Kids, careers, demanding schedules, house work, lack of sleep and those pesky five extra pounds that somehow accumulated out of nowhere: what do all of these things have in common?
They are all reasons why your sex drive may not exactly be thriving right now.
In the beginning of a relationship, you can’t possibly fathom there would ever come a time when you’d have to literally schedule sex on the calendar days (or weeks, or months) in advance. But when the craziness of life gets in the way, sometimes intimacy between you and your partner is the first thing to go. “Stress or relationship issues can definitely play a role,” explains Dr. Laura Berman, sex and relationship educator and therapist and New York Times bestselling author.
But there may be more to the low sex drive story than just fussy toddlers, project deadlines and the occasional spat with your husband: often, hormones and specific hormonal issues are to blame.
“Many outside factors can decrease a woman's libido, but hormonal issues caused by menopause or perimenopause can definitely be a factor,” Berman says. Perimenopause means "around menopause" and refers to the time when a woman's body makes its natural transition toward permanent infertility, or menopause. Perimenopause is also called the menopausal transition.
Dr. Berman goes on to cite other reasons that might be hindering your enthusiasm level when it comes to the bedroom. “Another big factor that can decrease a woman’s libido is a change in hormones caused by pregnancy and breastfeeding or other postpartum issues.”
In addition to these reasons, many prescription medications – including some antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines – are known for killing your libido. Many women even notice a drastic drop in their sex drive after getting on birth control.
Despite all of these factors, Dr. Berman maintains that there are healthy ways to naturally boost your sex drive. One of her biggest tips is something we should all be doing anyway: eating right and exercising on a regular basis.
“Excess weight will not only sap your energy and make you feel poorly, but too many refined carbs can wreak havoc on your body,” she explains. “Eat clean and get active every day, even if it is just for a short walk during your lunch break.”
Dr. Berman also suggests self stimulation as a way to help boost your sex drive. "The more you fantasize about sex and connect to your sexual self, the more sexual energy and desire you will have."
Above all else, Dr. Berman emphasizes her biggest piece of advice to women when it comes to maintaining a healthy sexual relationship with their partners. “Ask for what you want!” she says. “He isn't a mind-reader, after all. Also, do not expect him to be the initiator. Be the change you want to see in your relationship. If you want more romance, then be a more romantic partner. If you want more sex, initiate more often. Take responsibility for the energy you bring into the relationship.”