Women naturally experience changes in sex drive throughout their lives. Interest in sex may be higher at the beginning of a relationship and lower during times of stress. The Mayo Clinic estimates that, based on studies, approximately 40 percent of women experience a lack of interest in sex at some point in their lives. For some women, the fluctuations can be extreme and cause significant anxiety.
Types of Changes
A hypoactive, or low, sex drive is the most common change that may cause concern. A hypoactive sex drive can be a lifelong condition in which the woman has never felt interested in sex, or it can be a situational condition in which she was once interested, but has lost the drive either entirely or only toward her partner. On the flip side, a hyperactive or extremely high sex drive can also be cause for concern, especially if thoughts of sex are causing disruptions in everyday functioning.
Changes in sex drive can be caused by a number of factors, including physical and hormonal changes, psychological issues and problems in a relationship. Prescription medications, particularly antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and even antihistamines, can decrease sex drive. Stress, low self-esteem and marital problems can also put a damper on interest in sex. Pregnant women, new mothers and women going through menopause experience hormonal changes that can alter their desire as well.
Some women may choose to seek medical attention to rule out underlying causes for changes in sex drive, especially if there is no significant change in their relationships or obvious emotional trigger. During the appointment, the doctor may perform a pelvic exam to rule out physical problems, including thinning vaginal tissue or dryness. Lab tests may also be ordered to look for thyroid problems or other medical causes.
Treating changes in sex drive typically involves a combination of techniques, including lifestyle changes such as regular aerobic exercise to improve stamina, finding ways to reduce stress and enhancing communication with your partner, according to the Mayo Clinic. Counseling with a sex therapist may also be beneficial. Underlying medical problems may be treated with prescriptions, including estrogen and testosterone therapy.
Changes in sex drive can impact a relationship and wreak havoc on self-esteem. Find ways to increase intimacy and the emotional bond with your partner, such as regular date nights. Make time for yourself, read books or take a bath. Try to take your focus off sex as much as possible. Those with a hyperactive sex drive may benefit from an anonymous support group. These are usually listed in your local daily paper.
Based in East Stroudsburg, Pa., Nicole Etolen is a freelance writer, blogger, and former Certified Nursing Assistant. She has been professionally writing since 1995, with articles appearing in "Lehigh Valley Bridal Magazine," "A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press" and numerous independent publications. Nicole is also the owner and sole author of Pretty Opinionated, a successful lifestyle blog for busy moms of school-age children, as well as a staff writer for several other parenting sites.