Your libido is your sexual interest and desire. Loss of libido may be experienced by women before or after menopause and may result in reduced desire and sexual experiences that are no longer satisfying or pleasurable.
With greater awareness, knowledge and discussion about sexual health issues, more women are seeking advice for low libido from health practitioners. Low libido is a very sensitive issue and often occurs because of stress, substance use or abuse, tiredness, relationship difficulties, or depression. It can also be caused by a variety of medications used to treat unrelated conditions.
Rest, relaxation, recreation and exercise – like walking, playing a sport, yoga, dancing or gardening – can all have positive effects on libido, as well as on health, bones, moods and general wellbeing.
10 tips for understanding and improving your libido
What influences your libido?
Hormones, illness, medication, alcohol, recreational or illicit drugs, and the state of your relationships can all influence your libido. Your personality and history of sexual relationships, as well as society’s expectations and attitudes to sex, can also play a part.
Assess your own libido
A low libido is only a problem if you perceive it to be so. Some people want to participate in sexual activities all the time, while others never think about it. If your libido level worries you or is very different from your partner’s you may want to seek some advice as to what you can do about it.
Why do you have sex?
Lust is only one reason why we have sex. Sometimes we do it to create intimacy, or because it’s fun and pleasurable. Sometimes it’s an affirmation of our desirability, or to reproduce, and sometimes even to avoid conflict.
Check your desire switch.
When we first get together with our partner there’s often lots of sex and intimacy, but it’s natural for desire levels to fall away after the ‘honeymoon’ period. It’s very important to understand this and know that there’s nothing wrong with you when the desire switch gets turned down.
Understand the physical.
We often jump into sexual relationships without really knowing what happens to our bodies when we become intimate. When we experience a problem with sex it can be helpful to understand what happens physically during sexual activity, where things can go wrong and what we can do to improve our sex life.
Accept that your libido may be different from a man’s
Many women prefer talking, emotional intimacy and being romanced to sex. Men tend to be less affected by a bad day or fatigue, and respond to spontaneity, visual stimulation like pornography or just having a willing partner. It can be helpful to understand these generalisations and discuss any differences in libido with your partner.
Don’t worry about when or how often others have sex. What’s important is whether you and your partner are happy with your level of sexual activity.
Watch out for depression and anxiety
One in five adult Australians experience anxiety or a depressive disorder, which can impact negatively on libido. If you’re suffering from a mood disorder, it’s important to seek help.
It’s okay to not always feel desire when you have sex
It’s okay to have sex even if you don’t feel desire. The important things are that there’s no coercion, abuse or pain and you find sexual activity enjoyable.
Seek help if you need to.
If you’re worried about your libido or it’s causing you problems, seek professional help, either alone or, if appropriate, with your partner, from a health practitioner or specialist psychologist.
Source; The Australian Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health; jeanhailes.org.au