Sexual desire differs among genders in some biological ways. People with penises have specific challenges that can be quite different from those that people with vulvas face. So, if your penis doesn’t always behave the way you hope it would, below are some tips to help you get on the same page as your genitals.
Expectations of How Sexual Desire Should Work Are High
We live in a culture that believes erections should be immediate and rock-solid. But for many people with penises, that’s not how it works. Even if your body and brain are otherwise turned on, your penis may not reflect your mood due to something called genital non-concordance, meaning that your penis doesn’t always do what you want it to. People of any gender can experience this phenomenon.
Further, there is a lot of confusion about what erectile dysfunction is. If you’ve had a few nights where you couldn’t get hard like you wanted to, chances are that wasn’t erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction impedes your sex life and causes you distress for at least six months—including having trouble getting hard when you masturbate. If you don’t meet those criteria, there’s a good chance ED isn’t your problem. And it’s always a good idea to schedule a checkup with your doctor to rule out any medical issues like hormone problems or side effects from medications causing your libido problems.
Desire Is a Spectrum
Low desire also isn’t the same thing as asexuality. Asexuality is a part of who you are that makes you not interested in pursuing sex in general. If you have low desire, you probably feel a good deal of distress and want to get in touch with your arousal again.
Desire also falls on a spectrum. You may not have the highest sexual desire in the world, but your desire may still easily fall into the range of what’s considered “normal.” Your desire may be normal, but it may not match your partner’s desire. If this is the case, it’s vital to discuss it together and reach a compromise that works for both of you.
When the Past Creeps Up
At times, people’s pasts will creep into bed with them and cause problems. Perhaps you or your partner experienced sexual abuse. Situations like that can come to the front of your mind at the most inopportune times. It’s essential to work through those feelings with a counselor so that you can feel free from them.
You may have grown up where sexuality was treated like a dirty, taboo topic. Or maybe you grew up in a very religious household where sex was considered a sin except in very specific instances. These thoughts can impair your ability to reach sexual fulfillment unless you replace them with ideas that align with your current values.
The health of your relationship plays a role in your arousal levels. If you and your partner are fighting all the time, drifting apart, or are otherwise not on the same page sexually, your libido levels can tank. Sexual boredom is also unfortunately common, but luckily, it’s solvable. Paying close attention to your relationship can help boost your desire. The more intentional effort you put toward your relationship, the more sexual dividends you will enjoy.
Psychological Factors That Impact Desire for People with Penises
What’s going on inside your brain has a direct impact on what’s happening in the bedroom. If you’re struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, or other disorders that don’t allow you to focus, that will translate directly to sexual and desire problems. Taking the temperature of your mood on a daily basis, whether by journaling or using an app, can help you become acquainted with the patterns of your moods and how they affect your sex drive.
Want More Help Getting Your Libido Back?
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to take the sex quiz for women.