“Libido, otherwise known as your sexual ‘drive’ or ‘desire’ varies from woman to woman and there is no right or wrong level. It is normal for desire to fluctuate…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Sexual Health and Libido Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Decreased Libido
  • Decreased Sex/Sexual Desire/Drive/Interest
  • Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD)
  • Female Sexual Interest-Arousal Disorder (FSIAD) [HSDD + Female Sexual Arousal Disorders]
  • Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder/Dysfunction (HSDD)
  • Lack of Sexual Desire/Drive/Interest
  • Libido
  • Low Libido
  • Low Sex/Sexual Desire/Drive/Interest
  • Sex/Sexual Desire/Drive/Interest

Libido

What is libido?

DotS the definition of libido may vary. In Decreased Libido: What Is Libido? the (United States) Hormone Health Network’s (HHN) definition is:

“Libido is the desire to engage in sexual activity”.2

The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

“Libido is the sexual instinct or erotic desire and pleasure”.3

Low Libido and HSDD

What is low libido?

DotS the definition of low libido may vary. The Australasian Menopause Society’s (AMS) definition is:

“Low libido refers to diminished desire for sex. When clinically a problem it is referred to as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)”.4

Different Differences

Is libido one-size-fits-all?

In Libido: What Is Libido? the JH elaborate on:

“Libido varies from woman to woman and can be influenced by a range of different factors”.5

Cause

What may cause low libido in women?

In Low Sex Drive In Women: Symptoms & Causes – Causes the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Desire for sex is based on a complex interaction of many things affecting intimacy, including physical and emotional well-being, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and your current relationship. If you’re experiencing a problem in any of these areas, it can affect your desire for sex”.6

In Libido the JH note:

“Libido, otherwise known as your sexual ‘drive’ or ‘desire’ varies from woman to woman and there is no right or wrong level. It is normal for desire to fluctuate perhaps due to changes in hormone levels, medication, your health, lifestyle changes and what’s happening in your relationship and in your life. If your libido level worries you there are a number of things you can do to improve desire. Finding a solution to the problem involves determining what seems to affect your libido and trying strategies to deal with this”.7

In Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause the AMS explain:

“Hormones are rarely the only factor involved in desire-arousal problems and other factors need to be identified and addressed. These might include relationship issues, psychological factors, side effects of common medications, such as antidepressants, or health issues such as diabetes. Women often say that the physical changes that occur with ageing and/or menopause make them feel more self-conscious about their body, particularly in relation to sex. Other changes in a woman’s life, such as a partner’s midlife issues (including erectile dysfunction), teenagers in the house or leaving home, and parents dying or requiring care will affect sexual function”.8

Common or Not

How common is low libido?

In the United States, according to the HHN:

“Studies show that about 33% of American women have low sex drive. Of those, about one in three women are upset about having low sex drive. That’s about 10% of all women in the United States”.9

In the United Kingdom, according to the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service):

“Loss of libido (sex drive) is a common problem that affects many men and women at some point in their life”.10

The AMS note:

“Low libido is the most common sexual concern reported by women and is often inseparable from diminished capacity to become aroused”.11

Fluctuations

Can libido fluctuate?

In Low Sex Drive In Women: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Women’s sexual desires naturally fluctuate over the years. Highs and lows commonly coincide with the beginning or end of a relationship or with major life changes, such as pregnancy, menopause or illness. Some medications used for mood disorders also can cause low sex drive in women”.12

Aging

Is there an association between aging and libido?

In Loss of Libido (Reduced Sex Drive): Getting Older and the Menopause the NHS note:

“A reduced sex drive is not an inevitable part of ageing, but it’s something many men and women experience as they get older.

There can be many reasons for this, including:

  • Lower levels of sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone) just before, during and after the menopause in women…”.13

In Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Ever since my periods stopped, my desire for sex has decreased. Is this normal? the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) explain:

“A. Sexual desire decreases with age in both sexes, and low desire is common in women in their 40s and 50s, but not universal. Some women have increased interest, while others notice no change at all. There is no major drop in testosterone at menopause”.14

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and libido?

In Sex & Relationships: Libido At Menopause the JH explain:

Libido

“Libido (sexual desire) tends to be lowered in some women at perimenopause and menopause. It is difficult to have desire if:

  • You have experienced pain because of a dry vagina
  • You are exhausted because of menopausal symptoms
  • You feel moody or frustrated by all the changes
  • You feel like you do not want to be touched as much.

Some women may improve with a trial of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) or with use of vaginal moisturisers/lubricants or vaginal oestrogen to improve vaginal dryness. It is an important issue to discuss with your doctor”.15

Relationships

Is there an association between relationships and libido?

Yes. The NHS note:

“One of the first things to consider is whether you’re happy in your relationship. Do you have any doubts or worries that could be behind your loss of sexual desire?”16

The JH explain:

“Low libido can become an issue in relationships when one partner wants sex more often than the other. This is called ‘desire discrepancy’ and can cause conflict and unhappiness”.17

Testosterone

Can testosterone play an important role for woman?

In Low Sex Drive In Women: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

  • “Testosterone. The male hormone testosterone plays an important role in female sexual function, even though testosterone occurs in much lower amounts in women. Testosterone isn’t approved by the FDA for sexual dysfunction in women, but sometimes it’s prescribed off-label to help lift a lagging libido. The use of testosterone in women is controversial. Taking it can cause acne, excess body hair, and mood or personality changes”.18

Global Consensus Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy for Women

What is one of the points of consensus about testosterone therapy?

One of the points of consensus on page five in the first Global Consensus Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy for Women – endorsed by 11 menopause-related organizations – published online 02 September 2019, is:

“Summary and Key Messages

The international panel concluded the only evidence-based indication for testosterone therapy for women is for the treatment of HSDD, with available data supporting a moderate therapeutic effect, in postmenopausal women. There are insufficient data to support the use of testosterone for the treatment of any other symptom or clinical condition, or for disease prevention”.19

What is HSDD?

HSDD can be an abbreviation for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder/Dysfunction.

In International Consensus on Testosterone Treatment for Women the JH explain:

“They concluded that testosterone can be effective at improving sexual wellbeing for postmenopausal women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Dysfunction (HSDD). Recognised benefits included improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm and pleasure, together with reduced concerns and distress about sex”.20

Treatment

How is low libido treated?

The NAMS explain:

“What’s important to remember is that there is a full range of psychological, cultural, personal, interpersonal and biological factors that can contribute to declining sexual interest, so if the decline in desire is bothering you, tell your healthcare provider. A clinical evaluation can identify any underlying medical or psychological causes of low sexual desire, which then can be treated as appropriate”.21

In Low Sex Drive In Women: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Most women benefit from a treatment approach aimed at the many causes behind this condition. Recommendations may include sex education, counseling, and sometimes medication and hormone therapy”.22

Health Care Provider

What if I have low libido?

If you have low libido, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The NHS note:

“Everyone’s sex drive is different and there’s no such thing as a “normal” libido. But if you find your lack of desire for sex is distressing or it’s affecting your relationship, it’s a good idea to get help”.23

In Libido: Managing & Treating Low Libido – Seek Advice the JH elaborate on:

“It is better for your relationship and future sexual experiences to discuss your feelings of low libido. You may want to seek advice from your doctor, with your partner if appropriate. Some of the following may help:

  • Treatment for any underlying illness or medical condition
  • Lifestyle changes and stress management
  • Herbal remedies (see an accredited naturopath)
  • Hormone therapy (if appropriate)
  • Medication changes
  • Antidepressants (certain antidepressants may be more suitable, others can reduce libido)
  • Stress management
  • Couples counselling
  • Counselling with a therapist who specialised in sexual concerns”.24

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Sexual Health and Libido?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Sexual Health and Libido?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Libido. Last Updated: 10 January 2020 | Topic Updated: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/libido Accessed: 09 July 2020
  2. Decreased Libido: What Is Libido? Last Updated: May 2018. Hormone Health Network https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/mens-health/decreased-libido Accessed: 09 July 2020
  3. Libido. Last Updated: 10 January 2020 | Topic Updated: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/libido Accessed: 09 July 2020
  4. Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause. Content Updated 27 June 2016. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/722-sexual-difficulties-in-the-menopause Accessed: 09 July 2020
  5. Libido: What Is Libido? Last Updated: 10 January 2020 | Topic Updated: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/libido Accessed: 09 July 2020
  6. Low Sex Drive In Women: Symptoms & Causes – Causes. 28 March 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/symptoms-causes/syc-20374554 Accessed: 09 July 2020
  7. Libido. Last Updated: 10 January 2020 | Topic Updated: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/libido Accessed: 09 July 2020
  8. Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause. Content Updated 27 June 2016. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/722-sexual-difficulties-in-the-menopause Accessed: 09 July 2020
  9. Female Sexual Dysfunction: What Is Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)? Last Updated: October 2017. Hormone Health Network https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/womens-health/female-sexual-dysfunction Accessed: 09 July 2020
  10. Loss of Libido (Reduced Sex Drive). Page Last Reviewed: 06 January 2020. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/ Accessed: 09 July 2020
  11. Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause. Content Updated 27 June 2016. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/722-sexual-difficulties-in-the-menopause Accessed: 09 July 2020
  12. Low Sex Drive In Women: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 28 March 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/symptoms-causes/syc-20374554 Accessed: 09 July 2020
  13. Loss of Libido (Reduced Sex Drive): Getting Older and the Menopause. Page Last Reviewed: 06 January 2020. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/#getting-older-and-the-menopause Accessed: 09 July 2020
  14. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Ever since my periods stopped, my desire for sex has decreased. Is this normal? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 09 July 2020
  15. Sex & Relationships: Libido At Menopause. Last Updated: 04 March 2020 | Topic Updated: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/sex Accessed: 09 July 2020
  16. Loss of Libido (Reduced Sex Drive): Common Causes of A Low Libido – Relationship Problems. Page Last Reviewed: 06 January 2020. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/#relationship-problems Accessed: 09 July 2020
  17. Libido: What Is Libido? Last Updated: 10 January 2020 | Topic Updated: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/libido Accessed: 09 July 2020
  18. Low Sex Drive In Women: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment: Hormone Therapy. 28 March 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374561 Accessed: 09 July 2020
  19. Davis, S. R., Baber, R., Panay, N., Bitzer, J., Perez, S. C., Islam, R. S., Kaunitz, A. M., Kingsberg, S. A., Lambrinoudaki, I., Liu, J., Parish, S. J., Pinkerton, JA., Rymer, J., Simon, J. A., Vignozzi, L., and Wierman, M. E. Global Consensus Position Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy for Women. Climacteric, 2019;19:4:314 https://www.imsociety.org/manage/images/pdf/4826803e84883e0c4fdb4480f36c88f9.pdf Accessed: 09 July 2020
  20. International Consensus on Testosterone Treatment for Women. 02 September 2019. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/news/international-consensus-on-testosterone-treatment-for-women Accessed: 09 July 2020
  21. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Ever since my periods stopped, my desire for sex has decreased. Is this normal? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 09 July 2020
  22. Low Sex Drive In Women: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 28 March 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374561 Accessed: 09 July 2020
  23. Loss of Libido (Reduced Sex Drive): Introduction. Page Last Reviewed: 06 January 2020. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/loss-of-libido/ Accessed: 09 July 2020
  24. Libido: Managing & Treating Low Libido – Seek Advice. Last Updated: 10 January 2020 | Topic Updated: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/libido Accessed: 09 July 2020

Topic Last Updated: 04 September 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 09 July 2020
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