What to Do When You Really Want to Be in the Mood, but You're Just Not

Sex with my partner can cheer me up, mellow me out, and make me feel needed and desired-but sometimes, I can't figure out how to get in the mood. And it's hard to figure out how to explain to my partner, “I don't feel like having sex, but I want to feel like having sex.”

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I think we've all had those days (and sometimes weeks or months) when our sex drives play hide-and-seek. After a difficult project at work, a stressful time with the kids, or even an amazing but exhausting vacation, sometimes I can't find a way to feel sexy. There are so many other shortcuts that yield the results that I want: If I don't feel like cooking, sometimes I can order takeout. If I need to take a break from my kids for a few hours, I can often arrange for someone to come help out. So what's the shortcut to making me want to get it on?

If there are times when you know you'd enjoy having sex but don't always know how to get there, then this is for you. After talking to experts in the field and doing a little research, I found some great ways to get yourself in the mood.

1. To start with, do something relaxing.

This might seem like the answer to everything, but that's because it actually works. I can't go from feeling stressed-out to sensual sexpot without taking some time to relax. Maybe I need a bath, a massage, a cup of coffee and a cookie, or just a few minutes to myself. Whatever I do, I do it with the intention of preparing for sexual pleasure.

2. Change the rules.

I asked Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and CEO of The Cowgirl, how a couple could make date night more sexy and fun.

“Sometimes, it's easy to fall into the routine of day-to-day life without looking up to take in your surroundings. A date night can be a really awesome time to touch base with your partner and try something you've both never done before,” Sinclair says. “Whether it's a new type of food or a new move in the bedroom, using this time to explore new opportunities (or each other) makes it into not only a fun experience but a chance to grow as a couple.”

Making alone time a priority has always been important to my husband and me, but if we aren't mindful, we can sometimes miss opportunities to reconnect because we are preoccupied with everything (work, kids, household tasks) but each other.

3. Change the scenery.

Find a place that removes you from your everyday life for a while. Leah Millheiser, M.D., director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University, suggests that leaving your “usual spot” can add some excitement.

When I was home with kids all day, I loved a night away in a nearby hotel. (Actually, I still do.) Sometimes I'll go somewhere special with my partner for a quick dinner or a drink while making sure there's enough time left in the evening to go somewhere to get it on. Sometimes even my guest room is enough of a change of scenery to make me stop thinking about my daily grind and start focusing on my sexual desires.

4. Try reading or watching something that turns you on.

Millheiser suggests focusing on something exciting. I prefer erotica, but some of my friends enjoy steamy romance novels, and a romantic movie that has some racy sex scenes in it often makes me want to do more than just watch. Porn that depicts fantasies I enjoy will almost always get me going.

5. Try new sex toys.

While a massager like the Lelo Smart Wand is my go-to for a quick and easy orgasm, it doesn't always leave me wanting more from a partner. The Fiera is a product that I've found creates responsive desire that I love using alone or with my partner.

Vibrators designed with a partner in mind, like the Eva or Fin, are also fun to use together or solo. For something beyond standard genital stimulation, bVibe has some great options. And while I don't want to blow my whole paycheck on sex toys, I've learned that investing in a few quality toys is better than having a treasure chest full of inexpensive toys.

Sometimes I can't relax and enjoy sex because I'm really stressed-and sometimes I'm stressed just because it's been a while since I experienced sexual pleasure. Using the above tactics, I've gotten out of this catch-22 more and more often, which has led to me becoming more sexually satisfied and more connected to my partner. After all, it's true that an orgasm (or three) is the perfect way to eliminate stress.

Eva Giunto is a writer, daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend who happens to have a high sex drive. She enjoys many things besides sex, but sex is by far her favorite thing. Eva hopes to be one of many women who share a positive and realistic perspective on women who love sex. Follow her on Twitter @forevagiunto.