“Dead bedroom, sexless marriage, low libido, lack of desire.”
We’ve got lots of names to describe what happens when we stop wanting sex.
And according to science, this is a common phenomenon- about 30–40% of all women have at some point experienced a loss of interest in sex for at least a three month period.
However, what counts as a low libido? When should you worry about your levels of desire? And when should you seek help?
A low sex drive happens to us all at some point
We use the term “low libido” to describe any lack of interest in or desire for sex. This can seem quite a scary label, however- we ALL don’t feel like having sex sometimes.
It’s NORMAL to have these fluctuations in our levels of desire because our libido responds to what is going on in our lives and environments. For many of us a lack of desire for sex could be temporary- in response to an argument with our partner, too much to drink, work stress or because we’re feeling sad.
Our desire often returns when we’re through a difficult patch or the factor affecting our desire is gone.
It’s just whether you perceive it to be a problem
In many ways, there is no normal when it comes to sex and how much (or little) we want it. Labelling people as high or low sex drive will always invoke comparison (and who sets the rules around what is high or low?)- so the key is to only compare yourself to yourself. A lack of sex drive is a problem only if YOU feel it is.
For some people, they’re not fussed about sex because they identify as A-Sexual, and may have little to no sexual attraction to others. Some have sex, some don’t- it’s a personal choice. In this case, a low libidio isn’t a problem.
If you think this fits your experience, a great resource to visit is Ace in The Hole, an A-Sexual blogger who writes plenty about sex from an A-Sexual perspective.
Others recognise a downwards shift from the levels of sex that they used to have, or the amount of desire they used to feel. This might feel OK and not an issue, or they may identify this as something they’d like to look into further.
There is no “right amount of desire” or “normal” levels of libido, other than what feels normal or right for you. However, whether you identify your sex drive as an issue or not, pressure can often come from other places….
When your partner sees it as a problem
For many women, their partner might want more sex than they do. This is called a mismatch in desire.
A mismatch in desire is difficult because neither partner is wrong or right- it’s just a difference in opinion. This can feel tough to navigate because there is no “normal” frequency for sex– it’s only what you negotiate between you. Many couples get tied up in worrying about the frequency of their sexual encounters because they’re concerned with how much they “should” be having, rather than what feels right for their partnership.
For more, here’s a great article about about what’s a normal amount of sex in a relationship.
For some women when their partner does flag this as an issue, it’s something they can discuss and agree on together. They may recognise that they are also dissatisfied with the frequency of sex and they may decide to take action- together or separately. Some do not know where to begin (which is where this site comes in handy!).
For others, they may disagree with their partners opinion and see their lower levels of desire as a normal response to the issues going on in their lives, e.g. post-childbirth, conflict within the relationship, stress, bereavement, or they close down the conversation because of shame, confusion or fear. This can lead to tension and conflict in the relationship about the frequency of sex, which in turn can create a vicious cycle and become another factor that erodes her desire.
How about a medical diagnosis? A diagnosis of a low sex drive is known as Female sexual interest/arousal disorder. The criteria (according to the DSM) is:
absent or decreased sexual interest
absent or decreased erotic thoughts or fantasies
absent or decreased initiation of sexual activity or responsiveness to a partner’s attempts to initiate it
absent or decreased excitement and pleasure
absent or decreased response to sexual cues
absent or decreased sensations during sexual activity, whether genital or non-genital.
For some people, a label can be really relieving to know that you have something recognisable, and that there must be a cure or some medicine to take to fix it. If you are concerned it is a medical issue, many professionals, such as GPs, sexual health clinics, sex coaches or therapists, can explore issues around a low libido and can offer a wide range of options to help you recover it.
This is a BIG but…. a diagnosis of sexual dysfunction isn’t always helpful or accurate.
Using medicalised language like syndromes, disorders and diagnosis can make those who experience a low libido fear there is something seriously wrong with them when in fact, female low libido is FAR more likely down to societal, cultural and external influences.
Which means that it’s MUCH more common for her desire to be shaped by her motivation to have more of the sex she’s having, her relationships, her lifestyle, mood, and the societal messaging women receive around their sexuality.
And that’s exactly what this site is here to walk you through! Find out exactly how you can get your sex drive back by clicking through to the next post now.
And so *does excited dance for you*… now you know more about how your sex drive works, fancy moseying along and finding out the biggest, most well-kept secret to improving your sex drive *ever*?