Low libido in women
It’s a desire most of us share: a fulfilling sex life. Because sexuality is so much more than the mere act itself. Every sexual touch, from a passionate kiss to sexual forms like oral sex, make us happy (not least thanks to the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin released in the brain). Nevertheless, it happens to many of us: the lull in bed, the loss of libido.
Low libido in women
Reasons for loss of libido
Sexual anhedonia in women can have many causes and most often it is an interplay of several factors. For the sake of simplicity, we will first list the most important reasons and then explain them in detail. However, the terminology is important: While generally not everyone always feels like having sex, the issue only becomes a problem when one’s own lack of desire is perceived as a burden. Then we speak of a “sexual appetite disorder”.
Common reasons for low libido in women
1. Hormonal factors
Hormonal balance naturally plays an important role when a woman no longer feels pleasure in sexuality. Especially the most important sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are in continuous interplay with each other. For example, an irregular menstrual cycle can have an impact on desire. A lack of the “male” hormone testosterone, which women naturally also possess, can also lead to a decrease in libido. This is the case for example, during menopause, where there is a hormonal imbalance over a longer period of time — similar to puberty. In addition to the loss of libido, there can also be pain during sex, which is triggered by an increasingly dry vagina. According to gynecologist Sheila de Liz, an estrogen deficiency is usually responsible for this phenomenon. Therefore, your gynecologist should be the first point of contact here.
Naturally, there are other hormonal priorities than sex after childbirth: the hormone prolactin ensures milk production in women and at the same time inhibits sexual desire.
In times when we are very busy at work, the desire for sex also decreases. A high stress level and the associated high concentration of stress hormones not only has a negative effect on our libido, but also reduce the probability of becoming pregnant. Which brings us to the psychological factors.
2. Psychological factors
Researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have found that women and men between the ages of 18 and 35 have sex around five times a month. Now is that a lot or a little? Expectations about how often sex should take place, what fulfilling sex looks like or what sexual practices are used, often create pressure. Women in particular then start to wonder whether they are doing “everything right sexually”. In addition, dissatisfaction with one’s own body can make women feel even more insecure. Unrealistic beauty ideals in social media create an image of femininity and attractiveness that most women simply don’t live up to. And that’s a good thing!
Even for women who want to have children, the female libido sometimes falls by the wayside. When the intimate act is only seen as a means to an end and the desired pregnancy is increasingly delayed, this puts a strain on both partners. Blame, unspoken or expressed in an open argument, leads to stress in the relationship. And relationship stress is considered a lust killer par excellence.
In addition, sexual disorders and behaviors in the male partner, such as premature ejaculation, can also be a reason for the woman’s lack of desire.
3. Illnesses and medications
Although the birth control pill is one of the safest methods of contraception, it is very often blamed for the loss of libido in women. The progestins contained in the pill affect the hormonal balance and are thought to trigger the decline in sexual activity.
Chronic conditions such as hypothyroidism, chronic pain, or cancer cause decreased desire. In addition, some medications such as antihypertensives or antidepressants, have decreased libido as an undesirable side effect.
What helps against low libido?
You have to find out individually what is the best way for you to combat sexual anhedonia. Learning relaxation techniques or rediscovering mindful and unintentional touch can help. A greater acceptance of your own body can also make a big difference (keyword body positivity). Sports and exercise are a wonderful balance to our stressful everyday lives. Whether it’s gentle yoga or an exhausting Zumba workout, sport keeps you fit and lets you experience your body better. It is therefore the first step towards a good and healthy body feeling.
Your gynecologist can find out whether your hormones are responsible for the sexual listlessness. Depending on the disease and the level of suffering, an endocrinologist may also be recommended, who can examine the hormone balance in detail. Psychotherapy or sex therapy can also help to restore inner balance if there are deeper reasons for the lack of sexual desire.
In addition to these strategies for gaining pleasure, blogs and forums naturally offer countless tips for an active libido, ranging from the consumption of hot spices to hotel dates and sex toys.
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