Science has long paid a great deal of attention to the dire predicament of men losing their sex drive or their capacity to perform sexually. However, with taboos increasingly becoming irrelevant, greater focus is finally being invested in understanding women’s sexual health. What has come to light in the past few decades are two things: First, low libido is more common in women than their male counterparts. And second, the reason for this is because the female libido is far more complicated than the male libido. Unlike in males, waning libidos in females are more difficult to diagnose. This is because of their ambiguous signals and because female sex drive is influenced by both physical and emotional factors.
The official name assigned to distressingly low libidos is Hypoactive Sexual Desire (HSD), and it invites much debate regarding females. Partially, this is because, unlike men, female sexual responses are not necessarily projected in physical forms. Whereas lack of arousal or sexual dysfunctions in men interfere with sexual performance (such impotence or premature ejaculation), females with low libidos are still capable of doing “it”, even if physical signs of arousal, such as erect nipples or increased blood flow to the genitalia, lessen. But a dampened libido is rarely assumed by women to signify permanence. After all, attempting to quantify what constitutes a low sex drive is impossible as even a healthy drive fluctuates by the influence of external and internal factors.
Physiologically speaking, there are many processes that women’s bodies endure that males don’t. This explains, at least partially, the differences between their overall sex drives, as well as why women’s libidos are more likely to fluctuate more greatly than their more randy counterparts. Hormonal changes are one example. During menopause, estrogen levels drop affecting both the health of vaginal tissue as well as overall interest in sex due to a coinciding drop in testosterone. Also, pregnancy and post-childbirth are accompanied by hormonal changes. Compound that with the exhaustion and situational changes of those times, and sexual libido often suffers.
Similar to men, there are physical causes that can influence the sex drive in women. Illness or medical diseases impact libidos, particularly cancers that contribute to infertility which affects the psyche and physical desires of women. Anything that affects the physical health of females, such as poor eating habits, lack of sleep, obesity, anorexia, and lack of physical exercise share a correlation with decreased sexual drive. As is the case for low libido in men, medication, alcohol, and drugs all manipulate the proper functions of the body and hamper the sexual appetites.
But the problems do not have to be physical to be real. Many psychologists accuse the psychosexual of having the greatest influence on the libido of women. Among the psychological influences on low libido include depression, stress, relationship issues, and low self-esteem over body image. Psychosexual theory asserts that the female libido can be profoundly impacted by the past, such as a history of sexual abuse during childhood. Worse yet, the psychological can begin to influence the biological as anxieties towards sex are believed to be a key cause to vaginismus which causes the vagina to become tense by the involuntary contraction of surrounding muscles during intercourse.
The low libido in women is often understated because it is viewed as fluctuating and inconsistent, unlike males. To a degree, that is true. But it is rarely dealt with properly. More often, it is not discussed at all. Exactly like males though, the key remedy is a balance between the physical and the mental. For women, the emotional health is as essential to sexual health as physical health.