Your sexual health is an important part of your overall health, but it’s an individual thing. There are no rules as to how much sex you should be having, despite what your partner may claim. If your fizzling sex drive is affecting your relationship or your personal happiness, however, know that it doesn’t have to. You were born to be a sexual being, but sometimes, the sex drive just gets stuck in neutral. In fact, 40 percent of women complain of low libido. To rev up your engine, you need to know what is causing your disinterest — and then get ready to move from idle to overdrive.
First things first: Identify the root of your low sexual desire. A host of issues can cause you to feel less than hot to trot in the bedroom; they can be either physical or psychological, or a combination of the two. Below are the most common causes:
PHYSICAL CAUSES OF LOW LIBIDO
- Illness. Kidney disease, neurological diseases, coronary artery disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and many other conditions and illnesses can affect your sex drive.
- Medications. Many drugs — such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, chemotherapy drugs, antihistamines — can be a sex buzzkill.
- Alcohol and drug abuse.
- Obesity or anorexia. Women who are severely over or underweight may be deficient in certain sex hormones and therefore experience lack of sexual interest.
- Surgery. Surgeries related to the breasts or genitals can affect desire.
- Pain or discomfort during sex. Pain during sex (dyspareunia) or an inability to achieve orgasm (anorgasmia) can kill your desire for sex.
- Hormone changes. Changes in hormone levels also change libido. This is particularly true during certain periods in a woman’s life such as pregnancy, childbirth, breast-feeing and menopause.
PSYCHOLOGICAL CAUSES OF LOW SEX DRIVE
- Poor body image and/or low self-esteem
- Relationship issues
- Past or current physical or emotional abuse
- History of sexual abuse or rape
To treat or rule out medical causes, your best bet is to speak to your doctor. You might discover that you simply have a vitamin deficiency, a hormonal imbalance or a need to adjust your medications — all very easy to treat. You’ll be happily doing the horizontal hustle in no time, and perhaps assuaging other physical ailments as well.
Another doctor-ordered option is systemic estrogen therapy. By pill, patch or gel, this has a positive effect on brain function and mood factors that affect sexual response. Local estrogen therapy, in the form of a vaginal cream or a slow-release suppository or ring that you place in your vagina, can increase blood flow to the vagina and help improve desire.
If no medical condition is uncovered, seek the assistance of a therapist who will be able to help you look into your life to uncover things that are in your way of achieving the sexual life you desire. Be sure when calling upon a therapist that she has specific training in sex therapy.
Beyond prescriptive programs dictated by a physician or sex therapist, small lifestyle changes can have a dramatically positive effect on your libido. Reducing stress and increasing exercise can bring more joy into your life, creating more emotional intimacy between you and your partner. In turn, this may help you become more experimental in the bedroom — all of which can shift your libido from low to high.
What about a magic pill like Viagra? Some herbal supplements serve a Viagra-like purpose. A product such as Valentra promotes blood flow to the vaginal area, stimulates lubrication and, of course, includes a powerful aphrodisiac.
BE CONSIDERATE OF YOUR PARTNER
Be mindful how your libido challenges affect your partner. Constant rejection can leave him feeling frustrated or unloved, so be sure to acknowledge him in the ways that you can, such as by giving him a kiss goodbye every morning, holding his hand, reminding him that you love him and making other non-sexual gestures.
MORE WAYS TO GET INTO THE MOOD