During the current state of our world, we could all use a little more love - physical love. But with a stigma and such “hush-hush” mentality behind getting in bed, it’s hard to chat about all things physical connection, sex-drive, and libido. This topic needs a public image rehabilitation campaign! The common conception of libido is that it’s our enthusiasm for having sex, and that it’s our fault if we don’t have this drive anymore. This is wrong on both counts. Libido is not only not a clinical term, it doesn’t really exist. There are hormones, nerve endings, and the nervous system that all have to work together in order for us to feel that kind of fire. On top of that, it is hugely impacted by our mental state. Too many women punish themselves but rarely know how to triage the issue. The epidemic of low sex drive in women seems to be parallelling with the COVID-19 pandemic within our world. So instead of blaming yourself for your lack of desire, learn how your physical and mental health can play a huge role in impacting this and get educated on how to reverse it!


WORRIED ABOUT YOUR LIBIDO LEVELS?

Take our quiz to build a bespoke testing plan that will help you identify and resolve any Vitamin or Hormone imbalances that might be affecting your Sex Drive.


In pursuit of the perfect orgasm: everything you need to know about female sex drive

Key takeaways

What is Libido?

Libido is the term that is referred to when talking about your sexual desire or appetite. A person’s libido can be motivated by hormones, learned behavior, medications, or mental/emotional state.

When your libido is high, you are more likely to desire physical sexual intimacy and seek it out with a partner. This is known as a healthy sex-drive; when there is no real need for worry. However, when your libido takes a nose-dive, so does your sex-drive, and could potentially become absent which can put a strain on intimate relationships.

Although there are no clinical criteria for diagnosing low libido, there are common symptoms that many experience including:

  • Absence of sexual fantasies

  • Disinterest in any physical contact from a partner

  • Loss of desire for a partner

  • Stress about lack of sexual interest

Rethinking Your Sex Drive

The concept you have in your mind about your sex drive is probably wrong. Sex educator and director of Wellness Education at Smith College Emily Nagoski claims that there’s no such thing as a sex drive, and the assumption that everyone has a “drive” to have sex is harmful, especially to women. When Nagoski says that sex drives aren’t real, she’s not implying that people don’t naturally have a desire to have sex, because that is not the case. The issue for her is the word “drive” itself, which in psychological terms means “a motivational system to deal with life-or-death issues, like hunger or being too cold.” So if you’re hungry, your drive will motivate you to go find something to eat and satisfy that desire. Nagoski argues that a drive isn’t an adequate way of describing sexual desire because, as she told New Scientist, “you’re not going to die if you don’t have sex.”

In order to get your desire back on track, you must first understand your body, your hormones, and how they correlate with your appetite for sexual intimacy.

What Are Sex Hormones?

Hormones are natural chemical substances that are produced by the body. Their main drive is to relay messages from organs to cells and affect many bodily functions. The two main female sex hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Testosterone is considered a male hormone, however women do produce and need this hormone in smaller doses.

Estrogen is the main female hormone. Coming from the ovaries, it plays a huge role in reproductive and sexual development. Although its main role is to serve as the lead hormone in the reproductive category, it does also affect the brain, cardiovascular system, hair/skin, musculoskeletal system, and urinary tract.

Progesterone is produced in the ovaries as well, but after ovulation within each cycle. The role of progesterone differs from estrogen because it’s mainly focused on supporting pregnancy by:

  • Preparing the lining of the uterus for a fertilized egg

  • Suppress estrogen production after ovulation

Testosterone is created in small amounts coming from the adrenal glands and ovaries. Although it’s not considered by most as an “important” sex hormone for women, it does play an important role in several different functions including:

  • Bone and muscle strength

  • Regulation of the menstrual cycle

  • Sexual appetite

Needless to say, making sure your hormones are well balanced and in proper production is essential when trying to create a positive sexual desire for yourself and/or your partner.


WORRIED ABOUT YOUR SEX DRIVE?

Get started by checking your hormones lab values with Base. Check your libido hormones, your stress, and much more.


Your Sex Drive and COVID: how has isolation changed things?

For some, sexual activity has taken an increase since the pandemic hit the world. Taking a deeper look into why this is has shown researchers that the increase in sexual activity is with couples who already live together and don’t need to isolate or social distance from one another (1).

However, for those that may not live with their partner, or are not in a committed intimate relationship, the pandemic has negatively affected their state of sexual desire.

COVID-19 has brought a lot of unwanted stress on many people. To make matters worse, stress is one of the biggest factors that can change the production frequency of your hormones, inevitably affecting your sex drive. Outside of it being distracting and making it harder to connect with others on an emotional or physical level, another stress hormone called cortisol is released in the body when stress levels are high, leading to a decrease in testosterone levels (2). We know that testosterone plays a big role in creating a sexual appetite for women, so this decrease in production can be quite negative for those seeking a better sex life.


Other External Factors That Decrease Sex Drive

Outside of stress from our everyday lives, along with the state of the world right now, there are other external factors that can contribute to a low sex drive.

Thyroid Problems

Your thyroid hormones play a major role in almost every aspect of your body. Although sex drives have been shown to decrease with age, thyroid disfunctions can affect you at any age, particularly prevalent in women after giving birth and well into menopause. Therefore, understanding your thyroid imbalances can help connect the dots as to why your sexual fire may be at a low.

Research is now suggesting that 46% of women who have a thyroid disorder experience some sort of sexual dysfunction. In this group of women, the most common issues reported were a lack of arousal, desire, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction (3).

If you suspect your thyroid may be to blame for your lack of desire for a sex life, the first thing you should do is get your hormone levels tested. By using a platform like Base, you are letting the science help speak for your body and taking the questioning out of your condition. Your key hormones, protein, and vitamin levels will all be tested, allowing you to begin to understand your own libido and learn how to reverse this condition.

Other ways to help fix your thyroid include:

  • Changing your diet

  • Improving your sleep pattern

  • Increase foods and supplements that support an autoimmune condition

Birth Control

Taking a hormonal contraceptive in order to prevent pregnancy can be a catch-22 for those looking to jump back into bed. This is because adding extra hormones into your body ends up suppressing your natural production of sex hormones and can change your levels dramatically, resulting in a low libido. Chat with your healthcare provider about other non-hormonal alternatives that will still help you prevent pregnancy, but will not deliver artificial hormones into your body.

First Steps in Better Understand Your Libido

Like mentioned before, if you are experiencing a nose dive in your sex drive, getting hormone and nutrient levels tested can make the biggest impact on learning about your body specifically and what it needs in order to thrive and drive that desire back up!

Take the worry and confusion out guessing what will or will not work to boost your desire back up and learn where your body may need a little extra TLC to heal any imbalances it may be experiencing.


Ideas for Increasing Your Sex Drive

1. Learning Your Body

Demanding yourself to “get in the mood” is unfortunately not how creating a sexual desire works. However, blocking out time to listen to your body and truly learn and understand what it is that gets you in the mood can really help in how to communicate that to a partner.

2. Engaging in a Relaxing Activity Before Sex

Doing something relaxing with a partner before jumping right into bed may be a good starting point for you in order to set the mood or feel more in the moment. Try enjoying a nice dinner, lighting some candles, playing some music, or giving each other a massage. Just ridding your body of the stress of the day can do wonders for your mental health and result in a boosted libido.

3. Give Yourself Some Grace

Understanding that your lack of sexual desire is not necessarily your fault can take the stress and pressure off of you in order to relax a little bit more within the moment. Of course you want to get to the root cause of the problem, but knowing that it may just be the phase of life you are in (like a postpartum breastfeeding mother) and are actively working on healing your body of any imbalances it may be going through can help ease the tension and blame you may put on yourself. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace; we are all constantly going through body changes. Different phases of life affect us all differently.

4. Find Stress Management Techniques

Making time for yourself to reduce stress can play a huge role in bringing back your sexual fire. Some free and easy stress management techniques include:

  • Yoga

  • Exercise

  • Meditation/Deep breathing

  • Talking to a friend or loved one

  • Journaling


Conclusion

If you find yourself worried about your current lack of sexual desire, just remember it’s not something you can turn on and off. Getting your hormones tested, giving yourself grace due to the state of our current stress-filled world, and incorporating stress management techniques can all help rebalance out your hormones and heal any imbalances your body may be going through. Instead of cringing away from this taboo topic, lean into it and learn what your body needs in order to light that fire back up inside of you again!


Sources

  1. Yuksel, B. (n.d.). Effect of the covid-19 pandemic on female sexual behavior. Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32392400/

  2. Basson, R. (2010, August). Testosterone therapy for reduced libido in women. Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3474615/

  3. Pasquali, D. (n.d.). Female sexual dysfunction in women with thyroid disorders. Retrieved March 03, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23580027/

Did this answer your question?