Women’s sexual desires naturally fluctuate over the years. Desire for sex is based on a complex interaction of many things affecting intimacy, including physical and emotional well-being, experiences, beliefs, lifestyles, and your current relationship. If you’re experiencing a problem in any of these areas, it can affect your desire for sex.
A wide range of illnesses, physical changes and medications can cause a low sex drive, including:
- Sexual problems. If you have pain during sex or can’t orgasm, it can reduce your desire for sex.
- Medical diseases. Many nonsexual diseases can affect sex drive, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and neurological diseases.
- Medications. Certain prescription drugs, especially antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are known to lower the sex drive.
- Lifestyle habits. A glass of wine may put you in the mood, but too much alcohol can affect your sex drive. The same is true of street drugs. Also, smoking decreases blood flow, which may dull arousal.
Surgery. Any surgery related to your breasts or genital tract can affect your body image, sexual function and desire for sex.
- Fatigue. Exhaustion from caring for young children or aging parents can contribute to low sex drive. Fatigue from illness or surgery also can play a role in a low sex drive.
- Hormone changes: Changes in your hormone levels may alter your desire for sex. This can occur during menopause. Estrogen levels drop during the transition to menopause. This can make you less interested in sex and cause dry vaginal tissues, resulting in painful or uncomfortable sex. Although many women still have satisfying sex during menopause and beyond, some experience a lagging libido during this hormonal change. You may also notice changes in your hormone levels and desire for sex during pregnancy and post-partum. Hormone changes during pregnancy, just after having a baby and during breastfeeding can put a damper on sex drive. Fatigue, changes in body image, and the pressures of pregnancy or caring for a new baby also can contribute to changes in your sexual desire.
- Psychological causes: Your state of mind can affect your sexual desire. There are many psychological causes of low sex drive, including the following:
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
- Stress, such as financial stress or work stress
- Poor body image
- Low self-esteem
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Previous negative sexual experiences
- Relationship issues
For many women, emotional closeness is an essential prelude to sexual intimacy. So problems in your relationship can be a major factor in low sex drive. Decreased interest in sex is often a result of ongoing issues, such as:
- Lack of connection with your partner
- Unresolved conflicts or fights
- Poor communication of sexual needs and preferences
- Trust issues
- Recommendations may include sex education, counseling, and bioidentical hormone therapy.
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