Why Women Lose Interest in Sex
What Is Low Sexual Desire? continued...
Kingsberg, who is an associate professor of reproductive
biology at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine says, "It's about
your body signaling that it wants to be sexual. Whether or not there is any
intention to act on it, we all have a certain level of drive."
That sexual drive declines naturally with age based on
physiological factors. But sexual desire also encompasses interpersonal and
psychological factors that create a willingness to be sexual.
"Above and beyond horniness, it is the sense of intimacy in
the relationship," says Kingsberg. "If you are mad at your spouse, you
could be horny but you're not going want to be sexual with that particular
Therefore, all of these aspects of sexual desire must be
examined in order to determine the root of the problem.
Common causes for a loss of sexual desire and drive in women
Interpersonal relationship issues. Partner performance problems,
lack of emotional satisfaction with the relationship, the birth of a child, and
becoming a caregiver for a loved one can decrease sexual desire.
Sociocultural influences. Job stress, peer pressure, and media
images of sexuality can negatively influence sexual desire.
Low testosterone. Testosterone affects sexual drive in both men and
women. Testosterone levels peak in women's mid-20s and then steadily decline
until menopause, when they drop dramatically.
Medical problems: Mental illnesses such as depression, or medical
conditions, such as endometriosis, fibroids, and thyroid disorders, impact a
woman's sexual drive both mentally and physically.
Medications: Certain antidepressants (including the new generation
of SSRIs), blood pressure lowering drugs, and oral contraceptives can lower
sexual drive in many ways, such as decreasing available testosterone levels or
affecting blood flow.
Age. Blood levels of androgens fall continuously in women as they
Putting the Desire Back in Women's Sex Lives
Because a loss of sexual desire in women is caused by a
combination of physical and psychological factors, it usually requires more
than one treatment approach to fix the problem.
"For women, it is much more complex. They're not just
complaining of one plumbing problem, says Shifren. "So we have to be more
thoughtful in our approaches to treatment."