Libido, libido, libido. Sexual drive and desire is a complex, ever-changing thing that moves and flows as we ourselves go through life cycles and age. So many things can affect libido for those of us with vaginas, including giving birth, starting menopause, and even our own mental health. For example, new mothers can feel lower libido due to exhaustion, low hormone estrogen levels due to breastfeeding it can keep them suppressed), feeling overstimulated and having no personal space, and body image or self-confidence issues, according to Dr. Lucky Sekhon, OB/GYN. When you age, you might also feel a sense of decreasing libido, but it’s different for everyone. Why do our body’s changes coincide with libido? We decided to find out for ourselves.
We interviewed Dr. Manuela Maria Vasquez to find out everything about libido. What it is, why it changes, and what you can do to increase it. Dr. Vasquez launches LaMaria today, a female wellness brand that works by supporting natural hormonal changes with advanced, effective feminine products. LaMaria combines scientific research, sensuous design, and plant nutrient power to tailor luscious skin wellness to your ever-evolving routine. Keep reading to learn more about LaMaria, Dr. Manuela Maria Vasquez, and your libido!
The Missing Libido Mystery: Why it Has Nothing to Do with Your Age
What is the libido? Why would someone have a decreasing libido?
Simply put, libido is a person’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. The aspects that contribute to your libido are not as simple to understand as the actual definition of the word, As it is influenced by biological, psychological, and social factors. A woman’s sexual desire naturally fluctuates throughout her lifetime and low libido is the most common sexual problem in women. It impacts women of all ages, with a peak in associated distress in midlife. There are many complex interactions that contribute to these fluctuations in our libido:
Biological factors: With significant hormonal changes such as menopause, pregnancy, the postpartum period, and breastfeedingcan make you less interested in sex. The large drop in estrogen levels during the transition into menopause can lead to dry vaginal tissue leading to painful intercourse. Vaginal dryness, compounded with bothersome hot flashes, night sweats, and disturbed sleep can easily make a woman less interested in having sex. The significant fluctuation in hormone levels during pregnancy, the postpartum period, and during breast-feeding, combined with sleep deprivation, fatigue, changes in body image, and the responsibility of caring for a new baby can also contribute to changes in your sexual desire.
Social and psychological factors: Such as work and family obligations, stress, and emotional well-being can all have an impact on our libido. For example, Women who have stressful work schedules or who are caring for their children and families may not feel like they have the energy or time to dedicate to their sex lives.
Physical factors: There are medical conditions (for example-vaginal infections, vaginismus, vulvodynia, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and vaginal changes due to menopause) that make sex uncomfortable or painful, causing women to avoid intercourse and contributing to a low desire to have sex. Other nonsexual medical conditions that can contribute to decreased libido include arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and neurological diseases.
Medications: For example, women taking antidepressants, particularly those in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor family, may experience decreased libido, and for some women, hormonal birth control decreases their desire.
The desire for sex is based on a complex interaction of many factors affecting intimacy, including physical and emotional well-being, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and your current relationship. If you’re experiencing a problem in any of these areas, it can affect your desire for sex.
What are ways that you can increase your libido?
Restoring your libido isn’t something that can be done overnight. It takes dedicated time, introspection and may need support from a healthcare provider. First and foremost, you need to get to the root of the reason behind the decreased libido. Is it because you are having pain with intercourse, so you avoid it? Is it because you are on a certain medication for depression (for example) that is known to decrease your libido? Is it because you have been with your partner for 20 years and you know exactly what the “routine” is going to be when you have sex? Is the answer “yes” to a few of the questions? If so, each factor needs to be addressed.
If your relationship is starting to feel monotonous, focusing on improving the quality of the intimate, as well as the sexual relationship, can increase your libido. You need interventions that introduce novelty to the relationship– Planning date nights, setting aside quality time for each other, doing activities just the two of you. As far as improving the sexual relationship, focusing on foreplay, spending a night away from home, trying new sexual positions, incorporating a device or having sex at a different time of day in a new place, and expressing your sexual needs and preferences. Low libido in women is often a combination of physical and psychological factors. Any woman who feels that her low libido is impacting the quality of her life should see her Ob/Gyn and discuss her options. There isn’t a “one size fits all” remedy and a variety of treatments are available to help women who want to improve their libido because every woman deserves to have a satisfying and rewarding sex life.
Does libido have anything to do with age?
Although some studies have shown that women between the ages of 27 and 45 were more interested in sex than any other age group, in general, desire usually drops with age. Women are two to three times more likely to be impacted by a decline in sex drive over time compared to men. Reduced sex drive becomes much more common in women starting in their late 40s and 50s. More importantly, the effect of age also differs by an individual: some women experience a decrease in sexual desire beginning in their midlife years, others notice no change, and a few report increased interest in sex at midlife. This lack of consistency is a great illustration that although libido is not easy to understand, there are many modifiable variables that are unique to each of us and our journey that can help us have whatever type of sex drive we desire.