It happens to all of us. Sometimes you really are "just not in the mood" but what about when it becomes your way of life? We can make excuses and blame it on kids, work or exhaustion but the cold hard truth is that it's a sign of an identity crisis.
Those of us with children know that any hint of sex drive often dies with your first week of postpartum insomnia. For many, however, this lack of sex drive continues far beyond the newborn spit-ups and shitty diapers. Whether we went into pregnancy secure in our identity or career or got pregnant without ever having truly found ourselves - it's almost impossible to become a mother without losing some part of yourself in the process.
The 2nd chakra (Svadhistana) is the seat of creativity, identity and sexuality. Forming between the ages of 8 and 15, this swirling vortex of energy located in the sacral plexus teaches us the first steps of differentiation (boy from girl, mom from dad, vagina from penis). We also discover our likes, dislikes and what fuels our passion. In this period of rapid personal growth, many of us aspire to greatness and lofty goals because we haven't yet had our big dreams crushed or told that we weren't enough.
I think back to my little sister - now a project manager at a well-known start-up accelerator. When we were young, she desperately wanted to become a cleaning lady. No one wanted to crush her dreams and tell her that being a cleaning lady was not going to sustain her affluent Connecticut lifestyle. So, we let her sweep, mop and build work ethic for a few bucks until she decided it was cooler to become a lawyer or a doctor. Lucky for her, there's significant correlation between a cleaning lady and project manager so she's thankfully ended up in a career that supports her passion and purpose for organization. Unfortunately, this is extremely uncommon. The sad truth is statistics show that a women's self-esteem peaks at age 9.
A 2006 study found that women felt the most self-esteem before the people around them began to attack their identity or tell them who to be or where to assign value. While teaching a packed outdoor Buti Yoga class on Valentine's Day, I asked the women around me to remember what they wanted to be when they were 9. I asked them to remember what they placed high value on and what fueled their passion as a child. I asked them to focus on that 9 year old throughout the class. By the end, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Women remembered what it felt like to love and accept their bodies, feel electric excitement when preparing for a dance recital and love boys and girls without fear of being judged. I asked my students to seek clarity on their passion and purpose in an effort to begin the work clearing away messages, meanings and goals that we were socialized to believe. To move forward with clear passion and purpose, we have to assess what beliefs are truly ours and what beliefs may belong to parents, grandparents, husbands or co-workers.
I am one of the lucky few (although it is statistically much more common in millennial women) to have aligned my adult career identity with my lofty 9 year old goals. Wondering what I wanted to be? I wanted to be Debbie Gibson. If you weren't a late 80's music fanatic like I clearly was at age 8, you can watch this amazingly cheesy music video that I used to be obsessed with -> https://youtu.be/IivGqwQvdCI. While I clearly didn't turn out to be an 80's singer with a feathered, permed bob - I did become a media personality that spends time on camera both performing and educating. When I was young, no matter who came over for dinner, I created a dance or play to perform for them because it fed my soul. I couldn't go through a day without creating. To this day, when I find myself having to work on organization and preparation tasks in my business, I notice my entire creative energy shut down and with that goes my sex drive.
When I look back at the periods of my life with the lowest sex drives on record, the primary correlation is how much time I spent daily feeding my passion. Like I mentioned previously, childbirth was absolutely one of the lowest - in fact an almost 2 year "dry spell" followed my first pregnancy with Sarai. In the moment, I believed I was broken or that I had simply fallen out of love with my partner. It's clear to me now, after years of experience in working with clients in my personal development practice, that I wasn't broken - my creativity and identity were simply not being nourished.
This made me go even further back. Think about it. When you get clarity on your passion and purpose, you can see that the intimate relationships that became sexless or always were sexless didn't allow you to feed your passion. Perhaps you had to hide your passion from your partner, you were embarrassed or even MORE common - you lost touch with what it was in the first place due to parental pressure, lack of feedback as a child or taking on the limiting beliefs of your parents. Like most young adults in our millennium, you dated people and became them. You were adaptable. You convinced yourself that is what becoming an adult was all about - that you were "finding yourself." For most, however, those years of trying to find yourself actually took you further away from your true identity.
You might be reading this realizing you are currently in a relationship with someone who either wouldn't support your passion or may be intimidated by your passion. (You may also be intimidated by your passion leading to a collapse of sexual drive) Those of you that are having this epiphany right now are also starting to see the correlation between your sex drive and the expression of your passion. When a partner doesn't appreciate or nurture your passion, it feels subconsciously like rejection. The CRAZY part is - even if we lost touch with that passion, drive and identity a long time ago we still register the same rejection and emotional response.
We feel rejected (even if part of it is our own lack of clarity around our identity) and cut off the signals from the pleasure centers of the brain to our 2nd chakra (genitalia). So how do we fix it? There is hope and it's easier than you think. Even if you're in a sexless relationship or one that is lacking in the spark department - the answer lies within. YOU have to do the work to tap into your true identity and passion.
This can have two clear outcomes:
1) you find ways to express your identity and passion bringing a new spark to your sex life and your partner lovingly supports (and even applauds) your new YOU
2) you do the work to discover your truth and passion and your partner rejects the new, fully expressed you
Even if you are left to manage the outcome of #2, it's still not a losing situation. It is common for people to enter into relationships in their early 20's to later find that they are "just not compatible" or have "irreconcilable differences." This is frequently caused by the pivotal moment one or both of the partners remembers who they truly are and feel empowered to express it. If you're in a relationship and the partner rejects the new you, you have an opportunity to live an EVEN more fulfilling life in the future filled with abundant creativity, fully expressed sexuality and a rock solid identity that will only attract the right partners in the future.
Whether you are facing a phase of personal development to find your true identity outside of your roles in life (mother, wife, sister) or you simply need to work up the courage to express that identity to your partner and to the world - one thing is certain - on the other side of identity crisis is your identity resolution. Your sex drive is an amazing indicator for your level of expressed identity. Check in with it and remember that is often an indicator of what's going on with YOU not your partner.