Low sex drive in women
Low sex drive in women
A woman's sexual desires naturally fluctuate over the years. Highs and lows commonly coincide with the beginning or end of a relationship or with major life changes, such as pregnancy, menopause or illness. However, if you are bothered by a low sex drive or decreased sex drive, there are lifestyle changes and sex techniques that may put you in the mood more often. Some medications offer promise as well.
So, what exactly is low sex drive in women? In medical terms, you have hypoactive sexual desire disorder if you have a persistent or recurrent lack of interest in sex that causes you personal distress. But you don't have to meet this medical definition to seek help. If you aren't as interested in sex as you'd like to be, talk to your doctor.
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. The percentage is smaller — 5 to 15 percent — if you count only women with ongoing problems.
Still, researchers acknowledge that it's difficult to measure what's normal and what's not. If you want to have sex less often than your partner does, neither one of you is necessarily outside the norm for people at your stage in life — although your differences may cause distress. Similarly, even if your sex drive is weaker than it once was, your relationship may be stronger than ever. Bottom line: There is no magic number to define low sex drive. It varies from woman to woman.
When to see a doctor
A woman's desire for sex is based on a complex interaction of many components affecting intimacy, including physical well-being, emotional well-being, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and current relationship. If you're experiencing problems in any of these areas, it can affect your sexual desire. In other words, there are dozens of reasons you may not be interested in sex:
Preparing for your appointment
Primary care doctors and gynecologists often ask about sex and intimacy as part of a routine medical visit. Take this opportunity to be candid about your sexual concerns. If your doctor doesn't broach the subject, bring it up. You may feel embarrassed to talk about sex with your doctor, but this topic is perfectly appropriate. In fact, your sexual satisfaction is a vital part of your overall health and well-being.
What you can do
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Questions your doctor may ask
Tests and diagnosis
By definition, you may be diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder if screening tests reveal a persistent or recurrent lack of sexual thoughts or receptivity to sexual activity, which causes you personal distress. Whether you fit this medical diagnosis or not, your doctor can look for reasons that your sex drive isn't as high as you'd like and find ways to help.
To evaluate your situation, your doctor may:
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.
Lifestyle changes you can make
Relationship changes you and your partner can make
Medical treatments for low sex drive
Coping and support
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. At the same time, low sex drive can make your partner feel rejected, which can lead to conflicts and strife. And this type of relationship turmoil can actually add to your lack of desire for sex.
It may help to remember that fluctuations in your sex drive are a normal part of every relationship and every stage of life. 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. Kiss your partner goodbye before you head out the door. Make a date night at your favorite restaurant. Feeling good about yourself and your partner can actually be the best foreplay.
Last Updated: 2009-12-08
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