Low Libido in Women, Why?
Haven’t been in the mood lately? No worries, this happens to even the horniest among us.There are various factors that influence sex drive and affect why you might not want to have sex. We want to emphasize though that no, you are not broken and nothing is wrong with you. It is normal to experience low libido and for your sex drive to flunctuate. Libido can ebb and flow for all sorts of reasons. But if it’s more of a persistent concern and it's causing you distress, it’s worth looking into further what libido issues are occuring and discussing with a trusted medical professional; the gynaecologist being the best first stop.
The female sex drive is nuanced, and your libido rises and falls naturally. For example, you might have a higher sex drive around the time of ovulation (the body’s way of telling you to get frisky during your fertile time, even if you’re not actively trying to become pregnant). Or, you may not feel like being sexually active during other times of the month, like when you're on your period (though if you’re into period sex, that can have it’s own pleasurable fun). Another big player when it comes to sex drive is hormonal birth control. Ironic isn’t it? Most BC pills (or patches and rings) contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are necessary for regulating your cycle. What the pill is doing is preventing ovulation. And as a result, the typical peaks and dips of those hormone levels don’t occur, so you’re not experiencing that surge of oestrogen during ovulation.
Major life changes may also impact your sex drive, like if you’ve had a death in the family, recently lost a job, or are going through a bout of depression. Remeber sexual wellness is a state of body/mind that enables you to enjoy and explore sex on your own terms and in your own time. Everything is interconnected and the biggest sex organ in the body is the brain. Your state of mind matters in the bedroom.
Causes of Low Sex Drive in Women
- Sexual dysfunction. If you experience pain during sex or can't orgasm, it can reduce your desire for sex.
- Medical diseases. An underlying hormonal condition like a thyroid disorder or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause low libido in women. Many nonsexual diseases can affect sex drive, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and neurological diseases.
- Medications. Certain prescription drugs, especially antidepressants, for example, could lower your drive or alter your ability to orgasm.
- Lifestyle habits. A glass of wine too many can affect your sex drive. The same is true with smoking since it decreases blood flow, which may dull arousal.
- Surgery. Any surgery related to your breasts or genital tract can affect your body image, sexual function and desire for sex.
- Fatigue. Exhaustion from caring for young children or aging parents can contribute to low sex drive. Fatigue from illness or surgery also can play a role in a low sex drive.
- Menopause. Estrogen levels drop during the transition to menopause. This can make you less interested in sex and cause dry vaginal tissues, resulting in painful or uncomfortable sex. Although many women still have satisfying sex during menopause and beyond, some experience a lagging libido during this hormonal change.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding. Hormone changes during pregnancy, just after having a baby and during breast-feeding can put a damper on sex drive.
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- Stress, such as financial stress or work stress
- Poor body image and low self-esteem
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Previous negative sexual experiences
- Lack of connection with your partner
- Unresolved conflicts or fights
- Poor communication of sexual needs and preferences
- Trust issues
How to Boost Libido
- Consider seeing a sex therapist.
This practitioner will manage the emotional and psychological components of low sex drive and will also address how your drop in libido might be affecting your relationship, or your desire to form a new relationship.
- Understand your relationship with sexuality
Reflect on your own relationship with sex. How did you learn about sex? What did you observe in your family growing up about how sex was talked (or not talked) about? What about attitudes to masturbation or nakedness? How do you relate to sex as an adult? As a way to feel free, to express yourself or to feel wanted? Or as something to feel ashamed about? Negative attitudes towards sex or sexual pleasure can prevent us from noticing or acting on sexual urges.
- Explore what you desire
Many of us believe that sexual desire comes first, before we engage in any type of sexual activity. This means we might wait until we feel like it before we respond to a partner’s sexual initiation. While this fits for some people, we know that there are other scientific models which explain that desire comes much later on, once sexual activity has started. Many women in long term relationships say this fits with their experience much better. These models explain that desire in women is more responsive than spontaneous, and this provides us with an opportunity to rethink our expectations, and to perhaps try to create more situations to trigger desire to help us connect sexually.
- Take an alternative
There are plenty of natural supplements on the market that promise to improve libido, but did you know that CBD can improve your sex life? CBD is the holy grail of aphrodisiacs and can increase libido as it imitates neurotransmitters in the brain, the chemicals responsible for making us feel happy, relaxed, or stressed. CBD has also been found to prevent the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Anandamide is named after the Sanskrit word for bliss because it gives feelings of pleasure and euphoria. CBD lubricants like Oomf help ease plenty of libido killers such as vaginal dryness, painful sex, and a poor headspace.
- Keep sex & desire on the agenda
All couples are vulnerable to sex losing its place in the priority list to other life concerns or tasks from time to time and this is normal. The key to maintaining good sex and keeping desire on the agenda long term is treating sex as you would any other aspect of your life and making time to nurture it. We recommend keeping your sex life on the agenda with regular chats /catch ups about how you feel it’s going, and taking the time to reflect on your own, or with a partner about where you’d like it to go in the future.