Libido, or a person’s desire to have sex, can fluctuate throughout one’s life. There can be a lot of factors that affect your desire for intimacy. Luckily, there are ways to improve your sex drive.
But first, possible reasons for a lower sex drive
Your libido can be impacted by both physical and psychological factors. Low testosterone, certain prescription medicines (like antidepressants or hormonal birth control), or the use of alcohol and drugs are among the many variables that affect the desire to have sex. Psychological reasons for a low sex drive include depression, trauma, stress, major life changes (like a death in the family or losing a job), self-esteem setbacks, or relationship hurdles. Of note, libido may rise and fall naturally as well. It may ramp up around the time of ovulation and subside during one’s menstrual cycle.
It is important to be open and honest with your healthcare provider and/or therapist about your experience, to ensure he or she is considering all of the possible factors that could be affecting your libido. Consider asking your provider the following questions:
- Will my level of desire ever get back to what it once was?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my current situation?
- What treatments are available?
- What books or other reading materials can you recommend?
It’s possible that your sex drive is affected by your exercise regimen. Physical fitness is important for maintaining your health and is a great natural libido enhancer. There are many ways to exercise free of charge—go on a hike, take your dog to your favorite walking trail, jog around town, follow a YouTube exercise video, etc.—whatever motivates you to get those steps in and heart rate up!
The brain is a woman's most important and forgotten sex organ
Stop your mind in its tracks when it begins to wander to your never-ending list of to-dos or possible insecurities about your body that may be hindering your ability for intimacy. Stay in the moment. When addressing low libido, it’s also important to gauge your stress levels. When we are calm and carefree, a sexual experience is more enjoyable.
Talk to your partner & spice things up
Have an open and honest conversation with your partner—distraction-free—about what may be missing in the intimacy department. Communication is key. Talk about what is working and what isn’t, as well as the possibility of adding something new to the routine. Perhaps you and your partner haven’t spent quality time together, or you’ve let your busy lives get in the way—whatever the reason, don’t let it bottle up.
Catch those zzz's
According to the Sleep Foundation, expanding knowledge in health sciences has started to reveal an important, bidirectional link between sex and sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause a decrease in sexual desire and arousal in women. Insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders, may be a risk factor for sexual dysfunction as well. On the other side, increased sexual activity may even help you sleep better! After an orgasm, the body releases hormones, like oxytocin and prolactin, that can induce pleasant and relaxing feelings. Put simply, sleep is essential.
For reference, one in ten premenopausal women suffer from a well-recognized medical condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), in which one’s sex drive is completely absent. Medicine might be warranted to treat the condition. HSDD aside, sometimes a small tweak in your lifestyle, or just an in-depth discussion with your partner, makes a big difference. However, if you aren’t noticing a change, don’t hesitant to bring up your concerns with your provider, who can help you get to the root of the problem affecting your sex life and can help you find a solution.
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