Female sexual drive varies, and there is no “normal” libido. If you have a low or nonexistent one, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the issue.
Some medications, including antidepressants, birth control and cancer treatments, can cause a decrease in sex drive. Your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes or change your prescriptions.
1. Change Your Diet
Most people think that a new diet is about losing weight or eating healthier, but the food you consume can have many other health impacts. For example, eating too much sodium can lead to impotence. Additionally, too much sugar can cause a short-term rush of energy followed by a rapid decline in energy.
Many women have a low sex drive at some point in their lives, especially after the birth of a child, during a stressful life event or as they enter menopause. These life changes can affect libido due to hormonal fluctuations, changing body image, and pain during intercourse.
Talking with your doctor is a great way to discuss these issues and find solutions that will help. Your doctor can suggest some lifestyle, nutrition and relationship strategies as well as review any medications that may be impacting your libido. Taking herbal supplements can also help but make sure to talk with your doctor first as these products aren’t strictly regulated by the FDA and could interact with other medical conditions or medications you are taking.
Many women experience a lower libido at some point in their lives. This may be short-term such as after the birth of a child or longer such as during stressful times or when a relationship is rocky. Some reasons for low libido include hormone changes, anxiety and depression. In addition, a history of sexual trauma or past conditioning about sex can impact libido as well.
Exercise can help to improve a woman’s libido as it increases testosterone levels and increases feelings of desire. However, these levels won’t stay high all day and can decrease within an hour after exercise.
A workout that is particularly good for boosting libido is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of workout involves working very hard for short periods of time with very little rest. HIIT workouts also help to reduce cortisol levels.
Another good option for increasing libido is doing Kegel exercises on a regular basis. These exercises involve squeezing the pubococcygeus muscles. You can find these muscles by stopping your urine flow mid-stream or by noticing a tightening of the vagina. The best part about doing Kegels is that they are a very quick and easy exercise to do.
3. Get Enough Sleep
If you skimp on sleep, not only will you feel tired and lethargic, but lack of sleep can also lower sex drive. One study showed that women who slept an average of five hours a night for six weeks reported decreased sexual desire. Getting more sleep may improve sex drive by raising levels of hormones that increase arousal, lubrication and orgasm. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Many things can affect a woman’s sex drive, including stress, history of trauma, medications and health problems. Finding ways to manage your stress, such as therapy or taking time for yourself through more physical activity, can help. Medications such as antidepressants, some blood pressure medications and smoking can also impact libido. If your low sex drive is caused by medication, ask your doctor about alternatives.
4. Talk to Your Partner
If your sex drive is very high, don’t be afraid to talk about it with your partner. A sex therapist can help couples work through issues that may be contributing to the high libido such as miscommunication, incompatibility or sexual frustration. A sex therapist can also help to address any physical or emotional symptoms that may be contributing to the high sex drive such as anxiety, depression, an overactive thyroid or a hormonal imbalance.
A woman’s libido will naturally fluctuate over time due to hormone changes, life events, stress, illness and medications that affect libido such as antidepressants. It is important to have open conversations about sexual desire and to find strategies that can improve libido in the way that works best for you and your partner. It is also helpful to understand that sexual urges can be triggered by non-sexual activities such as talking about, listening and touching. A good rule of thumb is to use the acronym HALT when deciding when it’s appropriate to discuss sex: Hunger, Anger, Loneliness or Tired. This will ensure that the conversation is productive and does not lead to resentment.
5. Take Medications
When a woman’s libido dips significantly, it can be a sign of a medical issue. A GP or women’s health specialist will be able to pinpoint the cause, which may be hormone fluctuations (like premenopause or pregnancy) or medication side effects such as SSRIs, antidepressants and beta blockers. If a lack of sexual desire is due to a low oestrogen level or a hormonal imbalance, a doctor may prescribe estrogen replacement therapy or testosterone injections. The FDA has also approved two prescription drugs that boost sexual arousal in women, called bremelanotide (Vyleesi) and flibanserin (Addyi).
It’s important to tell a GP about any changes in libido as some medications can reduce it. For example, a reduction in libido is known as a side effect of many antidepressants and some birth control pills. A reduced sex drive can lead to relationship strife, so it’s important to address it.