When a girl grows up and becomes a woman, she’s often given the “talk” by her parents. This usually includes the basics but may not address all the things that surround sexual maturity. One area that is often glossed over is libido.
The term libido refers to sexual drive. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health encompasses the mental, emotional, and physical well-being related to sexuality. Libido is an essential part of that equation. When something is wrong, a person can experience changes in their libido.
Why Does Libido Exist?
Libido is a biological concept that is affected by a variety of exterior influences, including culture, development, and psychosocial factors. At its most primal level, libido can be generalized as a desire to reproduce. This is important in any living thing because it helps ensure that the species continues to exist by producing new generations.
Fluctuations in libido are experienced during the menstrual cycle. This process helps increase the frequency of intercourse during periods when the body is most fertile, increasing the chances of conception.
For human beings, libido is rooted in our culture. Social and cultural influences define what we find attractive or desirable in a partner.
Androgen hormones like testosterone are linked to libido. Dopamine also plays a role in motivation and sex drive.
Signs of a Libido Problem
A woman’s libido will change over the years. Highs and lows will happen, sometimes after major life changes like ending a relationship, pregnancy, or menopause. If you notice an unexplained change that persists or continues to come back, then you may need to seek medical advice.
Low libido can occur and will cause a person to have little to no interest in sex in any form, including masturbation. They may also notice that they rarely or never have sexual thoughts or fantasies. When these changes become worrying, it’s time to consult a doctor.
It is important to note that a low sex drive doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a bad relationship with your partner. You could have a strong relationship and still experience these changes. Relationship problems can lead to low libido, but that isn’t always the cause.
If you notice changes in your libido, especially those that won’t go away, you should talk to a doctor.
The Causes of Low Libido
There is no one-size-fits-all cause for low sex drive. The potential causes fall into four primary groups: physical, hormonal, psychological, and relationship issues.
- Physical Causes of Low Libido
Physical causes usually include illness, injury, or medications. Some prescription drugs like antidepressants can lead to low libido. Surgery that affects your body or body image can also be the cause.
If you experience pain or discomfort during sex, then you may have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. This should not be ignored because it could become a bigger problem later.
Exhaustion and fatigue are another common cause of libido. This can happen due to a busy lifestyle, like taking care of babies or aging parents or working too much. Fatigue can also stem from another health problem or recent surgery.
- Hormonal Changes and Low Libido
Hormones are essential to many processes within the human body. When a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen levels tend to drop. This can cause her to feel less interested in sex. Other changes like vaginal dryness can make the experience unpleasant. In some cases, a doctor may recommend a treatment or medication that could help alleviate the problem.
Hormones also change during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These factors, coupled with the fatigue new moms feel, can really slow sex drive and desire.
- Psychological Causes of Low Libido
Our mental health is closely tied to our sexual health. When a person feels anxiety or depression, they are more likely to have a low sex drive. Other problems like high stress, poor body image, low self-esteem, or previous negative sexual experiences can also cause issues.
People who have a history of physical or sexual abuse are also at risk of low libido. Speaking to a therapist can be beneficial.
- Relationship Problems and Low Libido
Relationship problems are another potential cause of low libido. This can happen after a break-up or divorce. You may also experience low sex drive while still with your partner but while having disputes or concerns.
Unresolved conflict, poor communication, and trust issues can all contribute. If you feel a lack of connection with your partner, you should speak to them or consider counseling.
Keeping Your Libido Healthy
A healthy libido contributes to overall wellbeing. If you notice problems, don’t ignore them. Consult your doctor to make sure there isn’t another underlying condition that needs to be treated. Even if the cause is related to psychological or relationship issues, you should keep your doctor up to date in case the situation affects your physical health.
Complete Women’s Healthcare is available to help you understand your libido and why it has changed. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a wellness exam or to discuss the causes of and treatment options for low sex drive.