Women go through a lot of physical, emotional, and physiological changes throughout their lives. Due to this, they experience drastic changes in their sex drive at every new phase of their lives. Pregnancy, menopause, menarche, and postpartum hormonal changes are specific examples of significant physiological changes that cause low sex drive in women.
Although it is very typical for women to experience low sex drive for shorter periods, the persistence of this condition might suggest the occurrence of a medical condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
What are the signs of low sex drive in women that you might see?
Depending upon your age, gender, relationship status, physical and physiological well being, surrounding conditions and a lot of other factors, a person or a couple might go through different phases with their sexual desires.
When it comes to low sex drive in women, there is no definition as such to explain the condition. But there are some signs and symptoms that you can check for, to indicate low sex drive in women:
- You may experience a lack of interest in any kind of sexual activities, may it be making out, having sex or masturbation.
- You may feel persistent disinterest in sexual activity for prolonged periods
- Stress, lowered self-esteem and extreme concern for your sudden lack of sexual desires
- Lesser or no sexual thoughts or fantasies regarding sex
- Reduced-intensity of sensations when stimulated for sex
- Total disinterest in initiating any sexual activity
- Getting irritated when the other person tries to start any sexual act
- Feeling less or no pleasure at all when having sex or masturbating
- You might even feel physical pain when you forcefully try to conduct a sexual act
What causes low sex drive in women?
To initiate the treatment, one needs to know the reason behind a lowered sex drive. One’s sexual desire is related to several factors including but not limited to: emotional intimacy with the partner, psychological state of the person, past experiences and beliefs regarding sex and related activities, etc. A problem in any of the factors mentioned above might be the cause behind low sex drive in women. Your physical well being matters equally here. Below is a list of probable causes:
1. Medical/physical causes
Several medical conditions, medications, and physiological changes cause a low sex drive in women, some of which are as follows:
Some women experience pain during penetration, which makes it difficult for them the enjoy the coitus, which in turn lowers their desire to have sex.
Cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and arterial diseases can severely affect a woman’s sex drive
Diseases like diabetes, obesity, thyroid, and PCOD play a significant role in lowering sex drive in women.
The worst part about lifestyle disorders is that, not only the diseases contribute to destroying a woman’s sex drive, but the medications taken for them play a similar role, as well. Specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs also contribute a lot to this phenomenon.
2. Psychological well-being
This is an unquestionable fact that the well being of your sex life depends a lot on your mental health. Any deviations or deterioration of your mental health adversely affects your sexual desires.
Body image issues
Most women are incredibly concerned about how their partner will perceive them during sex. Stretch marks, love handles, acne scars, body hair, pigmentation, breast size, butt size, and a lot of other features bother women before or while having sex. You might get so conscious about it that you forget to live in the moment and enjoy with your partner.
If you are a married woman who also has children, you know how stressful it is to handle the responsibilities of children and household chores. By the time you can think of having sex, exhaustion takes over, and you are compelled to put that thought to rest. Such prolonged stressful periods lower the sex drive in women over some time.
Trust issues/past experiences
A lot of you might have had bad experiences when it comes to relationships. Being cheated on, disrespectful behaviour by the partner, commitment issues, etc. can create trust issues which don’t allow you to indulge easily in sexual practices.
History of sexual abuse
Rape, sexual abuse by a partner or relative or a stranger, marital rape, etc. are specific causes that might strongly affect your sex drive and perception of sex.
Emotional intimacy is a crucial factor in lovemaking. It may be okay for a lot of people to indulge in sexual practices with a person without being emotionally attached or connected to them. But a lot of you might as well find it extremely difficult to have physical intimacy in a situation like that.
Depression and low self-esteem
Depression, as we know it, affects all the aspects of our lives. It is challenging for a person with depression to have a healthy sexual relationship with oneself or a partner in that case.
3. Alcohol or drug abuse
While a glass of alcohol may increase your sexual responses and arousal, but chronic consumption of alcohol is proved to be having a suppressive effect on libido. While you may feel that you are more fierce and free in bed after consuming alcohol, the psychological impact totally contrasts with the recorded physiological effect.
Being drunk makes your orgasms feel more intense than they are, but in reality, alcohol consumption contributes to longer orgasmic latencies and decreasing the intensity of orgasms. Some people prefer taking certain drugs before having sex, to enhance their performance, confidence, and pleasure. Taking medications without prescription might help you gain better sexual experience for shorter periods, but it has a side effect too. Prolonged exposure to drugs might make your nervous system habituated to stimulation from drugs.
People with less than five hours of sleep or insomnia are seen to have decreased libido. There is a shift in hormone levels, which causes low sex drive in women, which in turn can also create a problem in reproduction.
The junk food that you wholeheartedly love is ruining your sex life. Surprised? The dangerous chemical compound involved in the preparation of such food and the trans-fat and sugars present in them cause reduced blood flow, inflammation and are responsible for low sex drive in women. Also, overeating junk foods cause weight gain, which kills your sex drive faster than anything else.
Lack of physical activity
You may find it challenging to perform well in bed if all you do during the day is being a couch potato. A sedentary lifestyle makes your muscles weak and stiff. In fact, regular exercise enhances sexual arousal in women, thereby increasing their sex drive.
How can you cure low sex drive in women?
Increasing your sex drive might be a difficult task for some, but it is not impossible. Read on to know how you can boost your libido to get your sex life on track.
Your lifestyle preferences matter a lot when it comes to your sex life, and hence, a lot of problems can be cured just by making appropriate changes in your everyday routine.
Improve your sleeping patterns
According to recent research, people with defective sleeping patterns have a hormonal imbalance that results in a lack of sex drive. Improving your sleeping patterns bring up the hormone levels and help in restoring your sex drive. Try to get at least six hours of undisturbed sleep on the proper time. Avoid staying up till late for prolonged periods without any reason as low sleep duration, and poor sleep quality are endocrine disrupters. According to the journal of sex and medicine, having an extra hour of sleep can increase your sex drive by 14%.
Exercise indirectly increases your sex drive as it improves your mental health. It is said to be reducing stress and anxiety and improving your overall body image. A moderate amount of physical activity can help a lot in increasing your libido. Moreover, exercise enables you to strengthen your muscles, which in turn helps in improving your performance in bed and reducing performance pressure. Exercise also enhances your blood flow and circulation, which again, are the two most important factors for sexual responses in an individual.
Give up unhealthy addictions
Quit drinking and smoking. Yes, sex gets crazy good after you quit such addictions. Giving up on alcohol makes it easier for you to develop an emotional connection with your partner and have a totally conscious experience of sex. As alcohol reduces the intensity of orgasms in women, giving up on drinking will directly help you improve your experience in bed. Avoid deliberately taking drugs to enhance sex might give you momentary pleasures, but it holds its sexual health risks. Drug abuse reduces your fertility as well.
These are the foods that boost your sex drive. Women with low sex drive can rely on aphrodisiacs for increasing sexual pleasure and performance. There is a tradition of drinking saffron milk on the first night after the wedding. Almost all of us might’ve also heard that oysters are aphrodisiac in nature. Apart from that, there are a number of such foods that one can have to boost your libido. Here is a list of few such foods:
- Pine nuts
The list is long, but most of them have a similar effect of increasing stamina, calming nerves, relieving stress, increasing blood flow, or even altering hormones in a beneficial manner.
Sometimes, your doctor might prescribe medication for increasing your sex drive. Changing already prescribed medicines for other nonsexual medical conditions is also a widespread practice by doctors to help improve the libido of women with low sex drive. For example, antidepressants like Prozac and Sarafem reduce your sex drive to a significant extent. Whereas changing these medicines and switching to Wellbutrin might help to enhance the sex drive of a woman. Along with that, a drug called Flibanserin is widely accepted and prescribed by doctors all over the world. These medications might have their side effects, and hence, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking any meds.
Counselling is one of the best treatments when it comes to low sex drive in women. Women are emotionally inclined creatures, which makes them prone to developing disinterest in sex at the slightest of a bad experience. Due to that, counselling is prescribed to most women before trying any medication.
Many times, women have the problem of dryness in vagina or shrinking of the vagina, which lowers the sex drive of the woman. Hormone therapy can help you in such conditions. Hormones available in various forms (pills, patches, injections) are taken to compensate for deficiency or defect in their production, and hence, it helps you maintain a healthy sex life.
Maintaining Healthy Sex Drive in Women is Important
These are just some causes and treatments for low sex drive in women. One may or may not reach to the roots of this problem directly. But you can always make some healthy changes in your lifestyle to restore your sex drive. Healthy communication between the partners is the key to good sex. If you are not communicating correctly, the emotional distance between both partners increases leading to a reduced sexual desire.
Hectic schedules might as well be a nuisance when it comes to sex. It is advisable to set aside some time to communicate and make love with your partner. You can also try to add some spice to your sex life by changing locations, using sex toys, or changing timings for having sex.
May it be a physical, physiological, or psychological problem, you can find your solution accordingly. Communicate well, visit a doctor, ditch your bad habits, and have a healthy sexual relationship with your partner.