Valentine's Day is here and who'd have thought I'd spent my birthday telling women how to fall in love with their bodies and get their sexy back again?
But on a serious note, this is a HUGE issue I see all the time and it is in women who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s not just those who are peri-menopausal who are affected. And it doesn't just affect them, it affects their relationships and partners too. So there are two things I just want to make clear, if this is you:
Having no libido is a sign that you need to fix your hormones.
The good news is it is - you can do something about it.
In my experience there are three root causes of low libido (outside of peri-menopause, and post partum recovery).
1. Hormonal birth control/the pill
2. Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis Dis-regulation or HPA-D (aka stress)
3. Low Oestrogen
So let's take a look at these in more detail:
1. Hormonal Birth Control
Part of hormonal birth control is that it binds up your sex hormones (to stop you getting pregnant). But we women need testosterone too for our libido. Unfortunately most hormonal birth control is not discriminatory binds up testosterone too, so if you are suffering low libido, it could be your birth control.
If you are thinking your libido went MIA within a few months of taking hormonal birth control, then you may want to think about whether it is for you. If you are on it as a form of birth control, then there are other non hormonal options such as condoms, the diaphragm and Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness (NFP/FAM) respectively.
If you want to understand the basics of FAM/NFP you can check out this course. If you want to know how to what you can do to support your body after coming off the pill, check out this post.
Getting your stress levels and whole hypothalamic pituitary axis working properly is absolutely key. This is the communication that goes from the brain to the adrenals and it regulates the stress response. When your brain perceives stress, it tells the adrenals to crank up the cortisol production to start the stress response, which is a good thing to have - otherwise we would never have survived our hunter gatherer days.
Unfortunately, in today's over stimulating and overloaded world, our stress response has become hypersensitive and over responsive to the tiniest of triggers. I honestly don't know anyone who can truthfully say, they are not stressed to some degree.
Unfortunately, the adrenals, when making cortisol have little resource left to make DHEA, the precursor to testosterone and our libido takes a nose dive.
So what's a girl to do? Anything to reduce stress or offset it is a great start.
Take up some gentle exercise and don'e exercise too late in the day.
Reduce the caffeine and only consume coffee with food and not after 2pm.
Improve the amount of time you sleep and the quality of your sleep. I wrote a blog with some sleep tips a while back which can help you out here.
Take some time to enjoy pleasure either with your partner or by yourself where the objective isn't climax but just the pleasure of touch, stroking, cuddling, massaging each other. If you are solo, check out orgasmic meditation.
Stabilise your blood sugar levels so you aren't riding the blood sugar/insulin rollercoaster throughout the day which can really cause cortisol issues.
Start dating again - whether single or part of a couple, date night is important. Take time to go and do something you enjoy. Dating yourself can be so much fun.
Get a massage - yes I am giving you permission to look after yourself. Massage should be part of everyone's routine, at least once a month. And if you can't get a massage you can massage yourself. I teach women how to manage their own abdomens and wombs which is so relaxing (and slightly addictive), via Skype. You can book in here.
3. Get Your Oestrogen Levels In Check
I often talk about when oestrogen gets to high but not when it gets too low, but so many women are in this position now. Oestrogen needs to be at the right levels for nerves and blood flow to your genitals at the proper levels. If you are dry or find sex painful, then low oestrogen may be your issue.
Low oestrogen is usually associated with menopausal issues such as night sweats and hot flashes, but it is increasingly becoming an issue for younger ladies too. If you want out more about low oestrogen, I did a blog post in December you should check out.
More than anything, getting your libido back should be a fun exploration of your body and what works for you.
Find Out More
Read more about Low Libido, Moody & Cranky
Read more about Is NFP/FAM The Right Birth Control For Me?
Read more about Sleep & Your Periods