Fire: How Ladies Can Revive Their Sex
Remember that old commercial: “She can bring home the
bacon…fry it up in a pan…and never, ever let you forget you’re a man…”? It was a sign of the times—the women’s rights
movement on the heels of the “free love” days.
Today’s version may go something like this: “She can bring
home the take-out…drive the kids to the game.
Office work, plus the housework. How did life
get so insane?” Notice that the man is long forgotten.
In the U.S.,
40-50% of women report a lack of interest in sex. And Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD),
or low libido, is the issue for 80% of women who seek sex therapy.
Why are the flames of passion fading for so many women and
how can they be rekindled?
Women can lose interest in sex for physical and/or
After 40, most women have begun peri-menopause when their
hormone levels are fluctuating. This causes:
levels of estrogen, testosterone, or both--the hormones responsible for
sexual interest, arousal, response, lubrication and orgasm.
symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, vaginal dryness)
making sex unthinkable.
weight gain. When women respond
with chronic low-fat dieting, they deprive their body of lipids needed to
make testosterone and other sex hormones.
Other physical reasons for loss of libido at any age
or anemia, which lowers energy levels.
birth and newborn-care which produces extreme fatigue.
drugs, including tranquilizers, birth control pills, and hormone
replacement therapy may lower libido as a side effect.
overwork, and lack of sleep result in reduced estrogen and testosterone
levels, fatigue and lack of concentration.
Psychological reasons for lost sexual interest include:
relationship problems with a partner.
(including post-partum depression).
Some antidepressants have reduced sex drive as a side effect. And untreated depression reduces libido.
sexual abuse or rape. One in three
women may have been a victim of sexual assault. Unresolved issues can lower sex drive.
While there is not yet a Viagra for women--or a “magic pill”
to get you back in the sack quicker than a hot flash-- several treatment
options are available, depending on the cause of your problem.
See your doctor to address underlying medical conditions, to
adjust prescription medications, and/or to refer you to a therapist.
Treatments options include:
- Oral estrogen or patches. These
relieve menopause symptoms. Side effects include increased risk of heart
attack, stroke, breast and endometrial cancer and blood clots.
- Estratest. A combination of oral estrogen and
testosterone, FDA-approved for treating hot flashes, but used off-label to
improve sex drive. Side effects are the same as with oral estrogens, plus
masculinizing effects such as unnatural hair growth, deepening of the
voice, and decreased breast size.
- Estrogen suppositories or creams. Applied
directly to the vagina to soothe the tissue, encourage natural secretions
and even boost libido. Topical options are considered safer than oral
- Testosterone creams or gels. Applied
to the vagina and clitoris to increase sensation and orgasm.
- Eros. A device that applies
suction to the clitoris, increasing blood flow to the area and sexual
- Vitamin E. Available without a
prescription. Puncture a vitamin E
capsule and apply the gel to the vagina several times a week to increase
sensation and hydration.
- Zestra. A
genital massage oil with natural botanicals including evening
primrose oil and borage seed, clinically proven effective for sexual
arousal. Potential interaction with other medications exists.
- ArginMax. This herbal dietary
supplement has been proven to increase women’s sexual desire. It contains
ginko which can promote bleeding and may be contraindicated in someone on
Women are moving into the “sandwich generation”—still
raising children and now caring for their aging parents. Add the stresses of a job outside the home, and
the caretaker’s own personal needs—and health—are easily neglected. Sex isn’t even on the “to-do list.”
You can choose to do nothing about your libido. Decreased sexual desire is a natural part of aging.
However, if you do want to have a fulfilling sex life, you
can begin by taking care of yourself and your relationship.
You can reclaim your sex drive. The time to hesitate is
Time to set the night on fire.