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Mental load, letting go and lowered sex drive

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A not-so-exciting mix...

Mental load is a term we hear a lot these days. Sometimes defined as a burden, mental load is in fact the cognitive load of all responsibilities associated with our roles: partner, parent, employee, student, etc.

In a world where we have to be efficient, proactive and responsible, mental load helps us with staying organized and remembering important things. Up to a certain point, this mental load can be useful. It becomes a problem when we become overloaded. This can unfortunately affect our sex drive.

In my private practice, I have noticed an increase in the amount of young people suffering from lowered sex drive. The causes are many: work, pressure, childbirth, parenting, school, etc. The common thread? Responsibility overload! To feel desire and pleasure, we need to learn to let go.

Keep in mind that desire is not linear but looks more like a roller coaster. Low or (temporary) absence of desire is not a problem in itself. It becomes a problem when a certain distance starts to separate the couple.

How to find the balance between this mental load and our sex drive?

That’s when you have to learn to let go. We all have responsibilities and, unfortunately, we can’t always exercise control over them. We can control our priorities though.

You need to identify your priorities. In life as a whole, of course, but also during specific moments. One of my favorite examples for people with lowered sex drive is this one: “What do you think about when you are in an intimate situation with your partner? If you are thinking about groceries, clothes or dinner, we can deduce a lot about your sexual receptivity and your needs at that specific moment.”

All these things are important and can take up a lot of space in our routine. That’s why we have to prioritize.

Here are some guidelines to help you find balance:

  • Learn to let go of the less important things in your daily life, by asking for help and accepting that not everything has to be perfect right away.

  • Prioritize based on the time of the day or the week and make sure to keep some time where your relationship and yourself are the priority.

  • Live in the here and the now. Accept that you can only control what is happening now, and not the past or future, and you can start to focus on the importance of the present moment.

  • Allow yourself to have fun and slow down. You don’t have to live life at 110% all the time. You can enjoy and savor life without any pressure.

Finding the balance that will satisfy you and that will meet YOUR needs is all you should aim for. Don’t compare yourself to others; identify your priorities and enjoy. You deserve it.

If you recognize yourself in this article, you may feel the need to talk to someone. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with a professional.

Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec : https://opsq.org

Myriam Bouthillette

Sexologist, Development Assistant - Clinical division

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