Although there is no such thing as a “normal” sex drive, you may feel that you’re craving sex less than usual or experiencing trouble getting aroused during sex. In this case, you may have what is known as low libido.
Low libido — which can also be referred to as female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) — may occur in as many as one-third of adult women in the U.S.
Besides affecting your subjective mood, health, and relationship, low libido can be a sign that something is off. For this reason, getting to the root cause can improve not only your libido but also some aspects of your physical and psychological health.
To help you do this, in this guide from ASYSTEM, we will go over everything you need to know about low libido in women. This includes its causes, diagnosis, treatment, and natural ways to get your drive back to its normal levels.
Read on to get your sex drive back on track.
What Is Low Libido?
Libido is very complex.
In our society, we are expected to be “on'' all the time. But the reality is that life’s demands can make having a low libido completely normal. If you’re busy with your career, raising a family, or the dozens of other responsibilities you have on your plate, sex may be put to the side (at least temporarily).
However, you might notice a significant change in how often you crave sex or how able you are to get aroused during it. This may cause your mood to be lower than usual, create tension between you and your partner, and affect your health. In this case, you may be experiencing low libido.
Although the two are technically not interchangeable, a low libido can indicate a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Your doctor can diagnose you with HSDD if you experience loss of interest in sex, unresponsiveness to sexual stimulation, and a high degree of stress as a result. These symptoms must persist for at least six months to meet the criteria for diagnosis.
In addition to the distress it may cause, a low libido can signify that something is off. This can be anything from your health to your relationship to your environment. For this reason, getting to the root cause of low libido can benefit you in several ways.
Keep reading to discover the various factors that can cause low libido in women.
What Causes Low Libido in Women?
The causes of low libido can be biological, psychological, or interpersonal.
Here’s a brief overview of these factors can be:
Libido can change according to reproductive life experiences.
Perimenopause and postmenopause are associated with hormonal changes — such as a decrease in estrogen and testosterone — which can reduce energy levels, increase vaginal dryness, and decrease sexual desire.
The postpartum period is also associated with a reduced sex drive. Estrogen levels typically plummet after childbirth, which can decrease vaginal lubrication and make sex too painful to be enjoyable. Besides, the stress of being a new mom can make sex about the last thing on your mind.
If you take birth control, you should be aware that certain types of contraceptives are associated with low libido. Of course, the relationship between the pill and low libido is complicated and rests on many variables, such as your underlying physiology.
That said, research shows a relationship between certain types of birth control and sex drive. For instance, one study found that one-fifth of women using the ring contraceptive reported a lowered sexual desire after several months of being on birth control.
Last, biological changes brought on by lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, sleep deprivation, and lack of exercise can also bring on biological changes in the body. For instance, a diet high in sugar is linked to increased inflammation in the body, which can interfere with circulation and lead to low libido.
Essentially, any lifestyle behaviors that interfere with your physical health can lead to biological changes that affect your libido.
Stress affects a whopping three-fourths of the U.S. population. As a result, many individuals tend to think that feeling stressed out is the norm.
However, stress is damaging to your health and can seriously damper your sex drive.
Intuitively, it makes sense why stress is bad for your sex drive. After all, sex may be the last thing on our minds when we're stressed out. Beyond that, releasing stress hormones — such as cortisol — can lower certain sex hormones, exacerbating your low libido.
Aside from stress, some psychological causes of low libido include depression, anxiety, and poor body image. Essentially, anytime we’re feeling psychologically unwell, our libido can take a hit.
Sex is (often) done with another person. As such, we can’t disregard the role that your sexual partner plays in your sexual desire.
Even if you’re used to having amazing sex with your partner, relationships can ebb and flow. You may go through periods where you don’t feel as attracted to your partner. This can be a brief period of time. However, it can indicate underlying issues that are best addressed in psychotherapy in some cases.
Some women may blame themselves for a reduced sex drive — especially if it affects their relationship. However, if you only experience low libido with one person, then the problem may not lie with you.
How Is Low Libido Treated?
If you decide that low libido is affecting you negatively, you can refer to your primary care provider or OB-GYN for treatment.
Treatment for low libido or hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) typically addresses the biological, psychological, and social factors of the condition. No two women are the same. As such, treatment should be tailored to the individual.
As the first line of approach, your doctor should recommend lifestyle changes. If you experience dysfunction in anything from your diet to your sleep to your activity levels, addressing them is the safest (and most effective) approach to increasing your libido.
However, if you’re on top of your (health) game, there may be other reasons why you experience a low sex drive.
In some cases, you may be referred to a counselor to address any psychological reasons you may experience low libido. If you are in a relationship, you may benefit from couples counseling.
If the above approaches don’t work for you, your doctor can prescribe certain medications for the condition. Although it is only recommended for postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy — most notably testosterone — can help to increase key sex hormones that can boost libido.
You can use certain antidepressant medications to improve mood, potentially leading to an increased interest in sex. For instance, bupropion can be used off-label to increase sex drive. However, because everyone’s brain chemistry is unique, it might take some trial and error to find the right antidepressant for you.
While most medications for low sex drive are prescribed off-label, one drug is intended specifically for the purpose. Flibanserin (sold under the brand name Addyi) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015. Dubbed “the female Viagra,” it is a non-hormonal daily medication that’s intended to treat HSDD in pre-menopausal women.
However, pharmaceutical agents always come with their fair share of side effects. For instance, flibanserin is associated with side effects such as dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, and menstrual spotting.
Naturally, some women may wish to avoid taking pharmaceuticals in favor of natural supplements. To help you choose the best remedies for supporting your libido, read the following section to discover how to increase low libido in women.
What Can Naturally Increase Libido in Women?
When it comes to naturally boosting your libido, there is no shortage of supplements on the market. However, only a select few have extensive research to back up their effectiveness.
Here are some of our favorite ingredients from ASYSTEM that have been clinically proven to increase blood flow, reduce stress, and rev up the production of key sex hormones.
You may be familiar with fenugreek’s uses as a spice in various cuisines. Aside from making your food taste delicious, fenugreek is a type of herb known as an adaptogen — which means that it “adapts” itself to balance your stress hormones. In addition, fenugreek contains bioactive compounds called saponins that may help to increase the production of certain sex hormones.
Not surprisingly, fenugreek is linked to an improvement in sex drive. For instance, one study shows supplementing with fenugreek can decrease vaginal dryness, which can improve sexual pleasure and lead to an increase in orgasms. Another randomized placebo-controlled trial shows that fenugreek can support circulating testosterone levels, which can also contribute to an improved sex drive.
While this ingredient is more commonly used in pre-workout supplements, it can also increase sex drive. It has been shown to increase nitric oxide by 230%, relaxing the genital muscles and increasing blood flow to them. As a result, it can increase physical arousal.
French Maritime Pine Bark Extract
This ingredient has various anti-inflammatory properties, which can increase blood flow to the genital muscles. Studies show that when combined with other naturally-derived ingredients (like the amino acids L-Arginine and L-Citrulline), this ingredient produces clinically significant results in enhancing physical arousal in women.
If you take a look at the periodic table, you’ll find boron amongst the natural elements that exist on this earth. As an important mineral, it plays a role in balancing hormone levels. Specifically, it can boost the production of testosterone and estradiol — a type of estrogen — which can increase libido.
Used as a natural aphrodisiac in several Caribbean nations, sea moss contains a plethora of essential minerals (92 of the 102 that are found in the human body!). Amongst them are folate, magnesium, and zinc, which can help you combat stress — a major disruptor of libido.
Anything that balances inflammation in the body can support better health. Burdock root — thanks to its antioxidant properties — does not disappoint in this regard. Studies have shown it to support a healthy inflammatory response while increasing sexual health and function.
Although what makes for a healthy sex drive is unique to each individual, you may notice that you’re craving sex a lot less than usual. If it’s taking a toll on your health, mood, or relationship, you may (understandably) want to do all you can to boost your libido.
For an all-natural solution with clinically-proven ingredients, ASYSTEM’s libido gummies can give your libido the boost that it needs. With a delicious once-a-day gummy, you’ll be on your way to achieving your best sex life.
Influence of a Specialized Trigonella foenum‐graecum Seed Extract (Libifem), on Testosterone, Estradiol and Sexual Function in Healthy Menstruating Women, a Randomised Placebo Controlled Study | Wiley Online Library
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)
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