Street | Sexpert

Ask the Sexpert

This week, she discusses sex apathy.

Dear Sexpert,

I don’t really enjoy sex. I thought I just had a bad experience with my first partner, but I’ve had other sexual partners since, and I still feel pretty underwhelmed by the experience. Am I asexual or frigid or something?

- Apathetic


Dear Apathetic,

There are a lot of reasons why you might not enjoy sex that have little to do with being asexual or apathetic to sex. Generally speaking, there are a number of factors (psychological, physiological, chemical or some combination of these) that contribute to sexual arousal. For instance, you might be taking prescription medication that negatively impacts your libido, or you may have had an upbringing that made sex and sexual pleasure taboo. You might be experiencing hormonal changes, insomnia, depression or some other illness. Consuming alcohol and/or drugs before engaging in sexual activity may also decrease libido or enjoyment. You might be fearful of pregnancy, contracting an STI or being vulnerable with another person. You might just be insufficiently aroused by the setting, your partner or the foreplay. It is also possible that you may be able to become aroused but are unable to achieve orgasm because of any of these factors. Since it can be frustrating to determine the cause on your own, start by talking to a clinician at Sexual Health and Wellness Services. They may be able to help figure out what is impacting your sexual satisfaction.

There are also people who are asexual, meaning they do not experience sexual attraction or have no desire for sexual intimacy. These individuals may have been sexual at some point in their lives and may still have sexual urges, but do not desire to have sex with other people. This does not mean they abstain from relationships, since they may still experience romantic attraction and have emotional needs. As such, they might enter into romantic relationships with partners, both asexual and not. As long as there is an understanding between partners, these relationships can work with good communication and compromise. For more information about asexuality, visit

Sexual apathy (aka hypogyneismus, sexual aversion, hypoactive sexual desire, frigidity or inhibited sexual desire) is characterized by a low level of interest in sex. A person may never have had sexual desire or interest (primary sexual apathy) or may have had sexual desire in the past, but not currently (secondary sexual apathy).

You should also know that sexual arousal and expression vary from person to person. It may also vary for one person over time, so what you are feeling now may be temporary. In addition to talking to a clinician, you might try communicating your concerns to your partner and exploring steps to improve intimacy.

- The Sexpert

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