Libido is defined as a person's sex drive or desire to have sex. It is not possible to have a libido that is too low or high. Everyone has their own desires and lifestyles that they find satisfying and pleasurable. However, libido can be a problem for a woman if it changes when she does not want it to, if it is causing stress in her personal relationships, or if there is an underlying problem that is causing a change in her libido.
Libido is created by a variety of influences. Part of libido is physiological. This means that sex hormones, mainly testosterone, and other chemicals and reactions happening in the body are partially responsible for our sex drive. Testosterone levels slowly decrease over time and are not correlated to menopause. Therefore, if a woman is experiencing decreased libido during menopause, it may be caused by another internal change or another factor altogether that is not physiological.
For example, many women experience loss of libido during menopause due to vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy happens to many women during menopause and causes the vagina to become thinner, less elastic, lose moisture, and can cause sex to become painful.
Libido is also influenced by cultural and societal norms. Society has a large impact on how people see themselves and how they behave. Therefore, if a woman lives in a society that tries to force certain sexual norms onto women, a woman may either conform to these standards or lose sexual desire if she does not conform.
Society also puts unfair expectations on women and tends to value women disproportionately for their physical appearance. This can make older women feel self-conscious and less valued. However, all women, no matter their age or physical appearance, deserve to have a satisfying sex life. Although societal expectations can be overwhelming and pervasive, women should not let society dictate or lower self-worth.
Libido is also influenced by a person's romantic relationships. People tend to have higher libido at the beginning of a relationship, and libido can decrease or disappear if there are problems in the relationship.
Libido is also influenced by:
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- The amount of time and space a person has set aside for sex
- Certain medications and medical conditions
- Alcohol and drug dependency
Treatments for Loss of Libido
If a loss of libido is a problem for you, a good starting point is seeing a doctor. A doctor can rule out any underlying medical condition or medicine you may be taking that may cause a loss of libido. Libido loss can also be treated by seeing a sex therapist or seeing a couples' counselor to help work through any relationship problems. It is important to talk to your partner about what you are experiencing so that your partner can try to help you and better understand you. Click on the links below for more ways to treat loss of libido.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2008). Low Sex Drive in Women. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/basics/definition/con-20033229
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Loss of Libido. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/Pages/Introduction.aspx