You slip into a hot bath and slowly reach for your bottle of wine. You could try and fool yourself into thinking one glass is enough but let’s be honest, today was one of those days. As you ease yourself into a soothing state – trying desperately to focuses on anything but your aching muscles – the bathroom door creaks open and there stands your partner, naked as a jaybird.
Empty wine glass in hand he climbs into the tub and gazes at you with a romantic appeal and you realize that it’s not just some of your wine he’s hoping for. You’re exhausted and simply not in the mood, but you’re quite conscious of the fact that it’s been over three weeks since your last spout of carnal knowledge. Before long you find yourself not only cursing your lack of leg room, but questioning your own sexuality. Where has my sexual desire gone? Is it just a bad couple of months, or has my low libido checked in for an extended stay?
Issues surrounding a low libido are concerns for women across the world. While some blame a headache or lack of energy, science tells us that there may be a number of reasons for your lack of sexual drive.
1. Birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives
Popping or injecting hormones into your system can have confusing effects on your body and its natural desire regulator. Some contraceptives can diminish desire until its barely recognizable, therefore if you feel as though your sexual desire has changed since you’ve started taking a contraceptive, talk to your doctor about switching brands or types.
As women get older and their bodies change, so does their sexual desire. Menopause can drastically effect a woman’s desire for sex, as well as a woman’s ability to produce powerful body-shaking orgasms, adding to a decrease in sexual desire and motivation. However it’s not just menopausal women that can experience these effects, woman’s bodies change at their own unique speeds and therefore women of all ages can notice these changes.
Stress caused from work, school, family, money and so on can have drastic effects on your libido. There is a direct negative correlation between stress and sexual functioning. The more stressed we feel, the less likely we are to yearn for sexual healing.
4. Your weight and the food you eat
Generally, the more pounds you pack on, the more desire you lose. Studies show that individuals who are overweight – even slightly overweight – and have an unhealthy diet, tend to experience less sexual desire then those individuals who are of a healthy body weight for their height. Going to the gym can not only sustain this healthy body weight, but it can also increase your sexual desire.
5. Being in a long term relationship
Many relationships start off in the throws of passion, often referred to as limerence, however, over time the chemical signals our brain produced early on that resulted in this love and passion, slowly start to diminish. It’s a natural, biological effect that can cause this decrease in sexual desire and motivation. However, working hard to build something deeper to base your relationship on, can eventually bring sex to a higher level, as intimacy can take the place of lust.
6. Feelings of resentment, anger or under appreciation
If your current relationship leaves you with feelings of resentment or anger, then chances are you’re not going to be in the mood for sex. Every relationship has problems, but if you constantly feel as though you’re not appreciated or valued, then no amount of romance will bring about a consistent amount of sexual desire towards your current partner.
7. Other medical conditions and concerns
Many medical conditions can lead to a low libido. Depression (as well as medications for depression), fibromyalgia, overactive bladder or bladder infections, yeast infections, insomnia and other sleep deficiencies, dyspereunia, vaginismus, hormonal deficiencies, diabetes, certain physical disabilities as well as a number of psychological disorders are just a few.
And finally, new research has made claims on the possible biological causes of low libido related to brain structure and function. Scientists have discovered that some women who have been diagnosed with a form of low libido called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, do not experience the same rush of blood to certain brain cells during moments of passion. Explaining to some extent, why they don’t enjoy – or yearn for intimacy – as much as other woman might.
Doctors visits for MRI scans might be a little over the top to start, but if you find yourself constantly cursing your lack of bath tub leg room, and your partners propensity to view your open bottle of wine as an invite to some mattress dancing, then give this list another quick read over. Perhaps the problem may have a simplistic solution, and your days of dodging cupids arrows will come to an end.
Dr. Teesha Morgan is a sex therapist based in Vancouver.