In the previous article for this column, I talked about several causes of low libido in women. I feel that it is important to give coverage to this issue, as women still find it difficult to openly confront this problem.
The libido is a fragile, fickle thing, and can so easily be lost due to physical and psychological factors in our lives.
If we do not identify the causes of low libido, we will be constantly wondering why we do not enjoy or desire sex, and may even heap blame on ourselves and damage our relationships.
In this article, I will continue with the list of common sex drive killers in women, and ways to address these.
Poor body image
Beauty and attraction are intertwined with feelings of sexuality and desire. Yet, it is often not our looks or body that is the issue, but our perception of them.
It is hard to feel comfortable with your body, or feel sexy when you have poor body image. Some women think that they are too fat, others think that they are not curvy enough. Some want bigger breasts, others want longer legs.
These characteristics don't really have anything to do with sexual performance, yet some women obsess about it until they lose their desire to have sex because they feel ashamed to bare their bodies.
This problem has to be first resolved within yourself - nobody can make you feel sexy until you feel good about yourself.
You should also talk to your partner and ask him what he finds desirable about you. You might be surprised to learn that he has no issues with the parts of you that you so dislike! Do not let anyone make you feel bad about yourself.
If you feel that you should lose weight, make sure that you do so healthily and properly. Do not crash diet or starve yourself. Follow a suitable exercise programme - working out will give you an energy boost, tones your body, and increases your sex drive.
Sex after menopause? Why not? But first, women have to overcome the tendencies of menopause to reduce sexual desire.
The hormonal changes brought on by menopause not only affect libido, but also some of the important sexual functions. As testosterone production drops, the sex drive becomes lower, the clitoris becomes less sensitive, and the body is less able to respond sexually.
The low levels of oestrogen, meanwhile, cause vaginal dryness and makes penetration painful.
While menopausal changes are inevitable, there are ways that you can overcome some of the symptoms. If you have vaginal dryness, your doctor can prescribe topical oestrogen therapy, or you can use a water-based lubricant.
Besides these physical factors, menopausal women should also consider the state of their relationship (have they become too comfortable, entered a boring routine?), their body image, and self esteem (are they shy about their ageing bodies?), as well as their state of health (are they taking other medications or suffering from other conditions that could affect libido?).
Monotony and routine
Complacency can set in to any relationship. Sex is part of a package that includes intimacy, connection, communication and affection. If sex becomes routine in a relationship - on a fixed day, at a fixed time, with fixed moves - the fun and sizzle will quickly dry out.
For women, in particular, intimacy and affection are very important. Your partner needs to understand that talking, snuggling and touching can do a lot to revive your sex drive.
It's somewhat ironic that birth control pills not only stop you from getting pregnant, but they also stop you from wanting sex.
Oral contraceptives work by stopping your ovaries from producing hormones, which affects your body's sexual functions. The Pill also causes your body to produce a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which binds itself to testosterone and renders it useless.
If you feel that oral contraceptives are interfering with your sex drive, consider using an alternative form of contraception, with your doctor's advice.
If you have health problems like thyroid disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or autoimmune disorders, you may find yourself losing interest in sex.
This is because these conditions affect your hormone levels, blood flow and nerve signals in the body, all of which play a role in sexual desire.
If these conditions are well-managed and under control, you should find your libido returning to normal. However, be aware that certain medications, such as high blood pressure drugs, can also affect libido, so discuss it with your doctor, if this is a concern.
If you think that one or several of these libido killers relates to you, talk to your doctor about what you can do to change the situation.
Sometimes, you will not even need drastic changes. You'd be surprised at how much good lifestyle changes can do - just exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and taking time out to relax.
If you take care of yourself, your libido will take care of itself too!