A woman’s sexual desires naturally fluctuate over the years.Its based on a complex interaction of many components affecting intimacy, including physical well-being, emotional well-being, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and current relationship. Highs and lows commonly coincide with the beginning or end of a relationship or with major life changes, such as pregnancy, menopause or illness.
There are many reasons why young women might suffer from low libido, or lack of sexual desire. Some causes are physical, symptoms of disorders that require medical attention. Other causes for low libido in young women may be related to emotional conflict or depression. Low libido could also be caused by stress or occurrences of everyday life.
Low libido can be the result of poor nutrition or a generally sedentary lifestyle. General fatigue can also adversely affect libido. Vaginal dryness can also cause pain or discomfort during sexual activity and adversely affect libido. Conditions such as arthritis, cancer and diabetes can also lower sexual desire.
A wide range of illnesses, physical changes and medications can cause a low sex drive, including :
- Sexual problems. If you experience pain during sex or inability to orgasm, it can hamper your desire for sex.
- Medical diseases. Numerous nonsexual diseases can also affect desire for sex, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and neurological diseases. Infertility also can contribute to low sex drive, even after infertility treatments are over.
- Medications. Many prescription medications — including antidepressants, blood pressure medications and chemotherapy drugs — are notorious libido killers. Antihistamines also can diminish your sex drive.
- Surgery. Any surgery related to your breasts or your genital tract can affect your body image, function and desire for sex.
- Fatigue. The exhaustion of caring for aging parents or young children can contribute to low sex drive.
Changes in your hormone levels may change your desire for sex:
- Menopause. Estrogen helps maintain the health of your vaginal tissues and your interest in sex. But estrogen levels drop during the transition to menopause, which can cause a double whammy — decreased interest in sex and dryer vaginal tissues, resulting in painful or uncomfortable sex. At the same time, women may also experience a decrease in the hormone testosterone, which boosts sex drive in men and women alike. Although many women continue to have satisfying sex during menopause and beyond, some women 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. Of course, hormones aren’t the only factor affecting intimacy during these times. Fatigue, changes in body image and the pressures of carrying — or caring for — a new baby can all contribute to changes in your sexual desire.
- There are many psychological causes of low sex drive, including:
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- Stress, such as financial stress or work stress
- Poor body image
- Low self-esteem
- History of physical or sexual abuse
Stress and Lifestyle
Many young women juggle a variety of responsibilities in their lives, such as school and work. Some may be caretakers for ailing relatives or young children. In such cases, women may find that sexual activity and desire have faded into the background.
Obviously, the major symptom of low sex drive in women is a low or absent desire for sex. According to some studies, more than 40 percent of women complain of low sexual desire at some point.
Treatments and drugs
There is no simple pill or potion to increase sex drive in women. In fact, most women benefit from a multifaceted treatment approach aimed at the many causes behind this condition. This may include sex education, counseling, lifestyle changes and sometimes medication.
Healthy lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your desire for sex:
Regular aerobic exercise and strength training can increase your stamina, improve your body image, elevate your mood and enhance your libido.
Finding a better way to cope with work stress, financial stress and daily hassles can enhance your sex drive.
A sense of personal well-being and happiness are important to sexual interest.
Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) can improve your awareness of the muscles involved in pleasurable sexual sensations and increase your libido. To perform these exercises, tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re stopping a stream of urine. Hold for a count of five, relax and repeat. Do these exercises several times a day.
For women, better emotional intimacy often leads to better sexual intimacy:
Conflicts and disagreements are a natural part of any relationship. Couples who learn to fight fair and communicate in an open, honest way usually maintain a stronger emotional connection, which can lead to better sex. Communicating about sex also is important. Talking about your likes and dislikes can set the stage for greater sexual intimacy.
Talking with a sex therapist or counselor skilled in addressing sexual concerns can help with low sex drive. Therapy often includes education about sexual response and techniques and recommendations for reading materials or couples’ exercises.
Scheduling sex into your calendar may seem contrived and boring. But making intimacy a priority can help put your sex drive back on track.
Try a different sexual position, a different time of day or a different location for sex..
Medications aren’t always necessary to treat low sex drive. But they can help.
The first medical intervention for low sex drive is usually addressing an underlying medical condition or medication that’s known to have sexual side effects. This may include adjusting or changing your current medications or starting treatment for previously undetected conditions.
Systemic estrogen therapy — by pill, patch or gel — can have 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-releasing suppository or ring that you place in your vagina — can increase blood flow to the vagina and help improve desire. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a combination of estrogen and progesterone.
Male hormones, such as testosterone, play an important role in female sexual function, even though testosterone occurs in much lower amounts in women. However, replacing testosterone in women is controversial and it’s not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sexual dysfunction in women. Plus, it can cause negative side effects, including acne, excess body hair (hirsutism), and mood or personality changes. Testosterone seems most effective for women with low testosterone levels as a result of surgery to remove the ovaries (oophorectomy). If you choose to use this therapy, your doctor will closely monitor your symptoms to make sure you’re not experiencing negative side effects.
Low sex drive can be very difficult for you and your partner. It’s natural to feel frustrated or sad if you aren’t able to be as sexy and romantic as you want — or you used to be.Try not to focus all of your attention on sex. Instead, spend some time nurturing yourself and your relationship. Go for a long walk. Get a little extra sleep.Make a date night at your favorite restaurant. Feeling good about yourself and your partner can actually be the best foreplay.