Like men, women have sexual desire or libido. It is a natural part of life that is controlled by the brain and influenced by a variety of bodily and environmental factors.

Sex drive in women

In women, sex drive or libido is primarily governed by the level of activity in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which is a dopaminergic pathway that links the different areas of the brain involved in various cognitive processes.

It is also often affected by the following factors:

Testosterone

Known as the primary male sex hormone, testosterone is also present in women’s bodies but in smaller amounts. If there is a high concentration of testosterone in a woman’s body, she will experience a boost in her libido.

Estrogen

Known as the primary female sex hormone, estrogen plays a major role in the formation and development of the female reproductive system and the regulation of the secondary sex characteristics. If there are high levels of estrogen in a woman’s body, she will have high sexual desire.

Oxytocin

A type of peptide hormone and neuropeptide, oxytocin is responsible for several sexual and reproductive functions, including menstruation, libido, sexual reproduction, and childbirth. If there are high levels of oxytocin in a woman’s body, she will have better libido levels.

Progesterone

An endogenous steroid and sex hormone, progesterone plays a key role in women’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy. It has an inverse relationship with testosterone and estrogen, as it decreases when the other two increase. So, if a woman has high progesterone levels, her testosterone and estrogen levels decline, which results to low libido.

Serotonin

Serotonin is a chemical compound that takes on a number of essential bodily functions, including digestion, memory, sleep, mood, and sexual desire. If a woman has high serotonin, her sexual desire will decrease. 

serotonin structure

Female sexual activity per age group

Over the years, many research studies have been conducted to learn more about women’s sexual desire and sexual activity at different ages.

One study found that women’s motivations to have sex are usually influenced by the following:

  • Upbringing and background
  • Career and life goals
  • Past sexual experiences
  • The kind of relationship they have with their sex partners

And, as they age, these factors are highly likely to change.

In another study, more than 200 women were gathered to complete an online survey to assess their sexual activities. They were divided into three groups — women aged 18 years to 22 years, women aged 23 years to 30 years, and women aged 31 years to 45 years.

From the participants’ answers, the study found that women aged 31 years to 45 years were more sexually active than the two other groups. However, the primary motivations for engaging in sex across the different age groups were essentially the same — physical attraction, stress reduction, self-esteem boost, pleasure, experience, and love and commitment.

Low libido in women

Some women have lower libido than others because of certain physical, emotional, social, psychological, and biological factors. Below are some common causes of reduced libido in women:

High blood pressure

This is a medical condition in which the force of the blood that flows through the blood vessels is too high. If not treated right away, it can damage the blood vessels, form blood clots in the arteries, and cause a heart attack or stroke.

Diabetes

This is a health problem that arises when the blood glucose or sugar levels get too high. It can cause sudden weight loss, kidney problems, muscular and nervous system dysfunctions, and damaged heart and brain blood vessels.

Menopause

This is a natural occurrence that all women go through as they age, usually once they are 45 to 55 years old. It triggers several symptoms that include weight gain, sleep problems, mood changes, and hot flashes.

Pregnancy

pregnant couple in bed

When a woman is pregnant, her body’s hormone levels change, and can cause a decline in sexual desire. This can continue after childbirth and through the baby’s breast-feeding stage.

Stress

Every time you are stressed, your body releases large volumes of cortisol, which causes a decrease in testosterone levels. As a result, your sex drive will be negatively impacted and drop.

Mental health

Poor mental health can cause a decline in your libido levels. If you have anxiety or depression, you should see a mental health professional right away to receive the appropriate treatment.

Sexual history

Those who have been physically or sexually abused are very likely to suffer from low libido. These negative sexual experiences can be traumatic and make it difficult to engage in any kind of sexual activity. If you are dealing with this, you should not hesitate to get help.

Relationship problems

Low libido can be a result of having conflicts, poor communication, or a lack of connection with your sexual partner. If not resolved as soon as possible, sexual desire will continue to decline, and salvaging the relationship will become harder.

Ways to boost sex drive in women

To enhance your sex life, you should make smarter and healthier lifestyle choices. Here are some things to consider:

Exercise

If you exercise on a regular basis, you can boost your body’s testosterone production, which can positively affect your desire for sex. Moreover, you can strengthen your bones and muscles, lose weight and be in better shape, improve your stamina and endurance, and lower your risk of diseases.

Try something new in the bedroom

Doing the same thing in the bedroom over and over with your partner can result to a dull and boring sex life. It can make having sex feel like a chore. To change that, you should be open to experimenting different sexual position or using sex toys.

Visit your doctor

Going to the doctor is important to detect anything wrong with your sexual functions early on. If you have low libido, your doctor may prescribe certain medications. Just make sure to only take the prescribed dosage and report any negative side effects to not worsen your condition.

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