Lost Libido

Females’ sexual desire quite different than that of a man

By Barbara Pierce


“I just can’t get interested in having sex anymore,” said 51-year-old Liz of Charleston, S.C.

Married for several years, Liz is concerned because, until recently, she was always eager and ready to get it on with her husband. Now she just doesn’t care.

She’s typical of many women. Sexual desire is leaving the American bedroom fast.

And many men can’t figure out why they’re not having it.

“It’s completely normal for a woman’s level of sexual desire to fluctuate throughout her life,” said Leah Milheiser, director of the female sexual medicine program at Stanford University. “It’s due to many factors, including hormonal changes like menopause or breastfeeding, or life stressors. Many things get in the way of having the sex life both partners want.”

When it comes to libido, medical experts agree that there is no “normal.”

“The reason sexual response in females is so varied has to do with factors that impact sexual function, including overall health, medications, hormone levels, relationship factors, and life stressors,” said Milheiser.

To help you understand why your partner may not want sex and what you can do, here are suggestions from experts, found online under several websites.

— Is she too tired, too stressed, or too distracted?

If her job, children, aging parents, or finances could be wearing her out, it may be difficult for her to find the energy to connect with you sexually, even if she wants to. Things in her life may be exhausting and worrying; it may not be easy for her to put aside those worries.

Raising children is exhausting and this can kill one’s sex drive. If the only time you have sex is at the end of the day, you likely will not be having much sex.

What you can do: Find ways to relieve some of her burdens, like take the kids out for a day, run errands, or clean the house. Give her a massage. Turn on her music and light candles. Make time for sex other than at night.

— Are physical problems affecting her?

The side effects of certain medications, including antidepressants, can affect sexual desire. Many physical conditions can cause problems with sexual functioning. Also, women go through hormonal changes that can affect her sexuality, like menopause.

A woman’s sexual response is more complicated than a man’s, and it’s worth getting a doctor to evaluate for any underlying physical problems.

What you can do: Encourage her to see a physician; offer to go with her.

Where is the love?

— Does she feel loved by you?

Many women will only be able to get turned on sexually if the emotional temperature between you is warm. She may have a hard time getting past “unfinished business” involving you.

What you can do: “The most sensitive sexual organ in a woman’s body resides between her ears,” said Dear Abby in a recent column, in response to a woman in her mid-20’s who used to have a high libido but hasn’t wanted to have sex with her mate in years.

Foreplay doesn’t start when you crawl into bed; it starts with all the little things you do and say all day. A woman needs to feel that she is desirable, attractive, and cherished.

Let her know she’s attractive and desirable to you, and show how much you love her. If there are conflicts, work through them together.

— Maybe she doesn’t feel sexy?

Her body has changed over the years. She needs to know that she’s still sexy and attractive. The best place she can get it is from you.

What you can do: Let her know your passion for her in your words, body language, and eyes. Tell her she’s sexy and why. Greet her with a hug and kiss. Look into her eyes and don’t be in a hurry to look away.

Yes, lie if you must. You’ll make two people happy.

— Her sexual appetite isn’t as strong as yours.

Over the course of a relationship, a woman’s desire for sex decreases while her desire for tenderness increases. The problem is a man’s desire for sex stays just as high as always. Her appetite might not have been as high as yours and maybe never will be.

What you can do: “Women with low sexual desire who find that while that initial spark that drives them to want sex isn’t always around when they want it to be, they usually enjoy sex once they get going,” said Milheiser. Liz, mentioned above, finds this happens.

A sex toy can stimulate key erogenous zones that a man doesn’t always find or doesn’t always know exist, areas that are highly sensitive for women. Most women are intrigued but don’t know where to start in choosing a sex toy, so go with her.

Milheiser recommends a new personal arousal device called Fiera that works to increase female sexual arousal and gets her body excited and ready for sex.

The lack of female desire is a profitable industry as attested to by the availability of adult sex toys.

There are thousands of books full of “theories” on why women lose desire that fill bookstores, along with drug companies that make Viagra-like pills for women.