How To Take The Brakes Off Your Sex Drive

by | 04/03/21 | Low Libido

If you think about your sex drive like a car, you’ll soon realise that there are accelerators which get you going and inhibitors (or brakes) that stop you from getting aroused. Your car isn’t going to go anywhere if your foot is firmly on the brake, and the same thing happens with your sex drive.

By learning how to take the brakes off your sex drive, you can improve your sex drive and experience more satisfying sex. And here I’m going to show you how to do exactly that.

The concept of accelerators and brakes controlling your sex drive was originally developed by Emily Nagoski in her book Come As You Are. To learn more about how accelerators and brakes work together, you can read this post.

How to take the brakes off your sex drive

Everyone is different

Some people’s brakes are more sensitive than others, and some people have brakes that take A LOT of pressure to stop. Everyone is different, and that’s okay.

The key is to understand what YOUR brakes are and how you can manage them.

Adding more accelerators to turn you on won’t fix your problem when the brakes are pushed in and won’t budge.

Adding more accelerators to turn you on won't fix your problem when the brakes are pushed in and won't budge. Share on X

Common types of inhibitors (brakes)

Performance-related inhibitors

These sex drive inhibitors are related to worrying about how you’re performing during sex.

For example, if you’re worried that you’re taking too long to orgasm, it can actually start to affect your arousal.

You won’t be present and in the moment, enjoying the sensations. All you can focus on is how you’re not orgasming, so you start to consider stopping the sex entirely.

Not only will that ruin the sexual experience for you, but it will affect you wanting to have sex again in the future. You’ll start to worry that the same thing will happen again.

Consequence-related inhibitors

Consequence-related inhibitors are things that will stop you from enjoying sex because you are worried about a possible bad outcome.

Maybe you’re worried you will get pregnant or get a STI. Maybe you’re worried someone will walk in on you having sex.

These are all valid concerns, and they can get in the way of you enjoying sex or even getting interested in sex in the first place.

External inhibitors

External inhibitors are the things around you that put the brakes on your sex drive.

For example, if you don’t have privacy, or your partner is annoying you, or you’re struggling with debt and family problems, etc.

Internal inhibitors

Internal inhibitors have to do with how you think (and feel) about yourself and sex.

For example, having poor body image, depression and anxiety, poor stress management, and not being comfortable with sex due to receiving negative messages about sex growing up.

All of these factors can play a major part in inhibiting your sex drive, especially when you have a combination of them working together.

There are hundreds of reasons why you could be turned off from sex that I haven’t mentioned here, and all of them are equally valid.

Remember that if it’s important to you, then it’s important for your sex life. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. Nothing is too small or too silly.

What are your brakes?

Have you been able to identify any brakes holding you back from sex yet?

Take a moment to think back on previous experiences or times you’ve said no to sex. What were your reasons?

Were you too exhausted? Were you upset with your partner for something they did or didn’t do?

Once you’ve identified your brakes or inhibitors, how do you move forward?

It’s time to sort them into categories

Once you have a list of all of your inhibitors, you can sort them into 1 of 3 categories:

1. Unchangeable/non-negotiable

This category is for things that you just can’t (or won’t) change.

For example: you cannot get turned on if there are pets in the bed, or your in laws are in the next room.

These are hard limits for you, so you and your partner need to accept that sex will not happen if any of these brakes are present.

By sharing this information with your partner, it will help them understand 1. that you aren’t rejecting them, you just can’t be sexual at this time, and 2. that they shouldn’t initiate sex at this time because it will just end in feelings of rejection, and cause further problems.

*If you just focus on this category, it can already make a huge difference in your relationship.

2. Modifiable

This category is for anything that can be changed (or modified).

Once you become aware of these brakes, you can put systems in place to make sure they don’t interfere with your sex drive or your sexy time.

For example, maybe you hate it when your partner initiates sex by randomly grabbing your boobs. This is a major turn off for you and annoys you so much that there’s just no way you could have sex after that.

That’s perfectly valid.

But can you do something about it? Yes. You can sit your partner down and explain to them why you don’t like it, and that it actually turns you off from sex.

If your partner values your feelings, or even just wants to have sex again, they know that they cannot grab your boobs randomly anymore. You’ve set a boundary.

This is a simple example, but you can apply it to any changeable behaviour or scenario.

3. Manageable

This category is for things that you can’t necessarily change but you can put work in to improving.

Common brakes here could include anxiety, depression and stress.

While anxiety, depression and stress may not be your fault, you can do something about it. You can reach out for help. You can see your doctor, try medication or therapy. You have options.

These things will not go away on their own so it’s important to become aware of them and allow yourself to get the help you need.

Stress is never going to go away, but you can research and develop strategies for managing your stress better.

I have my list. What now?

Once you have your categorised list of brakes, you can choose which ones to work on first.

You can tackle the easier ones first to hit the ground running, or work on the toughest one to get it out of the way.

Compare your lists with your partner and come up with ideas together for how you can manage them. You don’t have to do this on your own, and in fact, you shouldn’t.

This is an opportunity to get to know yourself better, and get to know your partner better.

Your relationship and your sex life will improve dramatically by implementing these steps.

If you’re struggling with low libido and need more help to improve your sex life, take the FREE Libido Assessment to get started.

In Summary

Your sex drive is controlled by accelerators and brakes. But it’s often the brakes that tend to cause the most problems. Your sex drive will never get moving again if your brakes are still in control.

Your sex drive is controlled by accelerators and brakes. But it's often the brakes that tend to cause the most problems. Your sex drive will never get moving again if your brakes are still in control. Share on X

The key to controlling your brakes is first to identify them, categorise them, and develop a plan to manage them.

By implementing the steps mentioned in this post, you’ll be well on your way to a higher sex drive.

How to take the brakes off your libido

Make sure to share this post with your family and friends if you think there’s a good chance it could help them too. Thank you!

Disclaimer: This blog consists of only my opinions and doesn’t reflect the opinions of the Department of Health of South Africa or The Southern African Sexual Health Association. All information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but it’s possible that there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. While I am a registered medical practitioner, I am not YOUR doctor. The information presented on this blog is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as professional medical advice. If you rely on any information presented, it’s at your own risk. Please consult a professional before taking any sort of action.

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