We’ve all been there – it’s a Tuesday night, you’ve just eaten a mammoth amount of spaghetti carbonara, and you’re wearing a grubby oversized t-shirt. Basically, you’re not feeling your best. And yet your partner is still in the mood. Fear not, gang, low libido in women is more common than you may think.
Not tonight, dear
Not being in the mood for sex is common even in healthy relationships. The chances of your partner’s sex drive being an exact replica of your own are remote at best. So, it’s completely normal to just sometimes simply not feel like doing it. Maybe you’re too tired from work or you’ve got the night bloats again.
However, low libido in women isn’t just about exhaustion or periods. It also has many a physiological explanation.
What is low libido in women?
When it’s not down to your period, chronic low libido in women can be caused by Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, or HSDD. And it’s biggest symptom is a long-term, complete disinterest in intimacy of any fashion.
Symptoms can include:
- Few or no sexual thoughts or fantasies
- Disinterest in initiating sex
- No pleasure from genital stimulation
- Difficulty maintaining vaginal lubrication
- Little or no interest in sexual activity
Now as we mentioned, your libido will naturally fluctuate, not just during your cycle, but during your life. Stress, illness, Menopause, and just life in general can all impact your sex life.
But, if your libido disappeared over six months ago, and it’s starting to affect your self-esteem and quality of life, you might be living with HSDD.
What can cause low libido in women?
HSDD can be caused by both physical and emotional factors. These can include:
- Low levels of Estrogen or Testosterone
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Fatigue and stress
- Certain medications
How do doctors diagnose low libido in women?
There’s currently no specific test to identify HSDD. Which means healthcare professionals rely on a detailed description of your symptoms and the impact that low libido is having on your quality of life.
A pelvic exam can also help doctors figure out if there’s anything physical going on that might be contributing. And you might need a blood test to check that your hormone levels aren’t playing up.
How can hormones cause low libido in women?
During and after Menopause, Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone levels are all over the place. And that can lead to low libido.
Here’s why: The drop in Progesterone during Menopause can lead to Estrogen dominance. That basically means there’s nothing around to balance it out, and as a result, Estrogen can get a bit pushy.
Too much Estrogen can and often does lead to a lower libido. It also causes vaginal dryness and, God forbid, decreased clitoral sensitivity. And the double-whammy of an Estrogen and Progesterone imbalance can also end in mood swings, weight gain, and exhaustion. None of which are particularly conducive to sex.
And then there’s Testosterone. While this hormone is usually associated with men, Testosterone actually heightens sexual arousal and response in women. Menstrual cycles and Menopause both come with a lower Testosterone level, leading to, say it with us, a lower libido.
How can I avoid HSDD?
Well, if you’re taking a medication that has low libido as a side effect, your doctor may lower the dose to help your symptoms. That’s the easy one.
However, if emotional factors are playing a role, then they – and we, always – recommend talk therapy. Whether it’s anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem, counseling or just chatting with a friend can make a huge difference. And maybe consider trying some new techniques that might help you maximize your shmushing pleasure.
And if it turns out that your hormones are playing up, an Estrogen cream or such, applied directly to the vagina might be your best bet. But please talk to a healthcare type before trying this.
That said, it’s not just the doctor who can help you with your HSDD symptoms. You are one of your best treatment options. How? There are a ton of things you can do to take charge of your emotional and physical wellbeing. And they can all reduce stress and fatigue, boost your energy levels, and enhance your general awesomeness:
- Exercise frequently and regularly
- Practice stress-relieving activities, such as mindfulness
- Set time aside for sex
- Experiment with sex toys, different positions, and roleplaying
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Now, we know some, or lots, of those things, are easier said than done. But making just a couple of those changes could make all the difference.
Should I be worried if I have a low libido?
Living with low libido can definitely affect both your mental and physical well-being, particularly if you’ve received an HSDD diagnosis. And let’s face it, less sex at home raises all sorts of issues, no pun intended. Not only can it put a huge strain on your relationship, it can also lead to depression and anxiety.
In fact, a US study found that those living with HSDD were nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression, fatigue, back pain, and memory problems.
That said, always remember that your sex drive fluctuates naturally throughout the course of both your menstrual cycle and your entire life. Sometimes you just don’t feel up to it, and that’s okay! In fact, during times like this, a deep emotional connection can be just as rewarding as fantastic sex.
As always gang, if you recognize anything that we’ve talked about, please tell someone. Preferably a healthcare professional who can help you figure out what’s going on. And in the meantime, never feel bad for not feeling sexy.