Low sex drive or loss of libido is a common problem among women in which they complain about a lack of sexual desire or interest. Sexual desire naturally fluctuates over the years with highs and lows that are affected by the environment, life changes, hormonal changes, and even some medication as well.
One of the key issues women deal with is uncertainty about how much sexual desire is even considered normal in the first place because of the taboo around discussing sexual interest, in particular female sexual interest and pleasure. There is a problem when the person has no sexual interest, and this state is causing them distress.
Signs and symptoms of low sex drive
- Having no interest in any type of sexual activity.
- Never or only seldom having sexual fantasies or thoughts.
- Being concerned or distressed by your lack of sexual activity or fantasies.
Causes of low sex drive
1. Psychological and emotional causes
Your mental state can and does affect sexual desire and interest. Psychological causes of low sex drive include:
- Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
- Stress, including work and financial stress
- Stress about the low libido issue ends up perpetuating the problem
- Poor body image
- Low self-esteem
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Previous negative sexual experiences
2. Relationship issues
For many women, an emotional connection is essential when it comes to sexual intimacy. Decreased sex drive may be an indicator of ongoing issues in the relationship.
- Lack of connection with your partner
- Unresolved conflict or fights
- Sexual dissatisfaction or unsatisfactory sex
- Trust issues
- Partner performance problems
- Lack of emotional satisfaction with the relationship
- Being in a long-term relationship
3. Aging and hormonal changes
Hormonal changes and imbalances can be caused by pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum, and menopause.
Menopause – estrogen and testosterone levels drop which causes vaginal dryness which can cause painful and uncomfortable sex decreasing overall interest in it. Even with lube as a solution to vaginal dryness, some women still experience a lagging libido during the transition to menopause. Health: The Symptoms Of Early Menopause, Causes And Treatments
Pregnancy and breastfeeding – fatigue, changes in the body, and the pressures of pregnancy and caring for a baby can lead to changes in your sexual desire.
4. Physical causes
A wide range of physical ailments and causes can impact sexual interest including:
a) Sexual problems
If a woman experiences pain during sex or cannot orgasm, it can reduce her sex drive.
b) Vaginal dryness
An important player in low sex drive is vaginal dryness and it can happen at any point in a woman’s life. Vaginal dryness is a condition in which the vagina does not produce enough lubricant during intercourse. A UK study found that only 25% of women sought any kind of help for vaginal dryness although 17% of women aged 18-50 experienced vaginal dryness during sex. Without adequate lubrication, sex will be painful and far from pleasurable which means she will want less of it. One quick and simple solution is using lube while having sex. Relationships: Benefits Of Using Lube While Having Sex
c) Health or medical issues
When the body is focused on healing, it is unlikely to put effort into a sex drive. Certain illnesses including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and neurological diseases may diminish sexual interest.
Some prescription medications such as antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs are known for causing low libido. Birth control pills and blood pressure medication may also decrease sexual desire and interest. Antihistamines taken to alleviate allergy symptoms can cause vaginal dryness.
e) Lifestyle habits
Habits such as smoking, using drugs, and drinking can affect sex drive. Smoking decreases blood flow which may dull arousal. In men, excessive drinking can lead to temporary erectile dysfunction affectionately referred to as whiskey dick. For women, it can make you tired compromising your ability to achieve orgasm.
Physical fatigue from the daily stresses of life including working and parenting can contribute to low sex drive. Fatigue from illness or surgery can also play a part.
Remedies and treatment
1. Sex therapy and/or relationship counselling
This provides a way to address any mental health or underlying unaddressed relationship issues that may be affecting sexual interest or desire. Therapy can be individual or for the couple or a combination of both because sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction affect both parties and it would be good if they were discussed together.
2. Reconnect with your partner
Get to know your partner again, try spending time together, and rekindling the spark especially for people in long-term relationships. It’s easy over time to let relationships fizzle out as you deal with daily life stressors but trying to bring back the spark can heat things up in the bedroom again.
Studies show that women who exercise frequently become aroused quicker and orgasm faster as well. This may also help with the body image issues if there are any.
Exercise may also help in dealing with stress and improve overall mental health.
4. Change diet
One study found that eating a lot of processed foods affects the hormones negatively. One study found that eating sugar significantly reduced the amount of free testosterone circulating in the blood. This is not just a problem for men because a low level of testosterone is linked to low sex drive in women as well.
Limit alcohol and caffeine intake and consider quitting smoking and the use of recreational drugs.
5. Testosterone therapy
Although it has not been approved as a treatment, many gynaecologists recommend the use of testosterone therapy from women with a low sex drive to restore testosterone to normal or pre-menopausal levels.
6. CBD oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an oil derived from the cannabis plant. It has been used to treat a wide range of symptoms in women holistically, including hormonal imbalance. Both premenopausal and postmenopausal women have reported positive changes in sexual health from its use. CBD oil has compounds that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow when directly applied to the vulva. Women who have used it in this way reported intense feelings of pleasure, decreased levels of inflammation, decreased pain, and more relaxed muscles.
7. Experiment with herbal supplements
Herbal supplements such as Asian ginseng have been shown to increase sex drive in women. Maca root is another herb that has been found to increase sex drive in women. Women who used maca root saw a decrease in other menopause symptoms including anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha helps treat female sexual distress and Yohimbine has been shown to improve orgasm dysfunction. Definitely check with your doctor before experimenting.
8. Check-in with your doctor
Begin by checking and addressing any medical conditions that may be contributing to your low libido such as thyroid issues. Review any medication you are on with a doctor to see if adjusting the dosage or changing drugs may help.
If your partner has the issue check out The Underlying Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction