, “I wish my wife would write, ‘I like sex’ on her hand so she remembers it for next time.”

I don’t know exactly why we forget that sex can be a great use of time. Our husbands don’t seem to forget. You aren’t alone, we all get in ruts sometimes, I hope you feel a tiny bit more inspired to burst out of your current one and that you get a good return for your efforts.


Kelley Gray has been a private practice psychotherapist in the Denver area for 14 years. She is passionate about promoting growth, healing and making messes with her daughters.