One of the most common problems to be diagnosed with if you are a woman over forty living in the United States is low libido. I have to qualify this statement because the problem of low libido is a common problem in the United States, but not so problematic in other countries. The U.S. is also very youth driven and not only do Americans have difficulty aging, they seem somewhat shamed about it. When you compare our culture to Asian Cultures or to Europe you will notice a strong difference. Women in Japan don’t know what a hot flash is, and in Italy you wouldn’t have to look far to see a fifty to sixty year woman flaunting what she has on a nude beach. In the U.S. her counterpart may do the same but not without her share of surgical scars, implants, and other adjustments. This brings us to the fundamental problems of low libido. The emotional effects of low libido don’t only affect the woman herself, but they affect her partner and her children because like it or not, we are teaching the next generation how to age and remain vibrant.
My work as an intimacy/sex counselor has taught me that intimacy and sex have a huge impact on a person’s health, managing their stress, their relationship and their self-esteem. Sex and intimacy only become a problem in life when one of these three areas is not functioning as they should. The physical side of low libido is complicated. Medicine has determined the possible causes and the list includes: arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, neurological diseases, and infertility can also lower low sex drive. Along with medical illnesses, causes can stem from medications taken such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs, antihistamines, and birth control pills. Vices people use can also cause low libido such as alcohol and drug abuse, which includes marijuana. Obesity can affect blood sugar levels which influences sex drive, and is a huge libido killer. Many women don’t understand as little as five pounds can make a huge difference to their libido. Not only medically but also emotionally, because women’s self-esteem is wrapped up in how they feel about their body.
Just as impactful as the medical aspects of low libido are the emotional aspects. Whenever I lecture for a group of women low sex drive consumes a big part of their conversation, and they liken it to menopause or getting older. This concerns me, because there is a cause and effect thinking that as women grow older their sex drive will decline. Women all over the United States accept this as part of their reality. They should not. When we have a culture telling our youth this happens, and we tell ourselves it happens we begin to wait for it to happen. Is it any wonder it does happen? To be sure hormonal imbalances change the way a woman feels about sex, her body, her life, and her partner. But accepting a low sex drive because you are a certain age is the same as accepting diabetes drugs to control your blood sugar level when you could change your diet, lifestyle, and exercise regime, and feel better about yourself and manage your blood sugar without medications or minimized medications.