Why Your Libido is Flagging (and How to Fix it)

posted: 06/11/15
by: Courtney Reimer
woman and man in pajamas arguing in bed

If you'd rather curl up with a good book than a good spouse tonight, you're not alone: by one estimate, as many as 43 percent of women experience some form of sexual dysfunction (science speak for "low sex drive" at any given time). A new drug, flibanserin (a.k.a "female viagra") may soon be available to women who seek to address the issue from a chemical standpoint (more on that below). But what's causing such a pervasive dip in sex drive? Here are a few things we know:

1. Monogamy breeds familiarity -- and boredom. The wonderful thing about monogamy is that your lover knows and trusts you more than anyone else. But with that deep knowledge can come deeply routine bedtime behavior. Sexperts say one way to breed more desire is to change things up a bit: if you're always doing it the same way, it can get a little less than appealing.

2. Bad timing. And we're not just talking about he-wants-to-do-it-on-a-night-before-your-early-morning-presentation bad timing. It turns out the sequence of events in which men and women get in the mood are a little out of whack. But as one sex coach told New York magazine, the key is to try a taste when you're not 100 percent in the mood, and see if that whets your appetite. Dr. Charlie Glickman says "a lot of women find that desire follows arousal, sort of like when you don't realize you're hungry before you take a bite of food." So take a nibble and see if you don't feel like the full meal deal.

3. Chemicals can help -- and hinder libido. Yes, flibanserin has been shown to improve the sex lives of the women who've tested it. But another set of chemicals can hinder sex drive, too: those found in The Pill. A study cited by the Huffington Post showed that women who use hormonal contraceptives are more likely to have lower libido than women who use other forms of birth control. Of course not all science agrees on this, but if you suspect your contraceptive may be the culprit, consider trying a new method.

4. You're no longer a spring (or sprung) chicken. Contrary to the old saw that claimed women's sexual peak is somewhere around the age of Mrs. Robinson, many signs point to women's flagging sexual desire as they get older. A new study of British women (who, accent aside, probably aren't that much different from U.S. women), found that frisky feelings have a steep dropoff at age 41.

More than anything else, women with lower desire to do the horizontal mambo should know they are not alone, and that there are some pretty simple solutions if you're looking to boost your sex drive -- most of which amount to a familiar athletic shoe's tag line ("Just do it"). And failing that, female viagra could be on its way very soon.