| Why Have I Lost My Sex Drive?
A low sex drive (low libido) is relatively common in women, but they often feel the doctor's surgery is not the place to discuss lack of 'mojo'. It's also important to differentiate between women who have always had a low libido and those who develop one. Many women suffer in silence, but as many as 1 in 3 sexually active women suffer from it at some time in their life.
So What Causes It?
There are a number of possible medical causes. A blood test to check for anemia or thyroid problems is important, and underlying diseases like diabetes, heart problems or kidney disease are relevant. Some women experience a loss of libido in the menopause. Hormonal imbalance needs to be tested as excessive amounts of prolactin may be a cause, and low libido can be one of the first effects of depression.
Is It Something I’m Doing?
Excess alcohol consumption is a cause, so stick to your units. Recreational drugs such as cannabis can be a reason, as can prescribed medications like tranquillizers, certain antidepressants and some contraceptives. Brands of contraceptive pill that have been around for decades - containing the progesterone hormones norethisterone or levonorgestrel - can typically hijack our sex drive.
Is It In My Head?
It's been said that the brain is the most important sexual organ, so anything going on in your head may cause your libido to lag. This can range from stress and anxiety to relationship issues, past sexual experiences and hang-ups.
What Should I Do?
The fact that there is no quick fix means women often just put up and shut up, but low libido for longer than three months deserves a visit to the doctor. Underlying causes can be ruled out, and if the cause doesn't seem physical, the psychological can be tackled. Psychosexual counselors are excellent and often recommend you and your partner go back to basics and start flirting and dating again.
Not Wanting Sex After A Baby Is Normal, Right?
Fatigue is undoubtedly one thing to put the fire out, and there is nothing more tiring than a new baby. Add the hormonal fluxes and the physical consequences of delivery, and it's not surprising libido can be low. Mentally you are too tired, and physically you may be too sore. But this generally resolves. Although you may not be up for sex, don't lose the intimacy of a cuddle or a kiss. Keeping tactile is very therapeutic! However, remember that a low libido may also be a sign of postpartum depression, so chat to your midwife or doctor about how you're feeling. See also postpartum sex for additional information.
What The Future Holds
Some drugs, specifically testosterone and sildenafil (Viagra), have been given off license to women suffering from low libido. This means that although they have been prescribed, doctors don't have a license to do so for this reason. The good news for women is that a drug is in the pipeline - flibanserin (proposed trade name Girosa) - so libido enhancement could be looking up.
Avoiding The Issue
Support from your partner is of paramount importance if this is going to be resolved, so talk about it - shying away leads to having perfunctory mechanical sex and makes the problem worse. Remember that our sexual brain works on the premise of libido, then arousal and finally orgasm. Without step 1, steps 2 and 3 are often unobtainable. It's important to make sure your partner realizes that the female libido has been likened to damp wood - frustrating to ignite, but persist and you'll start a blaze!
1. Fatigue kills your libido so get some sleep.
2. Pelvic floor exercises (also called Kegels) can improve your sex life, so get squeezing. And although discussions on uterine prolapse and postpartum perineum may not be your thing, it's worth checking out.
What are pelvic floor exercises?
How do you do pelvic floor exercises?
Menopause kills the libido. Not necessarily - many women feel sexually liberated and enjoy an even better sex life. Read about sex and the menopause.
Dangers of stress: What stress can do to the body.
How menopause affects the body: Symptoms and problems.
Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions
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