What is loss of female libido?
Loss of libido (low libido or low sex drive) is a reduced desire to have sex. It can also mean a low sex drive that is persistent and won’t go away outside of the normal changes of your interest in sex.
What are the symptoms of low libido?
Symptoms of low sex drive or loss of libido might be:
- having no interest in any type of sex including masturbation
- rarely or never having sexual fantasies or thinking of sex
- being unhappy with your low desire for sexual activity or thoughts of sex
It’s not unusual for a woman to lose interest in sex at some stage, or experience difficulty climaxing to orgasm. Your interest in sex can be affected by many life changes. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong. A range of physical and psychological factors can play a part in your feelings towards sexual intercourse.
CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.
What can cause a low sex drive?
Some causes of low libido include:
- vaginal dryness
- painful sex
- difficulty reaching female orgasm
- some medicines (including medicines used to treat depression and antipsychotic medications)
- underlying health problems like endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), depression, cancer, arthritis, or heart problems.
- hormonal changes due to perimenopause or menopause
- some forms of contraception
- alcohol smoking or drugs
- pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding
Additional causes can include:
- illness of a partner
- a change in partner’s sexual function
- poor body image
- relationship difficulties
- history of unwanted sexual contact
- trauma or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
When should I see my doctor?
There is no ‘normal’ amount of sex, everyone is different. People who are asexual may have no or low sex drive which is normal for them. If you are unhappy with your low sex drive, there are some strategies that may help.
Your doctor may be able to suggest some lifestyle, nutrition and relationship changes as well as some medicines to take if you are concerned.
What can help improve your libido?
Things to try that can help improve libido include:
- Sex education and counselling
- Lifestyle changes such as making sure you exercise, eat well and reduce alcohol or drugs
- Reducing stress
- Communicating with your partner
- Talking to your doctor about medicines that may help (for example, hormone replacement therapy)
Some medicines can cause a low libido. If you are concerned that a medicine you are taking is causing problems with your sex drive, ask your doctor for a medicine review.
Advice for loss of libido
Discussing your feelings with someone is important. If you feel uneasy talking about sex in a relationship, try asking your partner how they feel about your sex life first. Not talking about your feelings can sometimes make sexual concerns worse in a relationship.
There’s more to sex than having intercourse. If your interest in having sex has decreased, you may want to try some more sensual methods of becoming aroused. These include:
- exploring and caressing each other’s bodies
- taking a bath or shower together
- having a massage
- kissing each other slowly and in sensual places (such as the thigh)
- undressing each other
- experimenting with different sexual techniques alone or with others
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Last reviewed: May 2022