We know it has something to do with sex. We know it's a good thing, and most of us want to have it ... but what is the "L word" (libido, that is) exactly?
"Libido" is medically defined, in part, as "sexual drive, conscious or unconscious" and "variously identified as the sex urge, desire for pleasure or satisfaction."
This gives us some insight into the science of the libido. If we want a livelier libido, experts say, we should try ways to boost it both consciously and unconsciously, with an emphasis on the "P" word -- pleasure.
Sexuality is yet another example of the vital connection between mind, body, and spirit. At first glance, sex seems like mostly a physical matter. So if you are having libido issues, you should look at physical (body-related) solutions, right? And for some people -- those who have sexual dysfunctions arising from a medical condition -- that may be the answer. It's also true that the general state of our health can affect our libidos (and we all know how important good nutrition and regular exercise are for our health).
But we shouldn't neglect the importance of the mind and spirit in relation to libido, according to Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, a board-certified sex therapist in California.
Think back to some of your best sex. What was going on? Was it following great conversation or a relaxing soak in a hot tub? Were you sharing your heart and soul with the one you loved? Were you on vacation with your partner and in "letting-go" mode, shedding all the stress from home and work?
It stands to reason that some people are having libido issues partly because of our crazy, stressed-out lives these days; there's simply less time for connecting with our partners. Moving our minds and bodies from "being productive" to "being intimate" mode takes time and attention, says Weston.
One researcher actually came up with a name for this phenomenon -- "Hurried Woman Syndrome." Brent Bost, MD, a researcher in private practice in Beaumont, Texas, coined the term to describe a trio of complaints he and other obstetrician/gynecologists see often in their patients: fatigue, weight gain, and decreased libido. In a recent survey of ob-gyns, 64% said stress was the main cause of these symptoms.
Treatment for "Hurried Woman Syndrome" can include a balanced diet, cognitive-behavioral therapy to help patients cope with stress, and, potentially, antidepressants, Bost advises.