Lack of Desire

I hear a lot of whispered truths from women about their sex lives. I hear that they don’t like kissing, that they haven’t had sex in months (or longer), that they would be perfectly fine never to have sex again. But the statement I hear more than any other is: I don’t feel like having sex.

What they mean when they say this is that they’re experiencing a lack of desire and they’re bumping up the expectation that they should feel hot and bothered by their partner more often, sometimes, or even vaguely. They’ve been flooded by the dysfunctional messages about sexuality that permeate the culture and have formed the belief that if desire isn’t instantly and frequently coursing through their body there’s something wrong. Like all forms of anxiety, the “something wrong” usually takes the form of “there’s something wrong with me, my partner, or our chemistry.”

There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with your partner. And if you’re in a healthy, loving relationship, there’s nothing wrong with your chemistry. But there is something very, very wrong with the messages that we’ve all absorbed, and these are what need to be uprooted and replaced.

There’s something wrong with the message that says that you should feel desire just from looking at your partner.

There’s something wrong with the message that says that just because you love each other you should know how to make love and turn each other on.

There’s something wrong with the message that says your partner should know how to turn you on and that, in fact, it’s his or her job to ignite your desire.

There’s something wrong with the message that says that sexuality is only about intercourse and orgasms. As I wrote about last week, it’s so much more than that!

There’s something wrong with a culture that fails to share the message that fear and sex are intimately intertwined, which means that if you’re struggling with any form of anxiety your sex drive is going to plummet. Sex anxiety, like relationship anxiety, doesn’t make headlines.

There’s something wrong with the message that says desire should be effortless and steady.

Here’s the cognitive truth about desire: Most women begin their sexual experiences at sexually neutral. This means that before they begin the make love they physiologically don’t experience a pulse or tingle of desire. They may feel flat and bland. They may then start to attach onto negative labels and call themselves “frigid” or “cold”, which of course only causes more shut down. It can be liberating for women to learn that most women don’t feel the typical sensations of sexuality until a layer of fear has been assuaged and until they can tap into their partners’ sexuality. As Sue Johnson quotes from psychiatrist Rosemary Basson in Love Sense, “Women often begin sexual experiences feeling sexually neutral and move into desire and arousal as a result of sexual cues from their partners. Their sexuality is often responsive rather than agentic. It is a reaction to their partner’s sexual interest.” (p. 133)

And here’s the emotional truth about desire: We do a lot of things that we don’t “feel” like doing. We don’t usually feel like exercising yet we know it’s good for us and we’re almost always glad that we heaved ourselves off the couch and took that class or went for that run. We don’t always “feel” like flossing our teeth or eating greens but we do these things because we know they’re good for us and, like exercise, they do end up making us feel good. Human being are funny creatures; why wouldn’t we feel like doing things that are good for us? Well, we have this quality called fundamental laziness, which is an offshoot of another part of human experience called resistance, which is a sister to one of the core strands that composes our human nature: fear. If it’s laziness, resistance, and fear that prevent us from doing the things that we know fill our well of Self and contribute to a basic state of health and well-being then we must name and untangle these three elements if we’re to access and actualize a way of living that leads to wellness.

The same is true for sex: as women, and especially if you’re the low-drive partner, we don’t always “feel” like engaging sexually but once we do it’s usually positive, life-enhancing, and leads to more closeness with our partner*. Yet, unlike exercise, flossing, and eating greens, our sexuality is fraught with so many painful and shame-laced stories that to say “just have sex even if you don’t feel like” doesn’t usually sit well with many women. So this is where approaching the territory of sexuality with tremendous gentleness, compassion, and care becomes essential.

Beyond these truths, it’s essential to understand that we’ve all been wired to equate desire with longing, arousal with chase, sexuality in all forms with drama. We’ve become misguidedly conditioned to want to be wanted, and when we’re comfortable in a relationship – when the chase is over and we trust that our partner is here to stay – we realize with a hard thud that we have no idea how to connect to a sexuality that’s not based on longing or seeking approval. We’ve been conditioned to use sexuality to “catch” a partner, so what happens to our sexuality when the partner has been “caught”?

What happens is that we must learn to replace our conditioning with something healthy, which means re-wiring to learn to be turned on by trust, respect, safety, and connection. To do so we must be willing to dive deep into our histories and tell our stories while simultaneously immersing ourselves in healthy, loving images and messages of love and sexuality. You won’t find this in mainstream culture. You won’t find it on Netflix, in magazines, on billboards or in the movie theaters. This is why I created Sacred Sexuality: A 40-day course for women to heal body shame and ignite desire; as an antidote to the messaging we’ve received our entire lives and as a roadmap for learning how to activate and awaken healthy desire. As always with my work, we will unearth from the bottom up and approach ourselves with the utmost compassion and tenderness so that you can learn to embrace the sensuality and sexuality that are your birthright. I look forward to seeing you there.

* Note: This article only applies to those in healthy, loving, and safe relationships. If you’re with a partner who is abusive in any way, this information doesn’t apply to you and I urge you to seek professional help immediately. Also, the Sacred Sexuality course isn’t only for the low-drive partner. The information, tools, and support I teach in the course apply to all women no matter what level of drive you have. 

54 comments to Lack of Desire

  • Natz

    This is has been one of my intrusive thoughts this week – that my lack of desire means something is fundamentally wrong with my relationship. Thank you sharing this. I absolutely cant wait to begin Sacred Sexuality!

  • Eliza

    Thank you so much Sheryl. This is such an important and rately disucssed topic. I’m in a loving, supportive relationship. We have a baby we love dearly…and a we rarely have sex. I have much more to a sex drive than my partner. He very seldom shows interest in sex. Our relationship is highly functional and we are great partners, we laugh a lot, but there’s very little sexual chemistry. If I’m being honest, it’s always been that way. Whenever we do hace sex we say how great it was and how important it is, but then months go by again without connecting sexually. I often feel that we have some power imbalances in our relationship and wonder if that could be contributing. If anything I have a higher sex drive than my partner. Do you have any advice for a relationship like ours? I’m the woman in the relationship and find myself wanting to be Desired and noticed. Instead it’s like we are roommates and always have been. Many thanks for the amazing work you do.

    • Sometimes there are underlying dynamics in the relationship that can interfere with a more regular or natural sexual flow which would need to be explored together, and sometimes we have to diligently explore the blockages in ourselves as individuals, which your partner would have to be willing to do.

  • Mr_B

    Great article as always.

    Does this also apply to men? Or does our biology make us a different creature? I enjoyed that part about ‘capturing’ and having to learn how to connect to a sexuality that’s not based on longing or seeking approval. Its almost like that learning will serve me better moving forward 🙂 .. I admit as a male I fell like sex drive ebbs and flows and believe it or not we have nights were ‘we just hold hands’ and its so beautiful 🙂

    Mr B

    • Much of this absolutely applies to men, especially the messages from the culture and the conditioning to use sex to gain validation and feel worthy. And drive ebbs and flows for all of us!

    • Chrisdy

      Hi Mr. B

      I’m a woman, and I am the same as you. I felt the need to catch or be caught with my sexuality. After the chase was over, I was thinking “what now?” What can I use my sexuality for? I kind of got lost in that I was so used to attracting men based on my image or sexuality because it was exciting, fun and arousing. But one thing that I realized when, I started working on myself, is basically what Sheryl has taught me. She has mentioned something that stayed with me in one of her previous articles (and I will never forget it). She said “be turned on by kindness” and appreciation. And our first year of marriage it was really hard for me to focus on the positive qualities in my husband. I was only looking at what I didn’t have and what didn’t turn me on. After taking some of Sheryl’s courses, I learned how to dive deep into myself to help cure my anxiety, and boy did it work. I started to personally practice on focusing on the things I really do appreciate about my husband, and the things that used to turn me on in the past when he was chasing me and how I can relate those memories to now, with the current appreciation and kindness I am receiving from him. The other HUGE key is to not have expectations of your other partner for anything (be independant). So when your partner does nice “unexpected ” things for you you then feel “extra” appreciation for her and that gives you the desire to reciprocate, and back and forth. So you guys are now practicing deep appreciation for one another, which brings you guys even closer, which naturally can build up sexual closeness and love. Sometimes we might not be in the mood for sex, but holding hands and cuddling and watching a movie together gives us that same satisfaction, but we do make sure we have enough sex where we both will enjoy it and it’s not forced. It might not be as often as our culture says we “should” do it, but when we do it, it’s explosive! In between those times we share our love in different ways, like having fun or being romantic. And this is okay! The MOST important thing is communication and finding out a good compromise between you and your partner to know how much is “good enough” realistically (not asking it everyday, etc) and it will take some adjustments on both ends. I communicated to my husband that I used to enjoy it when he went to the gym . I’m not asking him to be a bodybuilder. But a little bit of toning turned me on. Because he loves and respects me, he does this for me and his own health. The appreciation i develop from this because I didn’t “expect” him to make the time to do it with his busy schedule. Then I am naturally motivated to reciprocate it by doing something that turns him on that I can do. This is what it takes in a nutshell, and when you guys have that explosive sex it’s worth it!

      • Mr_B

        Hi Chrisdy

        I completely resonate with your reply. I think we have hit that stage too where we will just really enjoy each others company and then when we do have sex its like so much more rewarding and explosive as we have the deep connection with each other more. Also i agree the focus should always be to see how wonderful our partner is and what is lacking.

        Thanks so much for sharing your ‘nutshell’ approach 🙂

        Mr B

  • Jasmine

    Thank you for this Sheryl. I’ve noticed a pattern in myself over the past few years and wondered if you could offer an insight? I’m an educator and have noticed that once school/ work starts, I almost completely lose my feelings of energy and desire for my partner. I feel guilty about this but I often just want to be left alone. I wonder if this is related to the stress/ anxiety that accumulates at work or something else? Thank you for your compassionate guidance, as always.

    • Brooke

      Though i am on the opposite spectrum of the classroom. When school starts back up (i am in nursing school) my anxiety goes from controllable to off the chain. The first week is filled with physical symptoms of anxiety which then results in retreating and absolutely no desire for my partner. I know it is my anxiety and stress related to school. I even notice that my intrusive thoughts are the strongest and most frequent when I am in school.

      Hope this at least makes you feel as though you aren’t alone!!

  • Chrisdy

    Hi Mr. B

    I’m a woman, and I am the same as you. I felt the need to catch or be caught with my sexuality. After the chase was over, I was thinking “what now?” What can I use my sexuality for? I kind of got lost in that I was so used to attracting men based on my image or sexuality because it was exciting, fun and arousing. But one thing that I realized when, I started working on myself, is basically what Sheryl has taught me. She has mentioned something that stayed with me in one of her previous articles (and I will never forget it). She said “be turned on by kindness” and appreciation. And our first year of marriage it was really hard for me to focus on the positive qualities in my husband. I was only looking at what I didn’t have and what didn’t turn me on. After taking some of Sheryl’s courses, I learned how to dive deep into myself to help cure my anxiety, and boy did it work. I started to personally practice on focusing on the things I really do appreciate about my husband, and the things that used to turn me on in the past when he was chasing me and how I can relate those memories to now, with the current appreciation and kindness I am receiving from him. The other HUGE key is to not have expectations of your other partner for anything (be independant). So when your partner does nice “unexpected ” things for you you then feel “extra” appreciation for her and that gives you the desire to reciprocate, and back and forth. So you guys are now practicing deep appreciation for one another, which brings you guys even closer, which naturally can build up sexual closeness and love. Sometimes we might not be in the mood for sex, but holding hands and cuddling and watching a movie together gives us that same satisfaction, but we do make sure we have enough sex where we both will enjoy it and it’s not forced. It might not be as often as our culture says we “should” do it, but when we do it, it’s explosive! In between those times we share our love in different ways, like having fun or being romantic. And this is okay! The MOST important thing is communication and finding out a good compromise between you and your partner to know how much is “good enough” realistically (not asking it everyday, etc) and it will take some adjustments on both ends. I communicated to my husband that I used to enjoy it when he went to the gym . I’m not asking him to be a bodybuilder. But a little bit of toning turned me on. Because he loves and respects me, he does this for me and his own health. The appreciation i develop from this because I didn’t “expect” him to make the time to do it with his busy schedule. Then I am naturally motivated to reciprocate it by doing something that turns him on that I can do. This is what it takes in a nutshell, and when you guys have that explosive sex it’s worth it!

  • Zoe

    Hi Sheryl, thanks so much for this post. Your Sacred Sexuality course was such a pivotal point in my life which really started me on a journey towards healing in my body. It is all about listening to your body and for me, it’s about trusting that communication can still be present between you and your partner even when sex is absent. I think that as women we tend to really beat ourselves up for NOT having sex. And that pressure is so disempowering…. Whereas a positive, assertive decision to not have sex but to pour your love into yourself and your partner in other ways can be really freeing. I am about to start Somatic Experiencing therapy which I am SO excited about! And I’ve no doubt in my mind that your course really and truly helped pave the way towards this decision to take loving action for myself. I wanted to wish you all the best with the coming second round. Thank you once again Sheryl for your part in my own journey and for offering this gift to us all. Much love, Zoe xxx

    • Thank you, Zoe. Your participation on the course was an inspiration to many, and I have no doubt that your first post set the trajectory that gave others permission to open up and be vulnerable. I’m delighted to hear that you’re continuing on your path of healing through the body. xo

  • Sarah

    Hi Sheryl, this is totally unrelated but I don’t know how else to reach you as when I email both you and your assistant, my emails bounce right back saying they can’t be delivered. Not sure why that is, but I have experienced it in the past.. Anywho, could you ask your assistant to contact me about resetting my password for the BF course? I don’t have an email with that information and when I try to reset it no email comes through. Beautiful post as always. Blessings to you xo

  • Ellis

    Hi Sheryl, thank you so much for this, I needed it today. My anxiety has returned tenfold after disappearing for 6 months and this is one of my intrusive thoughts currently. Thank you thank you.

  • Maha

    I needed this article .. thank you for sharing

  • Kathy

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve had to untangle a lot of these feelings lately as I am struggling with feeling aroused by my partner sexually. This is completely different from how I felt about my ex, whom I was almost insatiably sexually attracted to. The main difference for me, and what keeps me in the fight, is that where I was always fantasizing about my ex when we were dating, we never really practiced other forms of physical intimacy (cuddling, holding hands) or even really emotional intimacy, whereas with my current partner we do this all the time. I’m realizing now that the level of comfortability that I needed to have to do something as simple as cuddle or as difficult as confide in my partner about deeply personal things took me a while to get to (and I’m still working at it). So maybe it wasn’t ever the level of “connection” or “chemistry” that made me so crazy about my ex, it was that chase factor and desire to be wanted that I think a lot of people experience during the early phases of a relationship. If I’m honest with myself I really never felt that sexual around anyone since my ex so I think there’s something a little more complicated going on with my own sexuality besides “I’m not attracted to my partner because he’s wrong for me”.

    I remember reading one of your posts when my partner and I first started dating that said once the chase is over and the settling-down begins that, with a little work, something much deeper will start to emerge (or something to that effect) and you were right. I gave myself, and continue to give myself, grace and the time to learn how to love (and let him learn how to love me) even when it’s difficult and I think something much deeper and stronger is starting to build with us. It’s not easy and we both falter (a lot) but slowly and quietly I am starting to see the work pay off. Thank you for continuing to keep us grounded on this journey, it’s much needed and much appreciated!

    • Thank you for sharing, Kathy. It sounds like you’re making important connections and are also aware that there’s an invitation to do deeper work around your own sexuality. The course would be great for you!

  • Bianca

    You are wonderful! Your messages are so healing. Thank you so much for sharing the things you do.

  • Victoria

    Hi Sheryl, I am interested to see if and how this course could be helpful to me and my situation. I read the link that describes the course but am still unsure. Do you have anything that provides more information about what you will go through in the course and what the intended outcome is for those going through it? Thank you!

    • I suggest you read through the testimonials on the course page below to get a sense of outcomes, and feel free to ask any specific questions here.

      https://conscious-transitions.com/sacred-sexuality-a-40-day-program-for-women-to-heal-body-shame-and-ignite-desire/

      • Victoria

        Thank you. I was a virgin when I was married and have been married for a year now and have yet to have had an enjoyable sexual experience. It has literally been physically uncomfortable for me, which has been very disappointing and disheartening for both me and my husband leading to less and less resolve and interest to even “try” in the first place. I have checked with a doctor and nothing is wrong physically so I imagine it is tied to psychological factors and my bent towards anxiety in general. I deeply desire a healthy and enjoyable sex life but feel so discouraged and hopeless.

        • The course was literally made for you, Victoria. I hope you’ll join us.

        • Brooke

          I’m addition to Sheryl’s amazing work, look at Unveiled Wife. She has a blog and a book that shares her story of her struggle with intimacy and pleasurable sex and her breakthrough.

  • anon

    Hi Sheryl,

    I’m really enjoying this article and I felt so much YES…until I got to the part about eating your greens, even if you don’t feel like it. I’m trying to recover from eating disorder behaviour and I fear that encouraging people to eat things they ‘should’ because it’s ‘good for them’ is eating disorder mentality. I do not mean this to sound accusatory one bit! I love this site and respect you so much so I want to straighten things out for myself when something jars with me. I hope you understand. Eating disorders aren’t just about trying to lose weight and food morality is a huge issue. I think those who have grown up with a normal relationship to food can approach nutrition in quite a relaxed manner. My partner, for example, eats from a variety of food groups and just naturally has a good enough diet. But, crucially, he doesn’t adopt a little and often mentality when it comes to ‘treats’, he just eats intuitively, so his palette is naturally broad. In this era of healthism, the focus on supposed well-being is so analytical that food-restriction becomes dangerous, and I mean for the mind of any sized person. I think it is possible to make choices that feel good for the body, as in physically feel good and not ‘chocolate cake makes me feel fat and ugly’, once the diet-mentality is chipped away at. I think, for those who have felt the effects of diet-culture, it’s important to prise that mentality away from food and movement choices in order to make ‘health’ choices that encompass the mind, too. I’m still making peace with food and therefore allowing myself unlimited access to All foods so that I can eventually get through a day without feeling like I’m on the edge of a binge. I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this. X

    • You’re making a valid point, anon, and I appreciate the perspective. Just to be clear, in no way am I asking people to override their natural self-trust. Rather, I added “eat your greens” in a somewhat tongue-and-cheek way in a list of things we know are good for us, like flossing our teeth. First and foremost we must listen to our own sense of intuitive guidance around how we treat our bodies and our souls.

  • Sarah

    Hi Sheryl, did you ask your assistant? I haven’t received any email. I am beginning to think there is a problem between my server and yours? I get all other emails fine. Otherwise I can send you another email address? Thanks x

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    I need to work on my sexuality this course would help me just like the other courses have helped me imensley. I cant afford it right now, but who knows if you run it again , then I hope to purchase the course next time. I still do suffer from lack of desire and its not my husbands fault. Its plain and simply ME… I do believe its also my age, I am now 47. My low libido is a contribution. I feel like I cant find my desire, its lost. It feels like someone cast a spell on me on my sexual drive. It really feels like i padlocked my sex drive and i need to unlock it with a magic key, which is my thoughts. I cant even think of way to do it. Before i met my husband i use to masturbate often. Now i dont please myself at all. I feel something is wrong with me. My husband enjoyed pleasing myself infront of him. I only did it to make him happy. I forced myself it didnt come naturally. It does bother me Sheryl but also I have accepted it to be my life now.

    • There’s a lot we can do about our libido even as our hormones are shifting. I recommend you read Christiane Northrup’s The Wisdom of Menopause and also Sara Gottfried’s book The Hormone Cure. Again doesn’t have to mean no sex drive! I’ll look forward to seeing you on a future course.

  • Alyssa

    I have a question about the topic of “having sex anyway despite maybe not having the desire to.” I’ve been having a bit of anxiety around this and the uprising of women and the “me too” movement. While I think it’s amazing that these women are standing up to sexual assault and telling their stories, and that the newly wide knowledge being spread is helping many to heal, it is confusing my way of thinking.

    I used to love when my boyfriend would come up behind me and grab my behind unexpectedly, playfully; now I question if him doing that somehow dismantles my worth as a woman or something. Or if him doing that is wrong? It’s hard to explain. I don’t want to have these judgments toward him, it doesn’t seem fair to either of us. Nor is it how I really feel, only how I think I “should” feel. Is anyone else feeling this way?

    • It’s a good question, Alyssa, and certainly the” me too” movement, while so essential and powerful, has stirred up a lot of feelings and confusion for people in healthy relationships. What you’re describing does NOT sound like a violation in any way, but I’m guessing it could be stirring up other violations from your past. It’s so important that we don’t project our past experiences with men onto our present partners, while also recognizing that when a projection arises it’s an invitation to do some deeper work around our own sexuality and and past experiences.

  • jacqueline

    Hi Sheryl,

    I want to first apologize that my comments here are no to do with this post, though I have been following your blog (and have read your book) for years! In fact, your work on transitions has been instrumental in helping me move through marriage anxiety, my wedding, and new motherhood with grace and confidence. I just recently listened to a podcast discussion you had with my friend, Julie Cusmariu. While I devoured the information that you shared during that discussion, I also realized, for the first time, that our sons share the name, powerful name! My beautiful Everest was born on March 12, 2016. I cannot believe that I never knew or learned of your son’s name before now. How small the world is, and how amazing this overlap!

    Best,

    Jacqueline

  • evelyne

    Dear Sheryl

    How would you sa does your approach connect with Tantra? Especially Diana Richardson’s work like ‘Making Love’? My partner and I are going to visit a seminar in a few weeks and are very excited to see how this will open new ways of connecting. I feel a lot of pressure and little desire while he feels rejected. But we are openly and actively adressing it and I feel good about that. Thank you very muh for your work. Much love!

    • While there are some similarities between my approach and Tantra, there are many more differences. For one thing, my approach only requires one person, while Tantra requires both of you. Also, Tantra doesn’t address the deep-rooted and historic factors that often cause women to shut down their sexuality. Without addressing the root causes and only focusing on techniques the healing is more limited.

  • Faye

    I’ve been reading through a lot of your different blogs and some of them have helped my massively with the thoughts iv been having on and off over the last few years. I don’t know if I have ROCD but reading through comments a lot of other peoples stories sound similar to mine.. the only thing I wanted to ask was this.. I’ve been with my partner for over 2 years and the thoughts started roughly about 3 months in. We broke up near the beginning (my partner had just come out of a long term relationship and I think he was still all confused) we broke up for about a week. I felt heartbroken over this time. Spent practically everyday crying and constantly checking my phone to see if he had messaged me.. The day we got back together I felt calmer. I’ve had all sorts of thoughts from “do I love him” “am I in love with him” “do I want this anymore” “do I just love him as a friend” “is this what real love is like” etc, a couple of times I’ve had thoughts like “you don’t love him, you accepted the break up” so now a part of me is scared that I’ve gone all these 2 years not really loving him and that when we got back together I no longer loved him. Of course I don’t want this to be true. I’d like to think of myself as a honest person and surely I wouldn’t of stayed with him for this long if I didn’t love him. I don’t always feel love but I have my moments where I look at him and know I love him. We are just about to buy a house together and start our next chapter which I can’t wait for.. I’m just scared that the thought that maybe I stopped loving him when we got back together is true. I really don’t want it to be.. I thought love was something from Disney movies and story books but after reading through some of your blogs I’m seeing that it’s not like that.. if that’s the case, how do you know if you love them? Any response would be greatly appreciated

    • You will find the answers to many of your questions as you continue to read through my blog, and if you want to go deeper into your inner work of learning about real love I would recommend one of my courses.

      • Faye

        I am considering one of your courses. I just wanted to know really if what I have said if it sounds like ROCD. Especially in regards to the thought of me worrying that when we got back together 2 years ago if I stopped loving him then and just got back with him anyway. But then surely you can’t just stop loving someone so quickly, but then I get the whole “maybe you never loved him you just wanted him” it’s really not nice to think these things. He’s an amazing person and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t love him. We are great together.

  • Marlene

    It may be helpful to note that proper nutrition and movement is also fundamental to a healthy sex drive. Maca powder(I mix it right into my morning green drink) has numerous benefits one of which is increasing libido. Hopefully this will be helpful. 🙂

  • Bee

    Faye..

    Correct me if I am wrong Sheryl.. I have had the exact thoughts as you. In fact I am going through them again right now. I was in a little bit of a foul mood last night and my partner was trying to cheer me up bless him and I was being stubborn (he still managed to make me laugh and smile though as much as I didn’t want to) and I find that when I’m annoyed at something, anything, it will cause me to have the unwanted thoughts about my partner. My partner and myself also broke up near the beginning of our relationship and I felt the same as you, I was hurt and upset, and the evening of the day we got back together I also felt calmer, I don’t know if this is because we had been speaking for a little bit that day, I kept telling myself in my head “if we don’t get back together, we will remain friends and I will try and get him back” so the way I try to look at it and think of it is that, maybe we did accept the break up, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we wanted. And in regards to feeling calmer, I think someone can only cry so much. I felt the same as you, I felt calmer and I wasn’t crying that day but we got back together because it’s what we wanted. So yes, maybe we accepted the break up but it doesn’t mean we wanted to remain apart.. this is funnily enough where all my thoughts started from. We have been together a few years now and in the first year I had thoughts pretty much all the time, I was lucky to have a few days together where I had none. I then decided to get Sheryl’s course and I still haven’t worked through it, I read through it but haven’t done the work yet. At the beginning if I can remember rightly there’s like a welcome video from sheryl and even just watching that made me cry to myself and as I was crying I kept saying to myself “I love him, I don’t want to lose him” even just reading through the course helped me. But I know I still have a lot of work to do and I need to do it. I still have my thoughts, but I have been able to go months now without any. I struggled also with the whole believing in love as feelings and Disney, this is my hardest area to work with. This is something I am still struggling with. But I have read in other places that feeling love all the time is not realistic. There’s day where me and my partner are just having a cuddle and I just get a rush of happiness and contentment and I know there’s nobody else I’d rather be doing this with. It’s those moments I hang on to. Surely if I didn’t love him then I wouldn’t have those little moments. It’s hard. Relationships aren’t easy. But there’s nobody else I want to go to sleep next to every night, there’s nobody else I want to build a life with. I’ve had so many thoughts that sometimes I’m proud of myself for sticking through it and not leaving. Even though my head tells me that I wouldn’t be bothered if I left, something tells me that that’s not true. I’d be leaving an amazing person behind. I just need to work through all of this and find the path to real love. And I’m sure you can too.

  • Sophie

    You article is so inspiring, and its messages are crucial, liberating and refreshing to read. I want to print it and read it every day!

  • Stacey

    I love your blogs sheryl. They have been a blessing. I just wanted to run something by you though if that’s ok, I’ve been with my partner for a few years now, I’ve had intrusive thoughts for at least half the time I’ve been with him from all sorts “do I love him” being the main one.. about 4/5 years ago so this was before me and my partner got together, I had a girl crush on a girl I worked with, we did kiss once when we was drunk or I kissed her when we were drunk, she invited me to stay at hers but I definitely didn’t want to, I knew what she probably was thinking and I didn’t want that (she is gay), there was one time she chilled at mine and we led on the bed and I think we held hands but I can’t really remember.. anyway, I’ve always been attracted to men, before that experience and even after. I’ve always wanted to be with a man and I still do. Being in a relationship with a girl and marriage and having a home with a girl does not appeal to me.. since that experience I’ve been with other guys and on dating sites I’ve always been attracted to men. So I saw that experience as like a once of, it wasn’t something that I wanted to continue with another girl or anything.. only recently now in my relationship I’m having thoughts of “do you actually want to be with a girl” “do you like men and woman” but the thing that confuses me is I don’t look at a girl and think “wow you are hot” or anything like that, I can see a really pretty girl and think “she is really pretty) but that’s it. I find aswell that if I come across girls that I know are gay, I act differently like I’m reserved because i don’t want to be nice and chatty and then think that maybe I like them or anything and I get thoughts like “do they like me” so I act off and blunt so they’re aware I’m not interested.. this I think maybe makes my thoughts worse cause then my head is like “why are you acting off with them, you are obviously afraid to like them” or some rubbish like that.. I’ve done all the testing like looking at swimwear models to see if I am attracted, I’ve tried to imagine myself with a girl, I’ve done all the mind tests and I don’t feel anything. I still want men.. it just seems to be all in my head I think, like a little voice that just won’t accept one answer. It seems to have an answer for everything. “you must like woman otherwise you wouldn’t be so bothered about the thoughts” etc etc.. if I didn’t have that experience with a girl years ago then I don’t personally think I’d be suffering with all this, whenever I try to Not let it get to me it always brings back up the girl crush I had trying to convince me that I’ve had one girl crush, kissed her, held her hand etc and that’s it, that makes me gay.. even to this day, I don’t want a relationship with a girl, not at all, I only want a relationship with my boyfriend. Any help/thoughts please?

    • UnforcedRhythmsOfGrace

      Hi Stacey,
      I can so relate. Different trigger, but same intrusive pattern.
      Some background: I’m 46 and engaged to a one-in-a-million guy. We’ve been together 3yrs (they’ve been anxious ones for me), and he’s my first real relationship. Before that, any time I was interested in a guy, as soon as he reciprocated interest I was outta there faster than you could blink. Closed off tighter than a bank vault. I can trace this pattern back to my first crushes in early elementary school.
      For me, these early experiences (and the root they came from) created in me a steady train of thought that for decades has said “I’m not meant to be married. I’m “supposed” to be single. Being in a relationship is me going against my core essence and so I’m dooming myself to a miserable, unauthentic life.” My subsequent life experiences supported that thinking. Sheryl is teaching me how to take those thoughts captive, to name them what they really are: fear.
      Like you, I want to be in my relationship. Even though my fear closed me off to romantic relationship for 40ish years, deep deep down I always hoped I’d find someone. And I have! But man, does the inner liar lay out convincing arguments why I shouldn’t be in it. Like you said, it has an answer for everything. Truth is, a liar can only lie. Fear exists to divide, not unite.
      I find strength to turn away from those thoughts by remembering (and I have post it notes around my house to remind me) that this is the place God/Universe/Love has me. Today. Right now. If I wasn’t meant to be here, the doors would be closed. God would make sure of that. My only job in this moment is to be as loving to myself and my man as I am able. When I break it down like that it all makes a lot more sense to me and takes the wind out of the anxiety. My greater truth & purpose is clear again. Some days I have to take it moment by moment, other days truth flows easily.
      You aren’t in a relationship with a girl because that’s not where you’re supposed to be. It’s not the desire of your heart. Just like being single isn’t the desire of my heart. This moment is where we’re meant to be, and that includes the relationships we’re in. I hope that adds some comforting perspective to your situation, even a little bit.
      I’m praying for you, for freedom and peace.

  • worrier96

    I could cry reading this.

    I have such low sex-drive, I never want to have sex with my partner–this is mostly because i have a health issue that makes sex painful for me. It’s not as bad anymore, but it’s caused huge anxiety in me surrounding sex. Sometimes I want to run a mile when my lovely partner kisses me–it’s not that I don’t want too, it’s just that it feels like I can’t?

    When does the next round of Sacred Sexuality start?

  • Plume

    Hello,
    I am looking for some reassurance if anyone may be able to offer me some.
    I used to suffer from major relationship anxiety at the start of my relationship with a person who couldn’t be more wonderful <:)
    It started off that I would feel crippling anxiety (downright to depression and suicidal thoughts).
    Then after months, anxiety slowly started numbing me.
    I eventually participated in a wonderful healing ceremony (ayahuasca) which helped me immensely with my relationship anxiety as I kept on pursuing the work I had been taught (lots of self love and care <:)
    It's been a couple months and I've slowly been able to open up more and more to my boyfriend without fears.
    I felt love for the first time all on my own, without fears holding me back <:)
    Yet 4 days ago my anxiety spiked up again. It felt awful and I felt scared, sad and very alone.
    I don't feel it anymore, but I feel numb.
    I cannot feel loved nor love for and from him.
    So of course, I began worrying about the usual stuff.
    Do I love him? What if I don't love him anymore? What if this is the end of our relationship? Am I to afraid to let go? Maybe I'm too scared to hurt him. Would I be ok leaving? I don't love him anymore, yes I do love him. But I don't feel (insert feeling here) this or that so it must mean I don't love him anymore, ect..
    The day my anxiety peaked up I also had a moment where I was able to look within and I heard the same voice I had heard once when I first became acquainted with relationship anxiety.
    "I do love him but I'm afraid."
    I guess I understand my anxiety has slowly been triggered over the past few weeks.
    We used to be everyday together for hours on the phone (we are in an ldr). Then he became busy as he moved houses so he couldn't even spend a day with me sometimes.
    But he apologized always and reassured me he loves me it's just that he had been going through a lot of stress.
    Yet my insecurities began surfacing in that I felt unloved and scared in that even when we texted my mind would feel he was being less loving then usual because he would not send me as many hearts, or this emoji didn't look happy enough (or silly things like that yet which still deeply upset me and worried me:/
    But I was still deeply able to feel love for him.
    So these past few weeks where we have been more separated then usual, though now things have calmed down for him as he has settled in his new home so we have been able to spend more time again together.
    But then my anxiety spiked up 4 days ago along with a deep sense of repulsion towards him which lasted 2 days and severely affected my sex drive.
    I'm slowly able to feel turned on again fortunately, but not as much as I used to and I'm not able to feel turned on as much by imagining us together that way:{
    Even back when my relationship anxiety was really strong, I used to feel way sexual (for the most part) towards him and I used to use this as reassurance that yes, I'm in love with him otherwise I wouldn't want to make love with him.
    But I still worry and I also get the same thought as I did before when my relationship anxiety was really strong,
    What if I fall in love with someone else? I'm using/manipulating or playing with him. You're not being genuine in your feelings for him. He deserves love. How are you able to give him that if you can't even feel love for him? Ect..
    Yet they are much less strong then before. Just kinda there sometimes.
    And I think the fact that I feel calm, and alright is even more alarming then feeling anxiety. Because I still cannot feel love or loved and I feel when we speak it's as if I have to force myself to act more loving then I am able to feel. Yet what tells me it might be anxiety numbing me up is two things.
    When we texted 2 days ago, we both said wonderful things to each other (I always get teary eyed when I do <:) yet he set me a message telling me how wonderful I am but I immediately felt my anxiety spike up because I had expressed myself more in my message and him, a little less and my anxiety told me he doesn't love me.
    But I was able to cut it at the root before it had a chance to go on. He does love me genuinely, is always assuring me of his feelings for me, always saying how wonderful I am, that he grateful for me, being there and supportive towards me even during my anxiety, ect..
    So I know it's not him, but my insecurities and fears.
    The second thing which told me it's anxiety is that twice when he sent me messages, I was able to feel these slight bring long sensations in my chest that I would get even back when I was suffering intensely. And those tingling a feel good <:)
    All I know is that I don't wish to leave him, I wish to live the rest of my life wih him (and so does he<:) also because I do realize I have attachment issues (which have been triggered during these past few weeks, I feel less desire to spend time with him lately and my thoughts tell me it's because I do not low him anymore or care for him and I could leave the relationship and be just fine, that I'll probably even be happy to do so, ect..)
    In a way it just feels saddening or painful in a way that I'm unable to feel love towards him.
    I feel perfectly calm and well but I feel numb :/
    Is this normal?
    I would also like to mention that the repulsion I felt for him I also used to feel when I was going through intense relationship anxiety (usually it's a repulsion tied towards sex in general.)

  • Plume

    *tingling in my chest

    Thank you for anyone who reads and is able to offer me even a little bit of reassurance as to wether this numbness, yet unaccompanied by anxiety that I can tell of, is normal <:)

    I would also like to mention that I would like to participate in your relationship anxiety e-course Sheryl, but I am simply unable to afford it as of now (I also have limited access to the internet where I love right now :{
    But I would like to do so soon because I know self love and care is the way to go in being able to feel love for him and to feel loved (I may be simply disconnected from myself as well which might explain the difficulties I have at the moment <:)
    And I know your course may help with discovering more of what I need to let go of in order to move forward and open up to both him and myself <:)