Bake a big cake — Nov. 18 to 25th is Libido Week
Ottawa event a fun, informative way to talk about sluggish sex drives, expert says
"Sex is like chocolate cake," says sex therapist Sue McGarvie. "When you don't see it, you don't want it. You're not going to get in your car to go get it. But when you see it you want it, and you want it bad."
McGarvie is on a mission to help people see that proverbial chocolate cake, and on Nov. 18, she's teaming up with pharmacist and health advocate Kent McLeod of NutriChem Pharmacy for Libido Day, an event that aims to bring the topic of sluggish sex drives out of the bedroom and into the classroom.
McLeod will kick off things with a presentation about the science behind sexual desire, and, after a comedic interlude by local funny girl Carrie Gaetz, McGarvie will take the stage with anecdotes from her 17 years as a registered sex therapist — as well as wisdom gleaned from her own (very personal) experiences.
Billed as a fun, informative session for people of all ages, the event will also serve as the launch of McGarvie's new book, Lean and Lusty: The Libido Diet, in which she details, with trademark humour and irreverence, her experiments with dieting, hormone testing, weight loss, and, of course, sex.
Part self-help, part diet guide, part sex manual, McGarvie writes in the introduction that the book "was designed to give you an understanding of your body, your sexuality and help you lose weight in the process."
Think weight and libido have nothing in common? Tell that to McGarvie, who spent more than a year testing out the connection on herself.
She lost 140 pounds, and, as she writes in her new book, "I lost the weight, got much, much hornier, and rediscovered my missing health … sometimes becoming so much more turned on was damn distracting, and I want to thank God I was born in the technological age, after the invention of sex toys. It wasn't quite a Sex in the City rabbit intervention, but let's just say I used up my share of batteries since I've increased my libido."
But while sex can be a great motivator for weight loss, it isn't just about instant gratification, says the therapist and former radio host of Sunday Night Sex with Sue.
"It's about saving marriages," says McGarvie, calling low libido the "silent epidemic" because so many women suffer from a low sex drive, and often no one talks about the situation.
"Abstinence is not an option," says McGarvie. "It's all men think about as it is, let alone when they're not getting any."
McLeod agrees that the effect of low libidos — on marriages, and society at large — is devastating. "I see women for a variety of health issues, and low libido is one of the top four complaints," says McLeod, "and yet it's not something that's well understood or addressed."
McLeod illustrates the widespread acceptance of low sex drives with the story of a man he recently met who complained of a drop in his sex drive. This man had rightly determined his prescription medication to be the cause of the problem, but said it wasn't really affecting his married life because his wife was on the same drug — and was similarly affected.
So if no one is complaining, is there a problem? What's wrong with a life without sex?
"Sex is a function of vitality," says McLeod. "Low libido is associated with not sleeping, not having any energy, feeling depressed. Is that really how you want to live your life?"
CELEBRATE LIBIDO DAY