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Monday, April 16, 2007

How Common is Lack of Sex Drive in Women?

Extremely common. The American Medical Association has estimated that several million US women suffer from what US doctors prefer to call 'female sexual arousal disorder' or 'FSAD'.

However, recent (2007) US claims that ‘43 per cent of women have FSAD’ are clearly absurd. At the moment there is a sort of ‘FSAD bandwagon’ – driven by doctors who think that nearly half the female population is lacking in desire. This really doesn’t seem very likely!

However, in the UK, family planning clinics and Relate clinics do see quite large numbers of women who complain of lack of desire.

Several hundred thousand women in Britain are troubled by lack of libido. It's important to stress that many of these women have no problems with having orgasms. However, they have no real desire to have sex, and their minds are not turned on by the prospect of lovemaking.

Fortunately, for many women, lack of libido is only a temporary phenomenon. Some will get over it by themselves - and a lot more can be helped by expert medical or psychosexual advice.

What are the causes of lack of libido in women?

As is the case with men, lack of desire in women can be of either physical or psychological origin.

Physical causes

Possible physical causes in females include:

  • anaemia - which is very common in women, because of iron loss during their periods (and in childbirth).
  • alcoholism.
  • drug abuse.
  • generalised disorders, such as diabetes.
  • post-baby coolness (PBC): this is the term we have coined for the extremely common loss of libido that occurs after childbirth. It is almost certainly linked to the violent changes in hormones that occur at this time, though oddly enough, no clear-cut changes in hormones have ever been identified. The general trauma of childbirth also plays a part - and after having a baby, many women are simply too exhausted to think about sex!
  • prescribed drugs, particularly tranquillisers.
  • hyperprolactinaemia - a rare disorder in which the pituitary gland is overactive.
  • other hormone abnormalities: in 2006, leading Swiss gynaecologist Dr Michael Nemec claimed to us that abnormalities in the production of luteinising hormone (LH) often cause lack of desire. And in December 2006, top British gynaecologist John Studd announced at a conference in Vienna that many women who have lost their libido are suffering from lack of androgenic (male) hormones.

You may be surprised that we haven't mentioned the menopause as a physical cause of loss of desire. In fact - contrary to myth - it doesn't usually cause loss of libido, and many women feel a lot sexier (and have more orgasms) in the postmenopausal part of their life.

Psychological causes

These causes are very common. It's entirely understandable that when a woman is having a bad time emotionally, she may lose interest in sex.

Psychological causes include:

  • depression
  • stress and overwork
  • anxiety
  • hang-ups from childhood
  • past sexual abuse or rape
  • latent lesbianism
  • serious relationship problems with the husband/partner
  • difficult living conditions - eg sharing a home with parents or parents-in-law.

What do I do if I'm a woman who is suffering from lack of desire?

It's sensible to begin by going to your GP who can discuss the problem with you and do any necessary tests.

But a good alternative is to go to a woman doctor at a family planning clinic, since these practitioners deal with this particular problem every day of the week and are used to sorting it out. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years (2006-2007) family planning clinics have become rather ‘swamped’ with patients.


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