The worst thing I ever said when Xander tried to initiate

September 08,2020

So many people think my sex life is perfect because I’m a sex therapist. 

But just a few weeks ago, I had the WORST response EVER when Xander initiated sex.

Yep, I mess this stuff up all the time too!

His initiation had been great. He was clear and direct about what he wanted, and had a pretty damn sexy delivery, too. 

And how did I respond?


Yes, I actually said “UGH” to his face.

I am definitely not perfect!

So why did I have such a negative (and honestly, rude) response?

I was stressed, man! 

We had just heard about LA extending our quarantine yet again. My family was starting to have conversations about cancelling our huge holiday celebrations. I was not in a good headspace at all. 

And when I’m stressed, I am just not interested in sex. 

Sex can be a huge stress relief for me, but usually I don’t feel the desire to have it in the first place when I’m stressed out. 

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, whether you live somewhere where the pandemic has you locked down or not, whether you’re absolutely sick of even hearing the word “COVID”, there is no doubt that you’re feeling way more stress these days than usual. 

And all of this stress and uncertainty in the world can wreck havoc on our sex drives.

If you’re single, you may be conflicted about how to date again safely, or you might be worried about how you’ll attract a partner if it feels like your sex drive has disappeared.

If you’re in a relationship, you may be navigating mismatched sex drives for the first time. Or the current situation could be worsening the sex drive mismatches you had before. 

It sucks!

Did you know that stress is the most common reason why your sex drive decreases or even disappears?

Most people underestimate just how big of an impact stress can have. 

But let’s think about what stress actually is. 

When you’re stressed, your body thinks that it is under attack. 

We have to think back to our cavepeople ancestors, defending themselves from wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers.

You’ve heard the phrase “fight or flight” right? That is your body preparing for imminent danger. Your body is deciding whether to stay and fight, or leave and take flight. 

During stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. It functions like your body’s gatekeeper.

Cortisol scans what’s going on in your body, and shuts down any bodily functions that it thinks are “unnecessary” in the moment, so that your body can focus all of its energy on protecting itself from the attack. 

Libido is one of those “unnecessary” functions when you’re being chased by a saber tooth tiger. 

If your body is in imminent danger, there’s no reason you should also need to have an erection, be wet, or wildly turned on, right? 

It wouldn’t make any sense!

Cortisol is great if you actually are in danger in the moment. Your body shuts down all these other functions so it can focus on being alert, prepared, and strong. 

These days, you’re not likely in any immediate danger very often or at all. 

But because we’re stressed all of the time, our bodies think that we’re constantly under attack. 

Our bodies are staying in that state of high tension, with cortisol desperately trying to keep us prepared. 

Because of that ongoing tension and stress, your libido stays turned off, rather than just temporarily shut down.

And that’s not even to mention the emotional impacts of stress

Being stressed is a horrible experience in and of itself. When you’re constantly under stress, it can actually make you feel that sense of imminent danger all the time. Stress sucks all of the life out of you. 

Stress also has a way of making us feel very alone. When I talk to couples who are both under a lot of stress, they almost always talk about feeling alone in that stress. Even if they’re in the exact same situation, trying to deal with it together, they tend to feel like they’re going at it by themselves. They nitpick about the subtle ways that the stress is affecting each of them differently or more.

So if you’ve been experiencing a low sex drive lately, there’s one thing I want you to know…

It is totally NORMAL to have a low sex drive right now! 

It is totally NORMAL to have your reaction to your partner’s initiation be “UGH.” (Let’s just try not to actually say that out loud, OK?!)

And this month, we’re going to be giving you recommendations and tools to reconnect with your sex drive and feel more desire! 

For now, I want to leave you with an interesting question… 

If your sex drive feels low right now, and you want to have a higher sex drive, WHY do you want to feel more desire?

That might sound like a ridiculous question, but I think so few people actually take the time to think about their personal motivations.

It’s easy for us to feel like we’re “supposed” to have a sky-high sex drive, because that’s what the media makes us believe. 

But why do YOU want to have a higher sex drive? What impact would it have on you?

P.S. Want some FREE personal coaching from Xander and me? 

We’re looking for a few volunteers from our community! Come on over to Instagram, DM us with your libido challenges and situation, and we’ll give you personal coaching in our stories! (Don’t worry, your info will be kept completely anonymous.)

P.P.S.  Looking for ways to get more support with getting your sex drive back, or balancing mismatched sex drives? Here are a few ways to work with us:

  1. Check out our course Rediscovering Desire. It’s packed full of straightforward, actionable strategies and no-nonsense advice for getting your libido back on track.
  2. Join The Passion Project – our flagship course for couples who want to create a sex life that is fulfilling and exciting to you both, by balancing mismatched sex drives and getting a concrete game-plan to reignite the spark tonight.
  3. Need personalized, one-on-one support? Book a coaching package today!

How Much Sex Should You Really Be Having?


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!