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The myth of Hypoactive Desire Disorder


You will love this fantastic question!

I have the most amazing husband in the world. I have 2 beautiful kids and I can’t seem to ignite my sex drive or get out of my grumpy funk. Any suggestions on how to find my sass, my swagger, and my desire again?

Dear Emily,

Oh, sister! You hooked a big one with this question!! Thank you for ‘taking it all off’ and letting us inside one of the greatest issues that women face in this country—what the medical community and big pharma has avariciously termed “HSDD,” or “hypoactive sexual desire disorder.” According to the Mayo clinic, 40% of women will experience “HSDD” at some point in their lives. As you can imagine, the drug companies are all over this statistic, seduced by what could be a multi-billion dollar industry, struggling to be the first to find a female Viagra. Viagra works simply by increasing more blood flow to the penis, which creates an erection. But as we all know, lack of sexual desire in a woman is not just a blood flow issue—it is that women lose interest in sex, especially with a partner with whom they once had passion. Blood flow has nothing to do with it.
Basically, Emily, for all the money they have thrown at the problem, the medical profession has, unsurprisingly, failed to solve this crisis.
But have no fear, Mama Gena is here!
The Womanly Arts are the antidote for this disorder.
Why? How?

Well, when a woman is disconnected from her desire, she is disconnected from her life force. She doesn’t just not want sex—she is actually in a state of continual disapproval of herself for her own lack of desire, which diminishes her desire even more, and diminishes her life force.
Why? There are a million and one reasons.
Each of us grew up on those dangerously grimm fairy tales that some day our prince would come, and lead us to our dreams and sexual fulfillment. And of course, not only are princes few and far between, but some of them (Prince Harry!) don’t even behave that Princely. And as much as they might want to lead a woman to her dreams and her sexual fulfillment, quite frankly, they just do not know how. They would if they could! But no one taught our guys what it is that women really really want—and certainly, no one taught a woman that her happiness and sexual fulfillment lie in her own hands, rather than in the hands of her Prince.

We have a world that is uninformed about the care and feeding of a woman’s physical, sensual and spiritual soul.
Our life force has been hung out to dry.
And as a result, our sense of our own deliciousness has evaporated.
“HSDD,” sisters!!
What to do?
How to infuse this once lush garden with life?
How to moisten the dried out sponge?
And more importantly, how to tend the garden of desire—over a lifetime—so we never ever ever ever lose our connection with our life force? You can circumvent this problem with daily, consistent practice of the Womanly Arts. Let me give you a bite to snack on.

We have to begin with the real question: how can a woman want sensual connection when she is stressed, overworked, tired, dealing with housework, homework, managing a family, and/or managing a career?
There is nothing left to give when the well is dry.
So, Sister Goddess Emily, where I am going to suggest you begin, is with filling up your well.
What do I mean?
Well, check out my first book, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. You can download the first chapter here. And take yourself though some carefully choreographed exercises, designed to dip you gently into the beautiful, cool, clear, reviving waters of pleasure. Because you have been born with the gift of 8,000 nerve endings dedicated to pleasure, there is no way you are going to be able to connect to your innate sense of enthusiasm and passion without including pleasure in your daily diet.
I know, I know, you are thinking, “Mama!! Please!!! Not one more thing for me to do!!”
But trust me—pleasure is the secret ingredient, the secret elixir that makes everything else in your life possible. Way more important than leafy greens. A woman may be able to survive without pleasure, but, she will never thrive.
And the world needs you to thrive.
And when a woman is operating at full throttle thriving, every guy (or gal) looks hot to her, including and especially her husband!!

Here are some pleasure suggestions:

1. Choose one pleasurable activity a day, just for you. Pamper yourself. If you don’t, who will?
2. In The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program, each woman is responsible for creating a Pleasure Basket for herself. She creates a collection of her favorite things for her bedside, which she is constantly tending and refilling. The contents of a pleasure basket are unique to each woman. She will choose some fun lingerie, or her favorite books, sex toys, videos, or chocolates. The purpose of this basket is to ensure that whether you are home alone, or with a partner, that your fun, your pleasure, and your joy is attended to and guaranteed. Too often, we leave our own pleasure out of the equation, in our interest in taking care of others. The pleasure basket is a great way to take care of you.
3. Flirt. Every day. With everyone. Men, women, dogs, babies. Flirtation is fun.

These small suggestions can create a big change.

Who else suffers from “HSDD”?
And what do you do to plug back in to your power source?
Please post all the tricks, tidbits and Womanly Arts that YOU use to keep the home fires burning, to inspire Sister Goddess Emily!

If you know a woman going through a dry spell in any area of her life, please share this post.

With so much love and pleasure,
Mama Gena

P.S. TONIGHT! I’m kidnapping you from your daily to-do’s and transporting you to A Place Called Rapture…the address to your passion. Join me 8-9PM ET for this free tele-class (register here)…

P.P.S. I want to answer your questions in my next blog post. Click here to ask me your juiciest Q…

This call already happened.


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29 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • S.G. little jo July 17, 2013, 2:57 pm

    That is one good tip. Not sure it’ll do for me as my dry spells last for days but disappear with no more reason they occur but I may give it a try, after all, it’s all in our (very little) head, we should be able to have more control on our sexual openness if it doesn’t depend on medical issues of course…

  • Tiiu October 23, 2012, 5:37 am

    Even if you are a Mastery graduate – these dry spells occur. Is it your man upsetting you, or not being as affectionate as he used, or you not getting enough attention – all of it hurts, if you are honest with yourself.

    My favorite tool is having a shower. Long, gentle flow of warm water over my body and especially hair washes away a lot of stress. Then there is soaping. Once to get the dust and sweat off. Twice to become more or less clean. Then a soft brush or sponge to really clean myself. And if I feel like it a really good scrub with a rough sponge or brush. Wash my hair twice, use conditioner, and then wrap myself into a terrycloth robe to dry off.

    (By then my man has called me twice and the mailbox has messages from all old boyfriends. How do they know???)

    Then there are creams for my face, décolletage, bust, and the whole body. Gosh, it feels good! And I am the queen of life!

    Love ya!

    SG Tiiu

  • margarita la cholita October 14, 2012, 7:03 pm

    i highly recommend the book “seductress” by betsy prioleau—her character sketches of historical seductresses helped me find my inner hedonist—btw i am listening to jimi hendrix as i type this—oh yeah!—peace joy and love, yall

    • S.G. little jo July 17, 2013, 2:50 pm

      thx for sharing margarita!

  • Barbara October 9, 2012, 2:37 pm

    This is probably not the answer you were expecting, but this has given me a great deal of pleasure recently. I’ve been do regular “brain training” exercises – computer games designed to strengthen the connections in your brain by These games improved my sharpness of vision and peripheral vision so now pirouettes in dance class are a joy. And improved my hand/eye coordination so that playing the piano became so much easier that I forgot about the time, and actually strained my left hand due to playing longer than usual – because it was such fun. So much in life is easy now. I’m not bogged down and struggling. I feel smart and quick and lively. How’s that for pleasurable?
    SG Barbara

  • Ruby Red October 9, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Ahhhh……let’s not forget reading some woman-positive erotica and/or looking at some juicy woman centered erotic videos. (Nina Hartley is over 50 and still making great woman-positive porn online!) I love Smart Balls too; learned about ’em here from a hot sister goddess!
    These are simple basic ways to remind yourself how fun sex is. You can juice yourself up while tacklng the bigger questions. MMMmmmm……..

    • mama gena October 9, 2012, 1:37 pm

      our community is such an incredible hotbed of ideas and inspiration!

    • Maria October 9, 2012, 5:32 pm

      Oh what are smart balls, I want to know more?

    • S.G. little jo July 17, 2013, 2:45 pm

      Ruby Red, you didn’t say enough here… Maria and me are asking for MORE hot links to women-positive eroticas, books and movies so names please, you must help us like the ‘hot’ S.G. you mentioned helped you, this is what sosority is about after all, sharing the goodies 😉

  • Deborah Smith October 9, 2012, 12:43 pm

    I am usually an “over the top” hotty. so when I experienced HSDD (did not know ’til now it had a title!) I did some deep interior looking for the why. It was grief. My mom had passed and my body’s processing of the grief left no passion for sex. Accepting this I made sure to take extra especially good care of myself, communicated this knowledge to my spouse, consciously focused on grieving the lose of and saying good-bye to my mom and got lots of extra sleep. I was back to my sexy self within a couple of weeks.

    • mama gena October 9, 2012, 1:36 pm

      deborah- it was so good for you to give yourself the time to grieve. xo

    • Maria October 9, 2012, 5:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing that Deborah it is exactly whats happened to me, the thing that worried me so much is I’ve only been in the relationship for 9 months and its long distance so normally I can’t wait to make love, but I lost my mum 4 months ago and the sex was just not happening nor was could I ever achieve orgasm, it upset me a lot. I did wonder if it was connected to the grief and will now take on board what you mention helped you.

  • BSG Glitzy Cougar Karen October 9, 2012, 10:59 am

    Last night, some old “victim” story hit me, so I called a sister goddess and “spring cleaned” (a wonderful tool which you will find in the book). My misery ended there in laughter.
    Then this morning I awoke, still a bit cranky, so I went to my closet, pulled out a hot outfit and outrageous heels and lipstick (even before I brushed my teeth…oh no!), put on some Bollywood music for 10 minutes, as I did my own version of belly-dance and S-factor, in front of a full length mirror and told myself how adorable I am.
    Then I did some yummy uplifting reading, gratitudes, a quick meditation and sang, loud and proud. There’s a lot here. Pick one. And read her book. Mama’s got it going on and there are no drugs involved:)

    • Hil October 9, 2012, 7:26 pm

      You are inspiring!

      The other day I put on some gorgeous new toenail polish – and then wore closed-toe shoes. I loved knowing I made myself pretty, for MYSELF.

  • Sheri October 9, 2012, 10:48 am

    Happy to report – in full recovery from a life that sounded JUST like Emily’s!! It takes maintenance. Like fitness. But if I can do it, so can anyone. 🙂

    • Rose October 9, 2012, 7:27 pm

      Yay! So awesome. 🙂

  • lea October 9, 2012, 10:19 am

    I would definitely recommend a trusted therapist to help you discover what the true cause of your HSDD is. It might be more complex than it appears to. Could be years of accumulated resentment towards your partner (even towards his amazingness haha) or simply chronic burn out due to overgiving….which simply is a boundary issue.

    From my own experience …after few years of relationship I tend to loose myself and loose my sexual identity. I give and nurture and give….even my partner would notice its toomuch. After starting therapy I started asking…why I give so much? What would happen if I gave less? I heard this loud answer” you would need to learn to receive and face discomfort at times, as giving can become a soothing tool and distraction too”

    We know very little about your story but whatever happens now can definitely change.o Therapy is an option. Also, what keeps me sane and very turned on on life is practising SFactor, Sheila kelleys sensual fitness program for women. Have you tried it? Loads of fun and very healing at same time.


    • Deborah Smith October 9, 2012, 12:36 pm

      Dear Lea,
      Nice insight on the habit of giving becoming a soothing and distracting tool to avoid what we need to do for ourselves or ask for from others.

  • Andie October 9, 2012, 10:09 am

    Mama G,
    Nothing taught me the truth of being the source of my own pleasure more than not having sex (with anyone else in the room) for over a year. (Not to worry, my Prince, is now currently in my sights and he doesn’t eve know his world is about to be rocked). Not having to do anything but please myself, and keeping myself juicy in spite of the fact that I haven’t been interested in any of them men interested in me has been a very interesting study. Becoming both the object and subject of one’s own desire is sort of the answer to everything.

    • francine October 9, 2012, 11:56 am

      I love the idea of becoming the object and subject of my own desire.! Still as a a meditation practitioner I was taught desire was bad. Whoops another control by one more religion. How about it is all good no more judgments just acceptance that everything in my life is there to connect me to the source of my being and that is always good. thanks Andi for your post.

    • S.G. little jo July 17, 2013, 2:23 pm

      I’m getting to that conclusion myself after the same physical (not sexual) loneliness and discoverning Betty Dodson, you should check her site…

      Discovering you can be you own object of desire and you own lover is giving you an active part and a responsability in creating more orgasms in your life which as we S.G’s all know, provide number of goodies to make us thrive and be happier.

      On top, cherry on the cake, becoming one’s object of desire and one’s lover is creating a total new relationship to ourself and a new way to know ourself better sexually and mentally that we can share w/ our Prince – if there is one – to enhance the relationship. Pretty cool uh?

  • Linmayu October 9, 2012, 8:26 am

    I would say that the majority of women I know have the opposite problem: plenty of desire, but no safe place to express or fulfill it–even within a relationship. Lots of MEN seem to have HSDD, and they blame *us* for feeling alive and juicy when they can’t rise to the occasion. It can make a girl really start to doubt herself, even *loathe* herself, just for being a girl, being alive, and having desires, and it can be really hard to plug back in, even years after the damaging relationship has ended…

    • Maria October 9, 2012, 5:35 pm

      I hear you on that, that has been my experience too in my last relationship it took me 4 years to recover and allow another man near me, and I still have problems with quote painful sex ie. being tense all because I took on another man’s baggage and hangups.

      • Hil October 9, 2012, 7:25 pm

        I agree with Maria! I was using lubricants because I was on the Pill, which medically can dry us ladies up. But, then I met a new guy after my separation, and lubrication is NOT a problem. Same Pill, different SEX. That may be TMI, but my point is that the internal sex drive is something we need to listen to – and take care of. Now I know to get out the toys, hit on my man when I’M horny, and more!

    • S.G. little jo July 17, 2013, 10:45 am

      Aweful situation indeed. Some guys are just simply less enthusiastic to pleasure for many reasons like health issues or/and mental conditioning so please don’t blame your good own self for being desireful, you know it’s the only way to go to be happy… So keep on pleasuring yourself and your confidence in life will grow back, trust me 🙂

  • Ellen Levin or SG WARRIOR October 9, 2012, 7:13 am

    THANK YOU MAMA G! I can’t be reminded often enough that my pleasure resides with me! YES! and I’d forgotten about the call……WOW! HEAR YOU TONIGHT… thank you so so so much for being a revolutionary for women! womankind!

    I find that my early morning daily ritual of yoga, biking, eating what I crave (fruit/coffee/whatever), self pleasuring and more gives my every day a big BOOST.

  • Divine Source October 9, 2012, 6:40 am

    What a great question and fabulous answer! YES to pleasure all ways! 🙂

    Firstly, some years ago I made a pact with myself to follow my bliss no matter what…to make my living from my creativity…artist/writer…doing it my way (as the song goes). This makes me feel good even when there is doubt.

    Secondly, on a day to day basic, I have trained my mind to only focus on the good in my life and give thanks at every opportunity. I remember to give thanks for my creativity and all the people who have bought my art, published my art, who compliment me, say I inspire them and who love me.

    Thirdly I PAINT and this always connects me with my sensual, sexual nature….yes it is a kind of aphrodisiac! As the creative juices begin to flow, it connects me to my source.

    I also do dance breaks, eat what pleases me (this is usually healthy and I don’t drink, smoke or eat rubbish food), have a luxurious bath in the middle of the day if I desire, flirt with anyone and enjoy their joy, take a nap, talk to my son, read him a story even though he is 12, give myself a pedicure, wear a nice outfit for the hell of it…be cheeky…love and approve of myself no matter what. And I’m even friends with my ex husband now 😉

    The SWA ‘tools’ are now a way of life…
    Loads of love,
    Divine Source xxx

    • Deborah Smith October 9, 2012, 12:34 pm

      SG Divine Source, this is such a great laundry list. Thank you!!!

      • mama gena October 9, 2012, 1:36 pm

        inspiring list, thank you!!!