Especially in the age of social media, many people feel pressure to be sexually arousing. Often, this leads to frustration and questions of self-worth.

It’s important to note that a person’s vulva doesn’t work like a vending machine. The arousal comes from the brain, not the physical stimulation. Luckily, there are ways to get pleasure in the bedroom!

1. You’re not in the right relationship.

If you’re in a relationship that makes you uncomfortable, it can take away the pleasure of sex. If you’re not able to have a healthy conversation with your partner about what you want sexually and when, you may be missing out on a lot of pleasure. You may even want to consider if you’re in the right relationship for you at all.

Some people get turned off by vaginal sex or masturbation, or they just don’t find these things pleasurable. You might have a health issue that makes you numb or inhibits your pleasure, like vulvodynia or endometriosis. If this is the case, talk to your doctor or sex therapist about it.

Sexual pleasure also depends on your body and brain’s chemistry, the kinds of sexual acts you try, and the lubrication. Then, there’s the emotional component: your partner and chemistry with them play into how much pleasure you feel. So, you might need to look at how you are doing masturbation and your relationship with your boyfriend.

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There’s a big misconception that you have to have sex to be in a romantic relationship. But, loads of people have very happy relationships without having sex or have very little sex and still have happy relationships. You could start to broaden your definition of sex and experiment with kissing, cuddling, nakedness, or mutual masturbation (no touching of genitals) and see if you enjoy those more.

2. You’re not in the right body.

If you’re not in the right body to have sex, it can make it very hard for you to feel pleasure. This can happen when you have a medical condition or injury that interferes with your physical sensations, or it could be that you are unable to use the genitals due to an infection or surgery. In some cases, this can also be due to a lack of training or poor technique.

If you are not feeling pleasure during sex, it is important to look at both the physical and emotional components of your sexual experience. Emotional factors, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, can make it difficult to connect with your sexual experience. Often, these problems can be resolved with the help of a therapist or physician.

In addition, many people report that they don’t feel pleasure during sex because they are engaging in sexual activity before they are properly aroused. For example, if you are using oral sex, foreplay is important to help get the blood flowing to your genitals and ensure that they are well lubricated for a pleasurable experience. If you are using anal sex, it is even more important to take time to prepare for sexual intercourse and to avoid getting in the habit of starting to engage before your body is ready.

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3. You’re not in the right mood.

For many of us, sex is a highly emotional experience. But for others, it can be just a simple bodily activity all about physical pleasure. And for both groups, there’s no right or wrong way to feel about sex or not feel anything when you have it.

The point is, we all have different sex drives and it’s normal that our libidos change over time. And when we have mismatched sex drive, it’s important not to take it personally and instead figure out what’s going on.

Several factors can impact our mood and state of mind, including:

If we’re tired, hungry, or thirsty, it can make us feel less sexually desirable. Likewise, things like a squeaky bed or a dirty kitchen can put us off. Also, if we’re feeling sweaty from a workout or have morning breath, it can be hard to feel sexy.

Additionally, medications can have a big impact on our libidos. SSRIs, antihistamines, birth control, and chemotherapy drugs can all reduce arousal. So, if you’re taking any kind of medication, it’s worth talking to your doctor about how they may affect your desire for sex. They can help you find workarounds to your specific situation and provide ideas for improving your libido in general. Or, they can refer you to a specialist who can help you navigate this issue.

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4. You’re not in the right state of mind.

The thing is, sex feels really different for every person. And it’s not just because of the way they do it or what they do with their partner — there are so many things that affect how sex feels emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sexually.

A lack of sensation during sex can be because you’re not in the right mental state to enjoy it. If you’re stressed out or anxious, that will flat-line your libido. If you’re feeling lonely or unloved, that will also make it harder to feel pleasure from sex. If you’re trying to get orgasms and your mind keeps wandering off to something else, that will also interrupt your ability to experience pleasure.

It can also be because you’re not in the right physical setting. If you’re having sex in a public place, that will make it harder to have a sensual experience. If you’re in pain or discomfort — say, because of an underlying health condition like vulvodynia, endometriosis, or menopause — that will also affect your ability to feel pleasure from sex.

Finally, if you’re not taking the time to prep for sex (like by doing foreplay) or are having sex too soon after waking up, that will also interfere with your ability to feel pleasure. And if you’re dealing with any kind of sexual trauma or shame, that can definitely keep you from feeling pleasure or finding joy in your sexuality.