Low Libido: Why it Happens and What You Can Do About It

Let’s talk about Sex!  

Now that I’ve got your attention, I want you to know that low libido is not normal.  It is a symptom  of hormone imbalance.  

Of course it IS normal for a woman’s level of desire to fluctuate throughout her cycle.  If you’re really paying attention you may notice that your libido is lower before or after your period, while it becomes a lot more pronounced around ovulation.  An increase in libido can be a helpful marker for identifying your fertile window, in addition to increased production of egg white-like cervical fluid.  Increased libido around ovulation is an adaptive hormonal shift to facilitate reproduction.  

The pill works by not only preventing ovulation but also sapping our libido- a sure sign of hormone dysregulation, or in the case of the pill, hormone suppression.  

Though your libido may fluctuate, as it should, chronically low libido, where you don’t experience any desire or arousal, is an indication that your hormones are out of whack, and the most common culprit we see is STRESS

Under chronic stress our bodies’ prioritize survival over other less urgent functions like digestion and reproduction.  When it comes to making hormones, in a survival situation, which is what our bodies’ interpret chronic stress to be, the hormones precursors that were slated to become estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, etc., get reassigned to the job of managing stress in the form of cortisol and adrenaline.  As a result our reproductive system can show signs of dysregulation, including low libido.  

So what is there to do? 

  1. Spend the next 30 days observing your cycle- do you notice changes in your libido? Pay close attention to the days leading up to ovulation. 

  2. If you find your libido is wanting, I highly recommend evaluating your life’s stress points- what causes stress for you?  What can you do to decrease the stress in your life? Are there sources of stress that you can eliminate?  What can you do to increase your mental and physical resiliency to stress? HINT: It’s probably meditation or something meditative for you (knitting, self massage, a bath with candles, writing, coloring?) 

Most of us could use a bit more stress reduction in our lives- can you implement one thing that gives you a sense of peace and fills your cup?  Your libido (and so much more) is on the line! 

The combination of high stress and low libido is a vicious cycle.  While stress (and elevated cortisol levels) suppresses sexual desire, orgasm can actually lower cortisol levels, replacing it with oxytocin (the intimacy hormone).   The more cortisol, the lower the libido, and the less likely you are to engage in orgasmic experiences.  However, a daily long hug -I’m talking 20 secs- triggers a release of oxytocin that can break the cycle.  So hug it out…. and see where that takes you…