Getting no response from your partner when it is time to get intimate can be quite frustrating. It gets even more frustrating when you realize that you may be the problem. The mind starts to race and a number of reasons are considered such as whether or not you still find your partner attractive. This may not be the case.
‘Libido’ or sexual desire in females tends to fluctuate over the years. Women of different ages experience several variations in the levels of sex drive.
Contrary to popular belief, the frequency of sexual intercourse has nothing to do with sexual desire or satisfaction. But when a woman experiences a significant decrease in interest in sex that is having an effect on her life and is causing distress, then it is considered a problem of low sexual desire.
Mr Z is a 43-year-old accountant working in a large firm in Victoria Island, Lagos. He is married to 34-year-old Mrs Z, who works in the head office of them new generation banks. They have been married seven years and live on the mainland with their three children, ages 6, 4 and two years old. They both leave home as early as 5.30am every day and get home between 8 and 9.30 pm.
After work Mrs Z helps with the children’s homework while cooking dinner, feeds the family, tucks the children in and washes up and cleans the kitchen. While all these are going on, Mr Z is stretched out on the couch, relaxing with a newspaper in front of the TV waiting for dinner. If per chance any of the children happens to ask for help with homework, daddy says ‘go and meet your mummy.’
After dinner, Mr Z either continues watching TV or he goes off to bed. Mrs Z manages to finish with housework, takes a night bath and crawls into bed beat at about 11 pm or later. Mr Z saunters into bed a few minutes later, and asks ‘you dey?’ she pretends not to hear, he lifts her night wear and she gently pushes him away… this happens more often than not.
From the story above, would you say Mrs Z has a problem with her libido? I wouldn’t.
It just may happen that a woman would not be in the mood for sex because she is too tired from office and housework, child care or her partner is not in tune with her feelings. Someone once asked ‘is it that these men think they are tuning an old radio when they are fiddling with a woman’s nipple? Don’t they know that is painful? Don’t they find out more parts of a woman’s body that are sensual? Do they even look at you to see if you are wincing in pain/discomfort or groaning with pleasure? They complain that we are frigid!
To understand the female sexual response, we must understand a woman’s cultural heritage, the state of her physical and emotional well-being; experiences, beliefs, lifestyle; past and current relationship with her partner. Sexual desire in females tends to fluctuate over the years. Women of different ages experience several variations in the levels of their sex drive. Sometimes, high sexual libido may coincide with the beginning of a relationship and may tend to decline as the relationship ages and becomes annoying or as it journeys to an end.
Women desire emotional closeness, more than sex in established relationships; this is worthy of note.
For some people, low libido is a new problem that has a physical or emotional cause. Others may have had low sexual desire their entire lives, by culturally praying it away, being told you would burn in hell if you ever thought about it and more; this may result in the brain being hardwired to kill all sexual desire. It is not a secret that women place more value on the emotional connection as a spark of sexual desire. But women also appear to be heavily influenced by social, religious and cultural factors as well. In cases like this, no amount of ‘female Viagra’ will do the magic.
Common causes of low libido
Some underlying factors are responsible for low sex drive in females. They range from physical causes to psychological or hormonal problems. Stress is perhaps the greatest of all challenges for women’s libidos. Variations in a woman’s sexual desires may also often come as a result of important life changes a woman might be facing, for instance, child raising, pregnancy, menopause, illness or emotional distress. Common causes for a loss of sexual desire in women include:
Interpersonal 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 – if you don’t have a date night planned with your husband and can’t remember the last time you sat down and connected—even if it was just across the dining table—your sex drive will suffer
• Partner performance problems
• Lack of emotional satisfaction with the relationship
• Infidelity or breach of trust
• The birth of a child
• Becoming a caregiver for a loved one (parent, sibling or spouse) can decrease sexual desire
• Some relationship issues with a partner may also be responsible such as unresolved arguments or even poor communication of sexual needs and performance
Your problems don’t have to be physical or biological to be real. It is understandable that when a woman is having a bad time emotionally, she may lose interest in sex. There are many psychological causes of low sex drive, and these include:
• Depression, anxiety
• Financial stress or work stress and overwork
• Hang-ups from childhood
• Past sexual abuse or rape
• Latent lesbianism
• Serious relationship problems with your partner
• Difficult living conditions, e.g. Sharing a home with parents or parents-in-law
• Poor body image
• Low self-esteem
• History of physical or sexual abuse or previous negative sexual experiences
• Family problems
• Trauma in the past (sexual abuse/incest, genital mutilation),
• History or previous negative sexual appearances
• Socio-cultural effects, upbringing and media images of sexuality can negatively influence sexual desire
• Unresolved trauma – break in…, the death of close friend or family member
• Anger – whether because he didn’t help around the house or something more serious quashes all desire
• Messy bedroom – linked with unhappiness and mild depression
Testosterone affects sexual drive in both men and women. Testosterone levels peak in women’s mid-20s and then steadily decline until menopause when they drop dramatically. Oral contraceptives can lower sexual drive in many ways, such as decreasing available testosterone levels. Hormonal changes such as menopause and pregnancy can alter the levels of sexual libido in females.
Medical conditions such as arthritis or cancers and high blood pressure may also reduce sexual desire. Depression, endometriosis, fibroids, and thyroid disorders, impact a woman’s sexual drive both mentally and physically.
Certain antidepressants, blood pressure lowering drugs, and or affecting blood flow.
Lack of Time
Have you ever been too busy for sex? The hectic schedules of daily life can put your sex life on the backburner. Unless you make time for each other and intimacy, it may not happen.
These include pain during sex or inability to orgasm, low back pain, and arthritis could be a problem
Excessive drinking and fatigue can also be responsible for low sexual libido. Even operational changes to the breast or physical appearance may cause a lack of desire to have sex.
Low libido often occurs in the form of wanting to have sex less than your partner does. Low libido should not be mistaken with natural human behaviour or temperament, as some people simply may just crave sex less. In most typical cases, this is seen as a disorder because adults at a sexually active age should desire a healthy sex life. It may also just so happen; that sexual desire in females would not reach the levels it used to be at before. There is no measuring scale for measuring just how aroused an individual is, however, a person can detect when they are no longer feeling as sexually aroused as they used to. Females may have no interest in sexual activity including self-stimulation. A woman may also find her mind void of sexual thoughts or fantasies and this may often lead to the individual being bothered by this development.
Some lifestyle changes and even techniques during sex may just spark arousal. For instance, a spouse lending a helping hand at home. In one of Oprah’s show I remember her saying the aphrodisiac for women is spelt ‘HELP’, this is so true.
Treat the cause, review your medication
Low sexual desire can be frustrating for both partners. However, some ways exist to alleviate this problem. Most sources of this problem are from lifestyle changes that may seem to alter a woman’s mood and sexual desire. A change in daily routines and patterns can be devised as a means to recreate previous levels of sexual desire.
And that’s about it for causes of low libido!
Wishing you good health and happiness,