In women, loss of sexual drive decreases with age. Almost all women report having at least one sexual problem in their lives. This problem could be a loss of arousal, low sexual desires, trouble having an orgasm, or just having painful sex (Dyspareunia). In medical terms, loss of sexual desire is known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). 1
There are many forms of sexual dysfunctions. However, HSDD is the most common type of sexual dysfunction among the women population.
Unlike men’s sexual dysfunction, women’s sexual problems could be related to physical and mental factors. These factors could be related to hormones, job stress, menopause, relationship problems, birth control pills, etc.
This blog aims to explain the causes of reduced sexual desire in women. It will also shed more light on a few tips that can help women improve their sexual functions. These causes are:
Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate various body processes. In women, some of these hormones regulate pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, breastfeeding, and even menopause.
During pregnancy, for example, various hormones help the women to maintain this pregnancy and protect the baby as well. Two major examples of these hormones are estrogen and progesterone. 2
At the beginning of pregnancy, these hormones surge in the body, making a woman have a high sexual drive. These hormones cause other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and discomfort in women.
When pregnant women experience all these symptoms, they may lose their sexual desire as they don’t even have the energy to have sex. Also, pregnancy makes a woman’s body change because she adds some extra weight.
These hormones give some women acne, and skin pigmentations and they may also sweat excessively. When all these factors are combined, they may reduce a woman feeling unattractive and lose their sexual desire. Once a child is born, the mother gets the pressure of caring for a new baby, which also changes her sexual desires.
Menopause is another factor that contributes to the loss of sexual function in women. As women approach their menopause, the level of estrogen reduces as well.
Estrogen hormone, in hypothesis, encourages vaginal lubrication in women. It also greatly enhances sexual desire. When the vagina is well lubricated (most), it makes sex more comfortable hence a woman can enjoy sex.
Unfortunately, during menopause, the absence of estrogen makes the vagina dry. This Dryness makes sex painful and uncomfortable. This discourages women from having sex, hence reducing sexual desires.
Medications: Taking some types of medications can make women lose their sexual desire. There are various groups of medications that can alter women’s perception of sex. These medications may include corticosteroids, chemotherapy, opioids like morphine, antifungals like ketoconazole, and many others.
Some of these medications may trigger actual physical problems that may make sex undesirable. For example, they may make the vagina so dry, making penetration difficult. Some reduce the blood flow to the sexual organs, hence causing low libido. Some medications directly affect the hormones that regulate your mood and desire for sex.
Medical Diseases: Suffering from some medical conditions can make women lose their interest in sex. Some diseases may affect nerves and blood vessels which then later how these women enjoy sex. An outstanding example of such a disease is diabetes.
Lifestyle: Today, most of the problems humanity is experiencing are because of lifestyle. We live in a world where people opt out of a healthy lifestyle for one filled with junk foods, lack of exercise, and excessive consumption of harmful substances.
For example, taking alcohol is linked to reduced sexual drive. This is because alcohol reduces testosterone, a hormone that increases sex drive.
The same alcohol may make it difficult for women to have orgasms or even have less intense orgasms. Also, it interferes with sexual stimulation in a way. It interferes with the signals between the brain and the genitals, making libido go low.
Smoking affects sexual desires in several ways. Nicotine, a substance found in tobacco narrows blood vessels. This narrowing makes it harder for blood to fill the genitals. This explains why women who smoke have less sexual sensation or rarely feel aroused.
Surgeries: Sometimes, how well a woman performs in bed can be affected by surgery as well. For instance, if a woman has breast or cervical cancer, she may have these orgasms removed. Women’s breasts are a sign of beauty and they make them feel attractive.
When a woman loses one of her breasts or both, she may feel unattractive which may affect her sexual desire. Again, men may find these women unattractive as well, which may affect their self-esteem, self-confidence, and sexual desire.
Removal of the cervix, uterus, or even the vagina because of an accident or disease may affect women’s body image. Because body images are related to sexual attractiveness and desire, these women may feel incompetent sex-wise.
These are factors that affect people’s motivation, self-esteem, self-perception, and mental status. These factors affect an individual indirectly and may cause severe consequences for women. For example, women with depression or anxiety disorders may find it difficult to enjoy sex.
When a woman is anxious, she usually has higher levels of cortisol (your body’s main stress hormone). These elevated levels of cortisol suppress the sex hormones. Ultimately, a woman loses her ability to desire sex or even enjoy it.
Stress is another key factor that pushes women to low sexual desires. This stress may arise from work, marriage, relationships, family, etc. Having financial constraints can trigger stress, which can be manifested physically, emotionally, or psychologically.
This stress triggers your adrenal gland to produce cortisol, a hormone that also suppresses the sex hormones. This suppression causes low libido, and that’s why stressed women don’t even enjoy being in a romantic relationship.
Once such women have a low libido, it causes more stress too as they struggle to please their partners in bed. When all these factors are combined, sexual pleasure reduces, making them lose their sex drive.
Naturally, all women should enjoy sex under normal circumstances. However, under certain circumstances such as sickness and emotional stress, these women may lose their sexual desire. Hormonal changes, surgeries, stress, medications, etc, are all factors known to cause low libido in women. Because low libido is something that has a possible treatment, it’s important to seek medical advice.
For example, if low sexual desire is caused by relationship stress, finding a counselor may help ease the stress. Again, if the cause is medications, finding better treatment options may help restore the sexual desires. Exercising regularly relieves stress, and it’s good for orgasms. Constant mindfulness and meditation to improve your ability to stay focused during sex. It also enhances your mood.
Low sexual desire may be an embarrassing thing to admit, but there is hope when discovered on time.