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When Desire Dies: Bringing Your Sex Drive Back to Life

WebMD asked top sex experts to explain what happened to your libido and what you can do to get lovemaking back on track.

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Case in point, the Journal of Impotence Research study found that relationship problems were frequently at the heart of many women's low sex drive.

Moreover, Sadock says other studies found that even when a woman's body is turned on, she won't recognize it if she's not emotionally open to making love.

"In one study conducted in the Netherlands doctors found that even when measurements of vaginal lubrication confirmed sexual excitement, a woman didn't perceive desire if she was not in touch with the idea of being turned on," says Sadock.

This, she says, can also occur when self-esteem is low.

"When you don't feel good about yourself, if you view yourself as undesirable, then you'll push desire out of your mind as well," says Sadock.

Finding Your Sex Drive Again

So how do you coax your sex drive out of hiding?

For women who need a little encouragement that intimacy is still within their grasp, Sadock recommends giving fantasy a try.

"Put your partner out of your mind and focus strictly on sex," says Sadock. Imagine, if you will, having the most wonderful, delicious, glorious romp with anyone you desire -- a movie star, an old flame, a mysterious stranger -- and then see how you feel.

"Even if you don't get overwhelmingly excited, if you can at least feel a sense of openness about sexual excitement, then there is little doubt that your desire is still intact," says Sadock.

Ramp Up Low Sex Drive by Resolving Issues

"Many women are scared to even consider their relationship as the cause of their desire issues because they are afraid it means the marriage is over, but this is not usually the case," says Sadock.

Indeed, she says, most often it's not the catastrophic divorce-level problems that are standing in the way, but rather a compilation of small but very "fixable" issues that have just piled up over time.

"If you feel neglected, or taken for granted, if you're angry because he spends more free time with his brothers than with you, if you think that the only time he's nice to you is when he wants sex, these are often the kind of thoughts that eat away at a woman's sexual desire," says Sadock.

Amaru agrees and adds, "When I finally get patients to open up about what is bothering them, I often find they are simply overloaded in their life -- too much work, too many responsibilities, too much on their shoulders, with too little help and acknowledgement from their partners."

If, in fact, you can identify feelings of resentment or even anger, the next step is to talk to your partner -- but not in an accusatory way.

Experts say avoid phrases like "You make me feel lousy" or "You turn me off when you ... ." Instead, start by assuring your partner that you find him attractive and let him know this is about rekindling the great sex life you once had together.

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