Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a magic pill that could help boost sexual desire for those who struggle with its ebb and flow? I have written before about how never (or rarely) being in the mood for sex is one of the most common sexual problems that women of all ages can face at any point in their lives. Well, this may be hard to swallow, but there is no quick fix available for waning libido, even though pharmaceutical companies are hoping to eventually uncover a potential gold mine. Scientists all over the world are trying to discover that magic pill, so far without much success.

In my last column, I praised a new book, The Porn Trap, by Wendy and Larry Maltz, that can help some people get excessive porn use under control. This time, I will cover an equally valuable new book, The Return of Desire: A Guide to Reclaiming Your Sexual Passion, by Gina Ogden, Ph.D., whose previous books are The Heart and Soul of Sex and Women Who Love Sex.

Ogden writes: “…instead of viewing desire as a commodity, something that we’re in danger of losing or missing out on, I’d like us to agree up front that sexual desire is energy—a sustainable resource that’s available to all of us if we want it, even those of us who may not have it right now. Not just to lead us into steamier encounters, but to reconnect us with ourselves and our partners, and to discover new sources of pleasure and joy.”

The reader is encouraged to examine her own sexual responses from a broad perspective, one that includes not only physical aspects (such as how much she lubricates, whether she can reach orgasm, or enjoys genital touching and intercourse); but emotional (e.g. feeling passion, compassion, love, caring, empathy, safety, power, pleasure, intimacy, etc.); mental (e.g. decision making, memories, messages from childhood such as “Good girls don’t”); and spiritual ones as well.

You may wonder what spirituality has to do with sex. In the late 1990s, nearly 4,000 women ages 18 to 86 answered Ogden’s survey titled “Integrating Sexuality and Spirituality” (ISIS). Based on this survey, Ogden discovered that for many women (and men as well) sex sometimes includes a spiritual component that leads to sexual experiences that “radiate far beyond the bedroom to energize their whole lives.”

Don’t get me wrong. The book is in no way religious, and as far as Ogden is concerned, you are free to believe in any God (including the God of orgasms, I suppose), or none at all. She simply points out that sexual desire is complex, and that once a woman who struggles with low libido acknowledges the various aspects of it, she will be able to tap into a much larger part of herself when trying to rediscover her lost sexual passion than if she only focused on her physical responses.

Each person is different, of course. Ogden has the reader explore her own path to sexual desire, depending on what her life- and relationship-circumstances are. Each of us has the potential to gain clearer insight and greater understanding in what factors affect the libido. And sorry, there is just no quick fix for that. It takes time and effort to uncover. This book is a good resource to help you do just that.

Ogden also covers life events such as the time after giving birth, having your relationship threatened by an affair, wondering about your sexual orientation, and the after-effects of sexual abuse and trauma. All those events can cause people to lose their desire for sex, and mentally dealing with them is necessary in order to rediscover passion.

By Annette Owens

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