Speaking from the perspective of a proper medical definition, you might be diagnosed with a hypoactive sexual desire if you often lack sexual desires or thoughts, and an absence of such feelings might cause great personal distress to you and your partners. Regardless of your condition fitting this diagnosis, your doctor can detect several reasons for your sex drive not being high while you look around for ways to find help.
Apart from asking you many different questions related to your sexual and medical history, your doctor might also do the following:
- Conduct an exam of your pelvic area: In your pelvic check-up, your doctor will look for symptoms of the slightest physical change that might have led to reduced sexual desire. Such symptoms can be thinning of genital tissues, pain-inducing spots, or vaginal dryness.
- Suggest testing. Your doctor might recommend blood tests to detect your blood hormone levels for possibly lurking thyroid problems, high cholesterol, liver disorders as well as diabetes.
- Ask you to see a specialist. A specialized sex therapist or counselor might be able to evaluate the relationship and emotional factors better that might be lowering your sex drive.
Treatment for low libido
Several women are recommended a treatment designed to provide relief from this condition. Recommendations can include counseling, sex education, and maybe even hormone therapy and medication.
Counseling and sex education
Talking with a sex therapist or counselor qualified in addressing your specific sexual concerns might help relieve certain symptoms of a low sex drive. Therapy generally incorporates education about sexual techniques and responses. Your counselor or therapist will most likely provide recommendations and suggestions for reading couples’ exercises or materials. Couples counseling addresses relationship issues that might help improve desire and intimacy between partners.
At the time of consultation, your doctor would want to know the medications you are already on, to check if they might be causing side effects in terms of your libido. For instance, antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and paroxetine (Paxil) might potentially decrease your sex drive. Taking bupropion (Wellbutrin XL, Wellbutrin SR) — another kind of antidepressant — often enhances sex drive and is prescribed to women experiencing sexual arousal/interest disorder.
Apart from counseling, your doctor might also prescribe you certain specific medications for boosting your libido. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications for premenopausal women are:
- Flibanserin (Addyi): This pill should be taken every day at least once, especially right before bedtime. Common side effects of these pills include low blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Taking fluconazole (Diflucan, common medication for treating vaginal yeast infections) or drinking alcohol can make these side effects even worse.
- Bremelanotide (Vyleesi), is an injection given under the skin in the thigh or belly right before sexual activity is anticipated. Certain women experience nausea, which is a common symptom after the first injection that goes away with the second one. Other common side effects include flushing, vomiting, headache, and possible skin allergies at the injection site.
Such medications are not FDA-approved in postmenopausal women.
General shrinking or dryness of the vagina is a characteristic sign of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), which makes sex an uncomfortable experience for you, in turn, reducing your libido. Some hormone medications aim to relieve common discomfiting symptoms of GSM to make sex far more comfortable than it usually is. Additionally, comfort during sex may boost libido to take on some more.
Popular hormone therapies in practice today are:
- Estrogen. Estrogen can be medically found in many different forms, such as pills, patches, sprays as well as gels. Small estrogen doses can also be found in slow-releasing suppository ring and vaginal creams. Your doctor helps you weigh the benefits and risks of every medication type available. However, you must know that estrogen does not improve sexual performance in the context of hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
- Testosterone. This major male hormone plays an instrumental role in regulating a woman’s sexual functioning, although testosterone has far fewer blood levels in women as compared to men. Testosterone intake has not been approved by the FDA yet for correcting sexual dysfunction in affected women, but it is sometimes prescribed off-label to aid lifting a sagging libido. However, testosterone’s usage in women is considered hugely controversial. Consuming it regularly can spur excessive body hair growth, an acne outbreak, as well as personality or mood changes.
- Prasterone (Intrarosa). It is a vaginal insert that delivers dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) hormone while in contact with the vaginal wall for helping ease pain during sex. You are supposed to use this medication every night for easing symptoms of mild to extreme vaginal dryness linked with GSM.
- Ospemifene (Osphena). Taken every day, this pill helps relieve extremely painful symptoms in women living with mild to extreme GSM. This medication is not approved in those who either had breast cancer or who carry high risks for developing breast cancer.
Home and lifestyle remedies
Implementing healthy lifestyle changes might induce positive outcomes in your sex drive and these are:
- Exercise. Regular cardio or aerobic exercise along with strength training will not only improve your body image and general stamina but also uplift your mood while boosting your libido.
- Stressless living. Finding healthy stress coping mechanisms for financial stress as well as routine hassles can improve your sex drive by leaps and bounds!
- Talk to your partner. Partners who master the art of communicating well directly and honestly eventually develop a strong emotional bond, which very often leads to better sex. Talking about sexual expectations and experiences is also important. Communicating about each other’s likes, dislikes, etc helps set the stage for enhanced sexual intimacy.
- Set time aside for intimacy exclusively. Marking a date for great sex in your calendar might appear boring and contrived to you, but prioritizing intimacy can help place your derailed sex drive back on track.
- Spice up your sex life. The next time you decide to have sex, consciously try to incorporate a new position, a new time of day, or an entirely new location to have sex. Request your partner to spend extra time during foreplay. If your partner and you are willing to experiment, fantasy role play and sex toys can help light up a spark in your deadbeat sexual desire.
- Cut down on bad habits. Smoking, doing illegal drugs, and excess consumption of alcohol can put a downer on your otherwise normal sex drive. Cutting down these detrimental habits might give your sex drives some much-needed boosts while improving your overall health.
Give alternative medicine a try
Talking openly and directly to a doctor about your lowered sex drive might make you hesitate. Therefore, as an alternative, you can try certain over-the-counter alternative supplements. However, you must know that the FDA does not regulate such products because in a lot of cases, they are neither well-studied nor their effects well-documented. Alternative herbal medications can have their side effects or might interact with some other medically-prescribed medications you might already be taking. Hence, you must always consult your doctor before starting any medications’ routine.
One very popular herbal blend goes by the name of Avlimil. This product induces estrogen-like effects into the taker’s body. While estrogen is known to boost people’s sex drive, it can also lead to the growth of breast cancer as a possible side effect.
Another good alternative is a herbal massage oil that goes by the name of Zestra. It can be directly applied to the labia, vagina, and clitoris. A small research study discovered that Zestra enhances arousal and sexual pleasure while being simultaneously compared to a placebo oil. The only side effect reported was a temporary and mild burning sensation in the genital area where the oil was applied.
Support and coping
A reduced sex drive can be problematic not only for you but also for your partner. It is natural to feel sad and frustrated if you are unable to be romantic and sexy like you always want -or used- to be.
Along with this, a reduced low sex drive might make your partner feel unwanted or rejected-in the lack of awareness of the actual truth, which can lead to further strife and conflicts. Besides, this type of relationship stress can further strain the desire for some energetic sex.
However, you must still remember that fluctuations in the overall sex drive are normal in every relationship as well as every stage of life. Try to not channel your entire attention to the sexual aspect of your relationship. On the other hand, spend some more time nurturing yourself along with your relationship.
Here are some alternative activities for your consideration: go for a nice, slow, and long stroll in the evening-if both of you can. Get some more sleep to cut down on possible crankiness. Kiss your partner goodbye every chance you get. Set aside some time for a date night at home or your favorite destination. There is no foreplay better than feeling good about yourself while making your partner feel the same.