Low libido among women is more common than you might think. As we’ve gotten more real about sex (Hello, The Bold Type sex. So long, Gossip Girl), it’s hard to feel left out of the the (literal) action. The result? Many women who live with low libido—a.k.a. a low sex drive—don’t talk about it.
Maybe sex—or rather a lack of it—is causing tension in your relationship, maybe you’re not having sex because of a past trauma, or maybe a new medication is messing with your sex drive. Whatever’s causing your low libido, you might not want to dish about it over brunch, but one thing is for sure: Not having sex can impact your life in some surprising ways. Here, four women share their stories—and open up about what helped.
“An outsider might think I’m just not attracted to my husband”
“For me, low libido means my brain and body don’t connect the dots—they can’t communicate about sexual desire. While an outsider might think I’m just not attracted to my husband, my husband knows better, and he’s very understanding. I have just as much attraction, affection, and respect for my husband as any other wife. When he initiates, I may hesitate physically because of my low libido, but once I get into it, I’m all-in—and I have fun. Having someone who’s willing to get me going helps get my brain and body in line.” —Marie B.
“When I show myself a little love, I’m more open to pleasure”
“I had a total hysterectomy at 31. My sex life had been incredible—I was having sex frequently—but after the surgery, I initiated sex less often and was never really in the mood. The lack of desire and emotion went from my sex life to every aspect of my life. I was told I was cold by people close to me, and that I just seemed empty. I’ve tried essential oils, supplements, and acupuncture, and reducing stress and taking better care of my health has started to help. I take personal time when needed, say no to things when I really just want to be alone, and do things I enjoy, like bike riding and hiking. My sex drive definitely isn’t like it used to be, but it’s gotten better. I’ve found that when I show myself a little love, I’m more open to pleasure.” —Amanda S.
“Having no desire for sex made me feel safe and comfortable”
“I experienced low libido for nearly a decade when I was married. It might sound surprising, but having no desire for sex made me feel safe and comfortable. It gave me a sense of control when I felt disempowered in so many other areas of my marriage. I did feel bad about constantly rejecting my husband. I thought if I could ‘fix’ myself, I’d get the relationship I envisioned, full of romance and a real connection. But the less sex we had, the more tension between us grew. I felt like sex was a chore—a task to check off a to-do list, like routine maintenance on a car. My husband and I weren’t getting what we wanted from our marriage, so we eventually divorced—and have both moved on.” —Krista J.
“Having a low libido has helped me weed out the takers”
“I have a hormonal imbalance and a stressful job. The combination is like a one-two punch to my sex drive, and I’m only interested in getting intimate when I feel completely taken care of emotionally. On the bright side, having a low libido has helped me weed out the takers in relationships, and I’ve managed to find partners who I jibe with mentally first, and then physically. Sure, my low libido has been a relationship killer. But do I really want to be dating a taker, anyway? Nope.” —Mandy J.