What is Libido?
Libido is a person’s sex drive or interest in sexual activities. It is usually determined by a combination of hormones that our body secretes as well as neurotransmitters that cause us to desire sex in the first place. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released in our brain and nervous system that stimulate different feelings as well as physical responses. This body chemistry is what makes up our libido. One theory is that the sex response is a reflex, but emotions can override this reflex.
Why Do Women Struggle More With Loss of Libido?
Women tend to struggle more as a result of events, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause, that don’t occur in a man’s body. Women, at any stage in their life, can have a couple of factors that can decrease sexual desire.
- Nerve or muscle damage during delivery lowers sensitivity in the genital area.
- Breastfeeding lowers a hormone called estradial. This hormone is responsible for keeping the urogenital tract lubricated and supple and a deficiency can make sex painful. Breastfeeding also raises prolactin levels, which drops the level of testosterone, the main hormone that fuels our desire.
- Sleep deprivation is a new mom’s constant companion. Sex, as with any activity requiring effort, requires energy to enjoy it!
- Later in life, as women approach the onset of menopause, the decrease in both testosterone and estradial can radically reduce their sexual desire.
Doesn’t Everyone Experience a Drop in Hormones?
Both men and women experience a drop in testosterone as they age. This will cause a thinning of pubic hair and a decreased sensitivity to stimulation or a weakening of one’s climax. A decrease in overall hormones of both sexes, such as melatonin and DHEA, can lessen the enthusiasm for sex itself. This can cause frustration in a relationship that can make the issue even more difficult to handle.
What Else Affects Libido?
Both sexes can experience a drop in sex drive. The following factors may need to be addressed with your health care provider.
- Medications such as anti-depressants, some birth control pills, and blood-pressure lowering drugs
- Weight gain
- Relationship issues
What Type of Things Can I Do to Improve Libido?
- Exercise regularly to increase in blood flow and endorphins
- Eat healthy foods to maintain a healthy weight, boost energy and keep your hormones in balance
- Reduce your stress. Consider seeing a life coach or counselor to talk things through, either individually or with your partner.
We have to remember that our reproductive function is not necessary for daily survival. When the body is struggling it will divert resources from this area and move it to more vital systems.
How Can I Reduce Stress when I’m Crunched for Time?
There are a few things you can try, even if you only have about 15 minutes a day. Sometimes it can be the best 15 minutes of your day! These are suggestions from the American Lung Association. You can find a copy at our office. http://www.ffsonline.org/assets/handouts/module-5/52-proven-stress-reducers.pdf
- Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments.
- Eliminate (or restrict) the amount of caffeine in your diet.
- Relax your standards. The world will not end if the grass doesn’t get mowed this weekend.
- Don’t rely on memory. “The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory.” –Chinese Proverb
- Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Extra time helps make mishaps less stressful.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take frequent stretch breaks when you’re sitting a lot.
It Can Be Frustrating. We Can Help!
At inHealth, we can develop a comprehensive plan to deal with medication side effects, weight gain, stress, and even the hormone fluctuations that may create a lagging libido problem for both men and women. Our bodies perform best when they are in balance. Let us help you get there!