Sexual desire: why does it decrease, and how to improve it

There is no magic number to assess sexual desire; it is different for every woman. However, you can measure the decline compared to what it used to be and what you consider normal. With this article, we aim to clarify your doubts and help you improve your quality of life so you can fully enjoy your sexuality.

Why does sexual desire diminish?

Throughout every woman’s life, your sex drive goes up and down. However, it becomes an issue when the decline persists for months. The leading causes are (NHS, 2022):

  • Menopause.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Being pregnant or having a baby due to hormonal changes and exhaustion.
  • Medications, such as those used for high blood pressure or antidepressants.
  • Use of hormonal contraceptives, such as pills, patches, or implants.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Heart disease, diabetes, low thyroid hormones, or cancer.

Why does sexual desire decrease in menopause?

Going through menopause, you may have noticed changes in your sexual desire. Some women may experience an increase in their libido, while others experience a drastic drop (Hersh, 2020).

Hormonal decline is usually the main cause of this variation. In addition, hormone changes cause problems such as vaginal dryness, which can cause pain during intercourse. This, in turn, may eventually affect the desire to have sexual intercourse.

Other signs and symptoms often accompanying menopause, such as weight gain, hot flushes, depression and irritability, sleep disturbances, and stress, can decrease sexual interest as a side effect (Hersh, 2020; WebMD, 2021).

Signs and symptoms

Every woman will experience the decrease in desire very differently, but, in general, women will experience (Hersh, 2020):

  • No interest in sexual activity (including masturbation).
  • No sexual fantasies or thoughts.
  • Worry about lack of sexual activity or fantasies.

How to improve sexual desire?

Your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy, which can improve the desire to have sexual relations. We also recommend (Hersh, 2020):

  • Vaginal lubrication: a water-based lubricant can improve pain caused by vaginal dryness.
  • Exercise: in addition to helping you fight weight gain, it can improve your mood. When exercising, we secrete relaxation hormones which may help you feel more in the mood.
  • Communicate with your partner: although low libido is a physical symptom, improving your emotional state with communication with your partner can make you feel better.
  • Focus on intimacy: sex is not the only way to be intimate: kisses and caresses help you improve the connection with your partner and can even lead to a female orgasm.
  • Do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor: it can help you improve your sensations during sexual intercourse.
  • Therapy: you can have it alone or with your partner. This will help you improve mood swings and face menopause positively.

Indeed, a low libido can affect your sexual health. Nevertheless, remember menopause is a natural stage, so focus on the positive; for example, the freedom that the end of reproductive life gives!

Take advantage of this time to conclude those plans and that trip you wanted to do a long time ago. Take time for yourself, and above all, do not be afraid to seek help to improve your sexual desire.

References

Hersh, E. (2020). Does menopause affect your libido? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-libido

NHS. (2022). Low sex drive (loss of libido). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/

WebMD. (2021). Sex and menopause. https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/sex-menopause.


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