Decreased Sex Drive: It’s Something to Talk About
It is not uncommon for a couple to have some degree of disparity in their sex drives. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is the woman in a heterosexual relationship who typically has a lower libido. Though it is normal for this difference to exist between men and women, having a low libido can be distressing for a woman. This condition could also negatively affect the relationship. The news about low libido isn’t all bad. Working with her doctor, a woman can identify the roots of the issue and obtain care to assist her in restoring her intimate wellness. Here, we discuss potential reasons a woman may experience decreased sex drive.
The clinical term for low libido or decreased sex drive is hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). A diagnosis of HSDD may occur if a woman experiences symptoms for six months or longer. Common symptoms include:
- Lack of interest in sexual activity
- Disinterest in initiating sex
- Difficulty obtaining sexual pleasure
- Non-existent sexual thoughts
- Decreased Sex Drive is Complex
Low libido is often associated with peri-menopause and other events that may create a hormonal imbalance. It’s not that simple. Several factors may influence a woman’s sex drive.
Medical factors aside from hormone imbalance include:
- Depression or anxiety disorders
- Antidepressant medication
- Conditions such as vulvodynia, which can make sex painful
Decreased libido may also have roots in personal or relationship issues. On a personal level, a woman may lose interest in sex due to a busy lifestyle and extraordinary daily life stresses. Many women are left fatigued and emotionally depleted by their roles as mother, employee, partner, and more. In recent years, smoking and drinking have become normal coping mechanisms. The consumption of alcohol or tobacco, however, can directly affect libido.
On a relationship level, a woman’s sex drive may suffer if there is a lack of intimacy or connection with her partner. The relational connection may be interrupted by infidelity, power imbalances within the relationship, and long-standing unresolved issues.
It is important to note that it is healthy for a woman to experience some fluctuations in sexual desire. There are no specific medical tests that diagnose HSDD. However, the persistence of any of the symptoms of low libido indicates a need to speak with a trusted physician.