Rx for Healing Low Desire: Six Homework Assignments

by Gail Elizabeth Wyatt, Ph.D. and Lewis Wyatt Jr., M.D.

If you have experienced problems in becoming sexually excited, you can actually do a lot to help yourself to sexual arousal with the following program of action steps. If they do not help, it's a sign that you may need sex therapy with a professional to make sex work for both of you.

Here are the six steps to sexual arousal that put you back on the path to a lasting and deeply transforming result. These may help you and your partner explore your full potential for interest and desire for sexual pleasure. Allow yourself several weeks to complete the steps. Practice not rushing.

Step One

Learn how to identify pleasant, sensuous, and sexy feelings, and identify situations that make you feel that way. You don't need to go out of your way to create these feelings. Just pay attention to what your brain and body are saying to you naturally during the day and night. You may be surprised to find that you respond a bit more often than you think to pleasant, sexy stimuli.

Step Two

Tell your partner he has to promise to avoid trying to have sexual intercourse with you until further notice. His big reward is coming later. Agree to kiss and hug but not to touch each other's genitals. For now, sexual excitement is your primary goal. You are learning to distinguish between excitement and intercourse.

Step Three

Each night, have conversations with your partner about what you are learning about sexual excitement and how you respond to it. You want your partner to feel a part of your new experience. Share it with him enthusiastically.

Step Four

Search for things that affect your senses pleasurably, Chanté was a visual person. Romantic movies and books and certain magazines made her feel good, sensuous, and sexy. Try different stimuli such as aromas and scents, flowers and candles, running water and hot tubs, pictures, sunbathing, different types of music, even incense.

Many people find that high-protein meals and exercise increase sexual desire. Eventually you'll know a lot more about what does and what doesn't turn you on. Treat yourself to new experiences. Experiment with the feel of soft fabrics against your skin, caressing different parts of your body, wearing sexy lingerie, looking at your body in a mirror, and buying clothes in colors that appeal to you.

Rent videos of general-distribution movies with erotic or romantic themes. Or experiment with quiet lush or exotic restaurants. Try cooking special dinners for two at home. The possibilities are limitless; if you run out of ideas, look for more in magazines.

Step Five

Invite your partner to join you in this process now. Based on what you've learned, teach him how to make you feel good, sensuous, and sexy. Sadie and Jean Claude had weekly dates at home. Sadie had arranged the furniture and lighting in a way that pleased her senses. In her favorite room, they would "make out," including kissing. We had also encouraged them to touch each other's genitals. Sadie loved to have Jean Claude touch her breasts and the lips of her vagina. Remember, no intercourse is recommended yet.

Step Six

In your homework now you can touch each other anywhere, including the genitals, and do whatever you think might stimulate you to get ready for sex.

Gail Elizabeth Wyatt, Ph.D., is a sex therapist and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at UCLA. She manages over ten million dollars in research grants worldwide from the National Institute of Mental Health. She is the author of over 100 professional publications and books, including Stolen Women: Reclaiming Our Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives.

Lewis Wyatt Jr., M.D., is an obstetrician/gynecologist and sex therapist in private practice. He has been active in teaching residents at Martin Luther King and Cedars Sinai Medical Centers in Los Angeles, serving as a medical consultant on television and radio, and working along with his wife, Dr. Gail Wyatt, on grants to investigate STD prevention for women. The Wyatts have been married for more than thirty-eight years. Excerpted from No More Clueless Sex: 10 Sexual Habits That Can Mess Up Your Love Life

Copyright © Gail and Lewis Wyatt. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.