He: “Are you in the mood?”
She: “Naw, I’ve got a headache!”
If you are a female and you experience these feelings about loss of desire for sexual intimacy, you may have hypoactive sexual desire (HSD). In other words, you’re rarely in the mood; you neither initiate sex nor seek stimulation. Hypoactive sexual desire is the most common form of female sexual dissatisfaction and occurs when there is a persistent lack of desire or absence of sexual fantasies.
Lack of desire often occurs as a result of problems with your partner. Communications problems, anger, a lack of trust, a lack of connection and a lack of intimacy can all adversely affect a woman’s sexual response and interest. If this sounds like you, counseling and therapy with your partner is probably your No. 1 treatment option to overcome HSD.
In addition to psychological causes there are medical causes of HSD.
Many commonly prescribed drugs, such as antihypertensives, antidepressants and birth control pills, interfere with sex drive, arousal and orgasm by affecting the balance of sexual hormones and the transmission of chemical messengers. Antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), combat depression by increasing the production of serotonin in the brain. Although serotonin may decrease depression, it also dampens sexual desire.
The onset of menopause, either surgically produced by removing the ovaries or naturally as a consequence of aging, is characterized by a gradual decline of the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Reduced testosterone levels can lead to a decline in libido. Ironically, the conventional hormone replacement regime of estrogen given to relieve menopausal symptoms can make matters worse, because estrogen increases a protein (called steroid hormone-binding globulin) in the blood that binds to testosterone, causing testosterone to become less available to the body.
Depression is also associated with HSD. A common symptom of depression is diminished sex drive, which, in turn, can exacerbate depression. Studies indicate that 12 percent of all women will experience clinical depression at some point in their lives. One of the side effects of the popular antidepressants Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft is loss of libido. Even with a lower-grade form of depression that is not easily recognized because you can function with it. A woman with depression may feel isolated and overwhelmed and withdraw from sex and social activities.