Causes of low libido in women

Lack of sex drive in women (lack of libido)

Lack of sex drive (lack of libido) is common in women, but quite rare in men.

The American Medical Association has estimated that several million US women suffer from what doctors there call 'female sexual arousal disorder' (FSAD).

However, currently there seems to be an FSAD bandwagon, driven by doctors who think that nearly half the female population (43 per cent) lack sex drive. Such a high number really doesn't seem likely.

In the UK, family planning clinics and Relate (or Relationships Scotland) clinics see quite large numbers of women who complain of low libido. Our estimate is that at any one time, several hundred thousand women in Britain are troubled by lack of sex drive.

Fortunately, for many females this lack of libido is only temporary.

Some will get over it by themselves, and a lot more can be helped by expert medical or psychosexual advice. Others do not really want to get back into the world of rampaging sexual desire and are quite happy to lead lives which are untroubled by lust.

Physical causes

  • Anaemia, which is very common in women because of iron loss during periods.
  • Post-baby 'coolness', a term we have coined for the loss of libido that often happens after childbirth. It is almost certainly linked to hormonal changes that occur at this time, though this has still not been proven. The general trauma of childbirth also plays a part – and after having a baby, many women are too exhausted to think about sex.
  • Prescribed drugs, particularly tranquillisers.
  • Hyperprolactinaemia – a rare disorder in which the pituitary gland is overactive.
  • Other hormone abnormalities: leading Swiss gynaecologist Dr Michael Nemec claimed to us that abnormalities in the production of luteinising hormone (LH) often cause lack of desire, though there is little world-wide backing for this idea. And top British gynaecologist John Studd says that many women who have lost their libido lack androgenic (male) hormones. This view remains controversial.

You may be surprised that we haven't mentioned the menopause as a physical cause of loss of desire.

Psychological causes

These causes are very common. It's understandable that when a woman is having a bad time emotionally, she may lose interest in sex.

Psychological causes include:

  • hang-ups from childhood
  • past sexual abuse or rape
  • latent lesbianism
  • serious relationship problems with your partner
  • difficult living conditions, eg sharing a home with parents or parents-in-law.

What should a woman do about lack of libido?

Start by going to your GP, who can discuss the problem with you and do any necessary tests.

Lack of sex drive - Getty
Penthouse Forum Adult Magazine September 1975 Hypoglycemia Fatigue, Low Libido-Causes & Cure (TV Guide Size)
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Don't get your hopes up about the fish oil.

by Miss_Conduct

I did an on-line search of the medical literature and found one small study indicating it may be helpful in treating depression, but nothing on low libido. Most of the websites touting it for low libido are also (surprise) selling fish oil.
Medical causes of low libido in women are well documented and usually hormonal (low estrogen, low testosterone and low thyroid levels) or related to medication, chronic pain, etc. Or they can be psychological.
Since this is causing distress to both of you she needs to see her ob/gyn and specifically discuss the libido problem so that the appropriate diagnosis can be made

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