If you're feeling less hot than bothered these days, you're not alone. This was tied as the number one write-in response to our survey of most embarrassing questions—so give yourself a break. In fact, losing your expectations can help you find your sex drive, says Emily Nagoski, PhD, director of wellness education at Smith College and author of the new book Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life. Her recommendations:

Let Action Spur Desire

"Most of us were taught that desire just appears out of the blue—sex! yes! now!—but that's only one way it happens," Nagoski says. "There's also responsive desire: You're watching TV, your partner starts kissing your neck and you think, Oh, right. Sex! Understanding that it's normal not to feel turned on until you get into a sexy scenario can be tremendously freeing."

Take the Pressure Off

When you start to feel aroused, a dual-control process is activated in your mind: There's the sexual accelerator (controlled by the things that get you going) and the sexual brakes (controlled by the things that don't, like anxiety, body image issues or just being annoyed that your partner is so...annoying). "Most sexual difficulties aren't caused because you're not hitting the accelerator enough—they're the result of too much pressure on the brakes," says Nagoski. "I spoke to one woman who had always faked being in the mood with her husband. Her lack of desire made her feel like a failure, which triggered the brakes—a vicious cycle. Yet within a week of confessing this to him, the pressure lifted, and she began to crave sex for the first time in years."

Focus on Pleasure

"It's amazing how many of us believe we're supposed to want sex more than we do," says Nagoski. "There's no right amount. Instead of worrying about your sex 'drive,' slow down and pay more attention to what feels good. I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results."


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