The obvious purpose for (heterosexual) intercourse is to make babies.
But only 5% of the sex we're having is with the intention of procreation.
The other 95% of the time, sex is for something else.
Enjoying the physical pleasure and/or enjoying the personal connection.
You know what else is about pleasure and connection?
Sex is play.
If you're struggling to enjoy or want sex, it's very likely that you also struggle with the idea of play.
Play is for kids. Work is for grown ups.
As Brené Brown says, "The opposite of play isn't work. The opposite of play is depression."
If you want to want sex again (or for the first time), my treatment plan for you is this:
1) First, PLAY by yourself.
I'm not talking about masturbation, at least not as the first step.
Play in non-sexual ways.
Explore what is fun and pleasurable just because. Discover what fascinates you and lights you up. Spend meaningful time having fun, creating, being curious and imaginative.
And pay attention to all the discomfort, shame, and fear that may come with playing. Often their is guilt, self-doubt, and inner criticism that makes it hard to enjoy yourself. Keep playing anyway, until you get to a place where the joy of play is more powerful than the fear and discomfort.
Once you are able to enjoy playing in non-sexual ways, play sexually alone. Get turned on. Feel hot and excited. Touch yourself or don't, whatever is most fun.
Enjoy physical pleasure, alone.
2) Next, PLAY with your partner.
Again, don't start with sexual play, that's too complicated for an entry point.
Spend time with your partner having fun, exploring, creating, taking risks, just like kids playing together on a playground. Maybe go to a playground with your partner. Play tag. Have a water fight.
Enjoy the physical pleasure of play AND the joy of connection with someone else.
Then move on to more sexualized play, which doesn't have to be intercourse. Have fun grabbing her a$$ on the way to the bathroom. Have fun nuzzling and running your fingers through his hair. Make 'sex' about enjoying each other physically in all realms, not just orgasm-directed intercourse.
And play doesn't have to be 'nice.' Watch kids - the most exciting play is often at least a little bit naughty or rough. It can be fun to be 'bad,' so allow for some of that in your play and see how it feels.
Once you've learned to enjoy playing together non-sexually and sexually, try playing with more direct sexual activity. Start with touch, with the sole goal of enjoyment.
Notice the blocks that show up as you move toward enjoying the sexual play with your partner. Notice the running body shaming inner dialogue. Notice the intrusive anxieties about the dishes to be washed and the lunches to be made.
And focus back on enjoying the physical pleasure and the emotional connection.
Redefining your sexuality and sex life as one dimension of your play-life, will revolutionize how you think and change your relationship for the better.
Whenever you feel stuck, come back to play.
With love and optimism,