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Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido

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4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido

Anyone who has stood in a supermarket checkout line has seen all the sexy headlines on women's magazines, touting exciting new ways for readers to drive their men wild in bed or to heighten their own sexual pleasure. These are tantalizing promises, to be sure. But they sorely miss the mark.

The fact is, many women aren't interested in more sex or better sex. They aren't interested in sex at all. They used to ...

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Overview

4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido

Anyone who has stood in a supermarket checkout line has seen all the sexy headlines on women's magazines, touting exciting new ways for readers to drive their men wild in bed or to heighten their own sexual pleasure. These are tantalizing promises, to be sure. But they sorely miss the mark.

The fact is, many women aren't interested in more sex or better sex. They aren't interested in sex at all. They used to be, of course. Over months or even years, their sexual desire all but disappeared. And they can't understand why.

Through years of clinical practice, Andrew Goldstein, M.D., and Marianne Brandon, Ph.D., have worked with scores of clients who aren't satisfied with their sex drives. They've seen how women struggle to open up about this very personal and painful problem. And they've seen how it can erode women's self-esteem and strain intimate relationships.

In Reclaiming Desire, Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Brandon present a self-care version of their highly effective holistic approach to treating low libido.

Inside you'll find:

- An exclusive self-test to assess physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health—the four cornerstones of a healthy sex drive

- Essential information on how major life events like pregnancy, menopause, and divorce can affect a woman's sexual health

- A range of practical measures, from conventional and herbal medicines to mind-body techniques and lifestyle strategies, that can help rekindle sexual desire

- Personal stories that draw upon the real-life experiences of women who once struggled with low libido—and emerged with a greater understanding of their sexual selves

Reclaiming Desire also offers a healthy dose of reassurance and encouragement as an antidote to all of the misconceptions about low libido. As you'll learn, a decline in sex drive doesn't automatically happen with age. And while hormones influence sexual desire and response, they don't determine a woman's sexual destiny. Just as important, low libido doesn't necessarily point to a problem in a woman's relationship with her partner. More than likely, she simply has lost touch with her sexual self.

Unlike those magazine headlines, Reclaiming Desire will more than live up to its promise. With this book, you can reclaim your desire—and make your sex life better than ever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579546830
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/19/2004
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Goldstein, M.D., and Marianne Brandon, Ph.D., are cofounders of the Sexual Wellness Center in Annapolis, Maryland, where they specialize in treating women's sexual health problems. Dr. Goldstein divides his time between Annapolis and New York City; Dr. Brandon resides in Annapolis.

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Read an Excerpt

Body, Mind -- And More

As a gynecologist and a clinical psychologist who see female clients on a daily basis, we realize that many women want and expect more for themselves sexually. We opened our Sexual Wellness Center in 1999 to respond to women's concerns about a variety of sexual issues, including low libido.

What do we mean by sexual wellness? We interpret it as a holistic concept, with four primary dimensions. Physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. All four must be present and in balance for a person to feel "well" sexually.

We believe that applying this holistic approach is essential to fully and accurately evaluating women who are having problems with their libidos. When a patient tells us that her interest in sex is waning, our first step is to explore the following:

--Her physical health, including underlying medical problems, hormone levels, medications, and lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise
--Her emotional well-being -- whether she is depressed, stressed, or anxious, and whether she is satisfied with her life, her marriage, and herself
--Her intellectual fulfillment, both in her private life and in the life she shares with her partner and family
--Her spiritual beliefs and needs, and their impact on her sexuality

By identifying and treating problems in each of these core areas, we help make sex more gratifying for each woman. Oncethis is achieved, sexual desire often takes care of itself.

The majority of our patients come to us because of low libido. Many of them have attempted to get help elsewhere but saw no significant improvement in their sex drives. We suspect that most conventional treatments fail because their focus is exclusively physical (adjusting a woman's hormone levels, for example) or psychological (examiningg a woman's sexual history or current emotional state). They don't take into account the interplay of these and other factors that collectively shape a woman's sexual desire.

From our clinical experience, we've come to understand libido as a function of all that defines a woman -- including her body, her relationships, and her lifestyle. This is why so many cases of low libido have such complex, and surprising, causes. The good news is that most of these causes are completely treatable.

It Isn't Just "Sparks"

More often than not, the women who come to our Sexual Wellness Center are longing, for what might best be described as spontaneous desire. That is, they want to find themselves suddenly and without reason experiencing the sort of intense sensations that indicate they want to have sex. These sensations may take many forms -- warmth or tingling in the genitals, frequent positive thoughts about sex, or perhaps some undefined physical or emotional need.

Unfortunately, spontaneous desire is a misnomer. What our clients remember as spontaneous was anything but. Rather, their feelings of desire locked in with some sort of stimulus -- perhaps an attractive man walking by, a romantic scene in a movie, hot water cascading down their bodies as they showered, or a partner's loving caress. Whatever it was, they were receptive to it at that moment, and they responded by wanting to make love. For most women in mature relationships, this is the nature of desire: Rather than occurring spontaneously, it is a reaction to a stimulus.

Sometimes our clients find this reality disappointing. They would rather experience sexual desire as effortless and dependable, like hunger. In fact, it can be effortless -- if they allow themselves to be open to sexual stimuli, which are all around them.

For most of our clients, the goal of treatment is not to experience spontaneous desire. Rather, it is to relearn how to be open and responsive to a sexual stimulus -- that is, their partners -- long enough for their desire to build. Admittedly, this takes commitment and effort. For a multitude of reasons, which we explore in the following pages, women sometimes shut down sexually. They must work to want sex again.

Reprinted from: Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido by Andrew Goldstein, M.D., and Marianne Brandon, Ph.D. © 2004 by Andrew Goldstein, M.D., and Marianne Brandon, Ph.D. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction ix
Part I Why Desire Fades--And How You Can Bring It Back
Chapter 1 Rethinking Low Libido 3
Chapter 2 Getting to Know Your Sex Drive 10
Chapter 3 The Sexual Desire Self-Test 24
Part II The First Key: Physical Health
Chapter 4 Start with Your Body 33
Chapter 5 In Touch with Physical Pleasure 49
Chapter 6 The Hormone Factor 72
Chapter 7 Testosterone for Your Sex Drive 85
Chapter 8 Boosting Dopamine for Better Libido 101
Chapter 9 Aphrodisiacs from Medicine and Nature 107
Part III The Second Key: Emotional Resilience
Chapter 10 The Emotional Building Blocks of Libido 121
Chapter 11 Cultivating a Healthy Body Image 135
Chapter 12 Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: Adversaries of Sex Drive 147
Chapter 13 The Hidden Impact of Sexual Trauma 165
Chapter 14 The "Benefits" of Not Wanting Sex 180
Part IV The Third Key: Intellectual Fulfillment
Chapter 15 How Your Thoughts Affect Your Libido 193
Chapter 16 Inside Your Sexual Mindset 204
Part V The Fourth Key: Spiritual Contentment
Chapter 17 The Soul of Your Desire 217
Chapter 18 Sex and Your Spiritual Self 222
Part VI Life Passages and Your Libido
Chapter 19 From Infatuation to Intimacy 231
Chapter 20 The Miracle of Motherhood 253
Chapter 21 Not Your Mother's Menopause 276
Chapter 22 Surviving and Thriving after Divorce 291
Epilogue 307
For More Information 309
Index 313
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