Women are complex creatures, and we all know well that psychological and physical problems are either intrinsically linked, or have a knock-on effect on each other. This is certainly true of our libidos… when these starts to decline, it can leave us feeling quite uncomfortable – especially when we are in a relationship. Loss of libido can happen for a large number of reasons, so working out what to do about it means understanding the cause.
Loss of libido (sexual desire) is common enough to have been given a medical name: hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). It can happen to women of any age, but is more common in older women or those who have had children. In fact, one study concluded that almost a third of women between the ages of 18 to 59 lose interest in sex at some point, and this may not be just a psychological problem.
Why the loss of libido?
Although there is no golden rule as to what constitutes a healthy libido or sex life, if you have suddenly lost your libido and feel this is a problem, it is worth trying to get to the bottom of why it has gone. When a woman’s sex drive declines, this may be down to a single dominant factor or a combination of factors. If the cause isn’t exactly clear to you, it may help to understand some of the most common reasons for loss of libido:
- Personal or professional stress
- Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
- Declining hormones due to age (the perimenopause and menopause) or medical issues
- Relationship problems/lack of confidence in the relationship
- Lack of self-confidence or confidence in bed
- Physical exhaustion
Some of these reasons may seem obvious, but there are times when loss of libido comes out of nowhere and the cause is hard to pinpoint. If your libido isn’t coming back in a hurry, or disappears and returns intermittently, there could be an underlying issue to uncover.
Other causes of loss of libido:
- Vaginsmus: negative anticipation of sexual activity or painful intercourse
- Medications and hormone-altering contraception
- Drugs and alcohol
- Hormonal issues due to underactive thyroid
What to do if your libido has declined
As mentioned above, it is difficult to tackle the problem if you don’t know what the cause is. However, if you have pinpointed the reason for your loss of libido, the solution may be obvious. For instance, if it is due to excessive use of drugs or alcohol, refraining from these substances is key. If the problem is exhaustion, more rest is required. For relationship problems, counseling or communication may be the answer. The same goes for depression, anxiety and stress; medication may help, but the root causes must be addressed for a long-term solution.
If the cause of lost libido is menopause, some women find success with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), although this does have potential side effects and should be thoroughly researched. In the case of vaginismus, there are ways to increase your confidence in bed, which may lead to a libido boost.
For those who have experienced loss of libido after taking medication or birth control, ask your Doctor if there is an alternative you can try. Also, remember that sex is not the only way to maintain intimacy. Affection, kissing and foreplay could all help to boost your libido, and even when you don’t feel like it, once you get into it, this can help to kick start sexual feelings once again.
Loss of libido doesn’t have to be permanent, and we hope this article has given you some hope or inspiration. If so, please check out the other articles in our blog for helpful tips and insights on all things to do with women’s health.