Sex Drive: Bring Back That Lovin’ Feeling.


Tips for rejuvenating your libido and boosting your sex drive.

a couple kissing

It is normal for a woman’s sex drive to change over the years. Emotional and physical changes can make it so your sex drive seems to be in high gear sometimes, and barely there at other times. If you have been noticing that your sex drive just isn’t what it used to be, there are many ways you can do something about it.

Reasons for Loss of Sex Drive

A woman’s sex drive is complex. It is affected by physical and hormonal changes in the body, and as well as by the flood of different emotions that hormones can elicit. As women get older and hormones start to dwindle, many can find themselves “not in the mood” for sex in the way they may have been in the past. And even when they are in the mood, changes in their body can result in vaginal dryness and pain during sex, which can make the thought of sex unappealing.

“The libido response in women is such a complex problem. If women are unhappy in a relationship, it can affect libido. If it hurts, it can affect libido. If she doesn’t feel good about herself, it can affect libido. It’s hard to tease all of those factors out,” says Judi Chervenak, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

And with the hormonal changes that occur around the time of menopause, women tend to have less vaginal lubrication as they get older. This change can make having sex more uncomfortable, having the additional side effect of a reduced sex drive.

How to Energize Your Sex Drive

So while there might be many causes of a reduced sex drive, there are techniques you can call on that can help boost your sex drive. These include:

  • Using lubrication to ease vaginal dryness and to help make intercourse more enjoyable if you are experiencing symptoms of discomfort.
  • Exercising. Regular physical activity can boost feel-good endorphins and can also improve your body image, making you feel sexier and giving your libido a healthy boost. In addition, Kegel exercises (exercises done to tighten the pelvic muscles) can work to enhance sexual sensations and help boost desire.
  • Communicating with your partner. Opening the lines of communication with your partner can help you feel more connected, and more inclined for romance. If relationship problems are spilling over into your sex life, this may be a good time to talk with a neutral third party (such as a therapist or counselor) to work on correcting any underlying issues you and your partner may be having.
  • Aphrodisiacs. While there is no real science backing this up, a romantic evening featuring some well-known aphrodisiac culinary delights might do the trick. A little champagne, some oysters, some dark chocolate — who knows where it will lead? Other therapies marketed as aphrodisiacs, including various herbs and supplements, do not have any science behind them and also may be risky, depending on what the product is and your medical history. Talk to your doctor before trying any of these.
  • Medications for Boosting the Female Sex Drive

While women have not traditionally had as many treatment options for low sex drive as men, researchers are studying medications that may enhance women’s libidos. A recent Australian study highlighted in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a testosterone patch may significantly improve a woman’s sexual satisfaction. However, since the patch was associated with a possible increase in the risk of breast cancer, more research will be needed before this therapy can be released to the American public. Still, the potential benefits identified in this study are exciting news for women struggling with their sex drive.

“This is the first study to show that when used alone, testosterone administered by a skin patch significantly improves sexual well-being in postmenopausal women,” said the study’s lead author, Susan R. Davis, MD, a professor of women’s health at Monash University in Australia. The patch is currently available in Europe to treat loss of sexual desire in women, but it has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that use of sildenafil (Viagra) improved sexual function in women taking antidepressant medication (a class of medication well-known for sexual side effects, such as reduced sex drive). More research is needed to know for sure what effect Viagra and other medications like it might have on the female libido.

Bottom Line on Boosting Your Sex Drive

If you have experienced a decrease in your sex drive, talk with your doctor. He or she will review your medical history, give you a physical exam, and discuss any concerns with you. It may be that a medication or undiagnosed medical problem is to blame for your low sex drive. If that is the case, an alternative medication or treatment of the problem may do the trick. For women who have gone through menopause, hormonal therapies can sometimes help with vaginal dryness and lack of desire. And if there is no physical cause for your decreased sex drive, your doctor may be able to recommend a qualified sex therapist.

The most important point to remember is that there’s no need to be embarrassed or ashamed if you suffer from low sex drive. A healthy sex life is part of a healthy life in general. If your sex drive is faltering, speak up. Help is available.


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