Low Libido

When is your libido too low?

It’s low if your lack of desire causes stress or unhappiness for you.

That is, if you’re perfectly comfortable with your sex drive, you don’t have low libido. But if you do have low libido, you’re in the company of almost half of women over 40. 

The ideal level of sexual desire is as individualized as a thumbprint. One woman’s idea of low libido may be another woman’s idea of nymphomania. The number of times in a week when you think about sex or pursue it is good to note, so you can notice increases and decreases in that number, but it’s worthless for comparison with some national average. If your desire is too low for your own happiness, then it is too low, and you may want to pursue ways of increasing it. If your overly active libido gets in the way of leading a healthy or productive life, then it’s too high, and that, too, can be treated.

Importantly—a woman’s libido is not like a man’s. At all. It is not triggered in the same ways or as readily. It does not follow the same course, can’t be easily encouraged through pharmacopoeia. Instead, our libidos are influenced by a complex balance of physical, psychological, and social influences. And we’re more in control of our libidos then our brothers are. We can turn off our interest in an instant.

We know far more about what can kill sexual desire in women than we do how to trigger it. Our libidos diminish with poor health, poor relationships, low body image, pain, stress, anger, and simple aging as our sex hormones become less available.

Supporting the libidos of midlife women is a matter of managing all of those influences, experimenting to find the right balance. So it can be as simple as providing the time and space to focus on sexuality, or as complex as uncovering and treating an ancient childhood trauma. Lingerie may do a great deal to help one woman tap into her sexual energy, while anti-depressants, androgen therapy, warming oils, and a few hours each week without the pressures of housework does it for another. 

Pharmaceutical companies may be looking for and betting on finding a simple, one-size-fits-all cure for low female libido, but we believe libido boosting, among women, will remain a matter of individualized investigation and treatment.

If your level of desire is not what you want it to be, we recommend you take a look at our Recipe for Sex after 40, considering each element in the recipe and how the action steps we’ve outlined for each may rekindle desire for you. If the self-steps we’ve presented don’t do enough to help you, we recommend you work with a good menopause care doctor who can help you explore more ways to support your sexuality.

Learn about the actions you could take, listed at right, to address this condition or see other conditions that could affect you.