Not in the Mood for Sex?

Not in the Mood for Sex?

sexual desire, arousal, sexy brain , not in the mood for sexWhen was the last time you said, “I’m not in the mood”?

What do we mean when we say that?

  • You have no actual desire.
  • Your partner isn’t very good at pleasuring you so you avoid sex.
  • Your relationship is tense and sex is the last thing you want to think about.
  • Too much stress or physical causes are occupying your mind–keeping you from thinking about intimacy.


If you’re not in the mood you have a couple of options. Because remember, you get to have sex the way you want it, when you want it, and with the person you choose.

First you have to decide if you want to have sex or not. Period. You have to be responsible for your own body and your own wants and needs. When we’re hungry we make a decision about food–what we want, what might taste good and then we take steps to get what we want. Sex is a little like that. Of course you could go without sex for the rest of your life–you wouldn’t die. But you would be a less happy person. Giving it up might impact your marriage or long-term relationship and it might create vaginal health issues in the future.

I get it. I had plenty of “not in the mood” days during my marriage. Now? If sex is on the agenda, or hinted at, and I’m not feeling it–I will take some time to think about sex with that partner. My feelings towards that person, what turns me on, how he gives me pleasure and those thoughts start to get me ‘in the mood’. I take some time to prepare myself mentally and maybe physically. I feed my desire instead of leaving it all up to chance.  If I’m really uncertain I tell my partner with a conditional statement that I might be persuaded. The moment I shut down all possibility I’ve done myself a disservice. Moods change. Desire can be stoked.

Emily Nagoski talks about desire in this recent New York Times article, Nothing is Wrong with Your Sex Drive.

 “Desire was conceptualized as emerging more or less “spontaneously.” And some people do feel they experience desire that way. Desire first, then arousal.

But it turns out many people often experience desire as responsive, emerging in response to, rather than in anticipation of, erotic stimulation. Arousal first, then desire.


We live in an intercourse-driven world of sex. Procreation assured that men’s penises would be inserted into women’s vaginas. Pleasure, if it occurred for women, was secondary to the act of procreation. Secondary to the idea that men’s desire for intercourse took precedence over all else. It may be that when we say, ‘I’m not in the mood’, it’s because we’re not having the kind of sex that satisfies, that is focused on our arousal as well as our partner’s.

Numbers vary, but most educators and researchers know that anywhere from 50-80% of women don’t have an orgasm from intercourse alone. If we want to have sex that creates desire in us… the kind of sex that leaves us feeling satisfied, the kind of sex that encourages us to create the right mood, then we need to pay more attention to the clitoris—our pleasure zone.

We still live in that world. When men say, “I have difficulty with erections so I can’t have sex anymore, they are in an “intercourse frame of mind.” Fabulous sex can be had without penetration. Men can ejaculate and women can orgasm in several other ways. Even with an unpredictable erection. And, I bet that over 70% of women (conjecture) will have a more dependable orgasm when their male partner (female couples already understand this) learns about her anatomy and considers her clitoris vital to her, and his, sexual pleasure.

Let’s expand our definition of pleasure. We can start by:

  • Exploring our bodies
  • Focusing on our clitoris
  • Talking more to our partners before taking off our clothes, as we’re having sex, and then offering mutual feedback when we’re done
  • Consider your own desire as vital–don’t give up your right to pleasure in any relationship
  • Work on cultivating a sense of yourself as a sensuous, sex individual.
  • Add non-penetrative sex acts to your expression of sex: manual stimulation, use sex toys, oral sex, masturbation, cuddling


If you take responsibility for your own desire and begin to express what you want there will be a transformation. You will experience more pleasure when you can express and step into your desire. Your sexual relationships will become more satisfying for you and your partner. Couples who intentionally focus on their intimacy understand the power of giving and receiving.

Check out Michael Castleman’s The Most Important Sexual Statistic and It’s All About the Clitoris, Part 1 on Madame Noire.

The next time you’re ‘not in the mood’ are you willing to commit to your sexual desire and arousal?

  • Carol Cassara (@ccassara)
    Posted at 10:42h, 03 March Reply

    Ram Dass’ book Still Here points out that the waning of desire with age may be the Universe’s way of saying that our focus on sex can be somewhat shifted to other matters at this latter stage of life. His relaxed view gives people permission to decide that, and I kind of liked his attitude. He talks candidly of such matters in that book. Now, 83 and paralyzed on one side from a stroke, sex is different for him. I love reading the variety of thoughts on this subject.

    • Walker
      Posted at 18:52h, 03 March Reply

      Interesting. I was unaware of that book-I think the key is to remind people that they have choices–not dictated by what society tells them is ‘supposed to be’.

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