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6 Ways to Get in the Mood

How to break the no-sex rut and why it matters.
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Problem No. 4: You Don't Like Your Body

The Solution: Focus on What You Do Like

Many of us have things we'd like to change about our bodies. Maybe you never lost the baby weight, or you're not happy with how you've stopped going to the gym.

"Ultimately, low self-image comes down to not being in love with yourself," Allison says. "And if you don't love yourself, you're not going to share yourself with someone else. Short of therapy for poor self-esteem, you can try finding things about yourself that you do like and focus on those sexually."

Or focus on your partner's body instead of your own. "What do you love about the person you're with? What about his or her body arouses you?" Allison asks. That way you can shift the focus from your own insecurities to what makes being together fun.

Problem No. 5: Sex Hurts

The Solution: Don't Suffer in Silence

Sometimes it's not that you're not feeling in the mood; it's that your body isn't cooperating because sex is painful. This can be a big issue for women approaching menopause, and you might be too embarrassed to tell your partner.

"As we age," Horowitz says, "estrogen levels decrease, and this affects a lot of organs, including the vagina. When tissues atrophy and thin out, losing some of their blood supply, intercourse becomes more painful.”

Fortunately, there are remedies for painful sex. For many patients, Horowitz prescribes a vaginal estrogen. Vaginal lubricants are also available over the counter. But check with your doctor if the pain continues. That way your doctor can rule out other, possibly more serious conditions that might be causing it.

Problem No. 6: You're Still Not in the Mood

The Solution: Find the Cause

A dwindling libido may be more than just a sign of aging. It may be a sign of another health problem. For example, depression, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances can all contribute to sexual dysfunction. In men, not being able to get an erection can be an early warning sign of diabetes or heart disease. And some medications, including antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can lower your sex drive.

Behavioral issues can also interfere with your ability to have sex. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can put a damper on sexual response. Even the way you exercise can be a factor. For instance, too much time on the bike can lead to problems in bed.

"Both men and women who are always on their spin bike can have problems with orgasm and arousal," Horowitz says. That's because the pressure put on the pudendal nerve and artery can decrease the blood supply to that region.

There are remedies for these problems. Share your concerns with your health care provider, who can help you explore what alternatives you have.

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