Female Sex Drive: What Is Considered Normal?
When you hear the term “normal sex drive,” what do you think of? Do you imagine a woman who’s always ready for a little late-night rendezvous or an afternoon “quicky?” When we hold ourselves to such a high standard, we’ll probably end up feeling like we’re falling short of expectations, even when that’s not necessarily true.
Who’s to say what a normal sex drive is, anyway? As women, we all want to think we’re goddesses in the bedroom, but the reality is that some of us may struggle at various times with our sexual desire. When this happens, we need to remember that we are constantly changing beings with fluctuating hormones and equally fluctuating sexual needs. So when someone says “normal sex drive,” keep in mind that this is a pretty fluid term that can mean different things to different people.
But it’s also important to know that some of us may deal with occasional or persistent sexual issues such as consistently low libido and difficulties with arousal. When this happens, we’ll want to get to the bottom of the issue so we can make our lives in the bedroom as satisfying as possible. Here’s a brief overview of the female sex drive and how to tell if ours is “normal” or needs a little TLC.
A Healthy Sex Drive
Sex drive (also commonly referred to as libido) is a term that refers to a person’s desire to be sexually intimate. A high libido indicates an increase in desire for sex, while a low libido means just the opposite. Most women experience periods of high libido and low libido throughout their lives. That’s perfectly normal and indicative of normal sexual health. But some women experience consistently high libido levels while others may struggle with low libido throughout their lives. So what makes the difference?
While many elements combine to help create each of our unique sex drives, some things tend to differentiate women who identify as highly sexual from women with lower levels of desire. Here are a few of those factors.
Common Causes of Higher Sex Drive
Some women seem to always be in the mood for sex. Many complex factors contribute to a higher sex drive; some possible reasons for a robust libido include:
- Exercise. Women who exercise frequently are more likely to experience increased sexual desire than women who live sedentary lifestyles.
- Decreased stress. When we lower our stress levels, we are more likely to feel sexually aroused more frequently. Reducing stress also leads to improved mental health, so it’s well worth getting rid of as many stressors as possible in our lives. Easier said than done, right? Try starting small by eliminating activities or responsibilities that are unnecessary and don’t contribute to your overall sense of well-being.
- Adjusting medications. Did you know some medications are known to kill your sex drive? If you’re taking beta-blockers, SSRIs, antidepressants, or birth control, you may be able to blame them for your sudden lack of sexual motivation. Sometimes, adjusting your medications or slowly going off of certain medications (with the green light from your healthcare provider, of course) can lead to a boost in sexual desire. Or, if you’ve recently been put on one of these medications, keep in mind that you may experience low sexual desire until your body adjusts to them.
- Improved mental health. Have you ever noticed how your sexual desire seems to improve after losing a few pounds, getting a promotion, or experiencing a happy occasion in your life? That’s because an improved mood and mental health almost always lead to an increase in female libido. So if you’re struggling with your sexual function, get out there and do things that make you happy!
- Good sexual partner. It takes two to tango (if you know what we mean). If you’re having a hard time feeling “into it” when engaging in sexual intercourse, your sexual partner may be partially to blame. He may not know what type of preparation you need to maintain optimal sexual function, or he may be a little too focused on getting to his own “big bang” moment. For those of us who need extra help fostering sexual interest, it’s important to let our intimate partners know what we need in the bedroom. Good sex often begins with good talk. This conversation can be a lot of fun if we approach it in a flirtatious way.
- Menstrual cycle. When we think of our sexual desire, our menstrual cycle is probably the furthest thing from our minds. But where we are at in our cycle can have a big impact on our female sexuality. There is a “horny” spot in the ovarian cycle that usually comes during, before, or right after ovulation.
Increased sexual desire isn’t a problem unless it’s so pronounced that it interferes with our ability to live life normally. Otherwise, if we have short or prolonged periods of increased female sexual desire, we should have fun with it!
Common Causes of Decreased Libido
Though most of us probably wish we had a higher than average sexual desire, the truth is that many of us women struggle to maintain good sexual health. It’s more common for women to experience periods of decreased sex drive than the opposite scenario.
Though everyone’s situation is different, here are some of the more common causes of low sexual desire in women.
- Changes in hormones. There are a variety of hormones that stimulate the female sex drive. They include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Higher levels of estrogen and progesterone are generally associated with increased women’s sexual desire. Testosterone is also closely linked to libido control in both men and women. While you may think of testosterone as primarily a male hormone, the fact is that women rely on healthy testosterone levels to maintain good sexual health, as well.
- Menopause. During menopause, sex hormone levels decrease. Estrogen levels, in particular, take a nosedive right before and during menopause. Among other fun symptoms, this decrease in estrogen can cause us to feel a little (or a lot) less sexy than usual. Low sexual desire is just something we females can expect to deal with right before, during, and after menopause. Low testosterone is also common during menopause and is something most postmenopausal women experience.
- Age. It’s common for a lot of things to slow down as we age, including our sexual activity and desire. As our testosterone level decreases and our estrogen level fizzles downward, we may start to feel less excited about a romp in the hay with our significant other. However, it’s also important to note that a woman’s libido can fluctuate quite a bit throughout her life. So even if you don’t feel like having a lot of sexual activity now, you may experience a peak in your sexual drive a month or year from now. Generally, sexual intimacy tends to trend downward once you reach age 60.
- Poor mental health. Research shows that depression, anxiety, and other similar mental health conditions tend to impact our sexual behavior. Those of us who struggle with our mental health have a higher risk of sexual dysfunction than others. Though it’s a scary term, sexual dysfunction simply refers to any problem that occurs during any aspect of sexual activity. It can also be referred to as any problem that arises during the sexual response cycle of excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
- Pregnancy. All of us women who have been pregnant before or are currently pregnant know firsthand how unpleasant sex can be. Pregnancy turns your hormones inside-out and upside-down, and it can be a real buzz-kill when it comes to sexual activity. During pregnancy, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone levels fluctuate all over the place. These changes can cause us to get hangry, tired, moody, and prone to “headaches” when our lover wants to heat things up.
- Chronic conditions. Heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions can lead to female sexual dysfunction. If you have any of these conditions, consider talking with your doctor about what you can do to improve your sexual functioning and enjoyment.
- Relationship dissatisfaction. No matter how healthy your mind and body may be, you may experience decreased sexual desire due to dissatisfaction with your relationship. If your partner isn’t treating you well or if you doubt your worth to him or her, you’re more likely to experience sexual problems such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (which is a fancy term for saying you rarely want sex).
- Medications. There are some medications and treatments known to cause sexual concern due to their impact on libido. These include antidepressants, female hormonal contraceptives, beta-blockers, and chemotherapy.
This list of potential libido-killers is pretty long, but the good news is that we have at least some control over several of the factors mentioned. If we’re ever unhappy with how much or how little sex we desire, there may be things we can do to decrease or increase our libido.
How To Increase Sexual Desire
If you want an increased sex drive, here are some things you may want to try (in no particular order):
- Get more sleep. Studies show that sleeping longer tends to lead to heightened sexual desire the next day. So the next time you want to sleep in, do it!
- Talk to a sex therapist. Sex therapists know how to spot hypoactive sexual desire disorder and other issues that may be interfering with your ability to have an awesome sex life. They have a wealth of knowledge about dealing with sexual concerns and helping people achieve orgasm (now that’s a cause any girl can stand behind!) You have nothing to lose and great sex to gain by speaking with a qualified sex therapist.
- Exercise daily. Regular exercise is not only good for your body and mind, but it’s great for your sexual health as well. Plus, it will give you the confidence you need to slay that tricky sex position you’ve wanted to try for a while.
- Try aphrodisiacs and nutrients. Mother Nature knew some of us females would struggle with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, hormonal imbalance, and other common bedroom problems. So she decided to give us some incredible herbs that improve sexual function. They include fenugreek, maca powder, Ginkgo biloba, and ginseng. Some of these herbs help the body produce more sex hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. Others may improve our ability to achieve orgasm.
Another way to increase your sexual desire is to make an effort. It may sound simplistic, but sometimes slipping into a sexy negligee and lighting a few candles can help create a romantic desire that may not have been there before.
How Male and Female Sex Drives Differ
There’s a good reason for the stereotypical claim that men always have one thing on their minds. In general, men really do think more about sex than women do. They are also more likely to experience spontaneous sexual arousal than women. As females, our bodies tend to require a bit more coaxing to become aroused and stay aroused. So if your man wants more action than you do, don’t worry. That’s normal and is generally something to be expected in any relationship.
If our men become frustrated because we need a little more sexual motivation than they do, we may need to educate them on the female body and what it takes to help us get aroused. Keep in mind that these little education sessions can be a lot of fun and don’t need to become a source of embarrassment or frustration.
Of course, not all men want sex all the time. In fact, some men may suffer from a low sex drive, just like some women do. Men over 60 often experience a decrease in sexual desire due to decreased testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. So it turns out that sexual dysfunction is not a female-only club. Men frequently join as well!
Understanding Sexual Arousal
Female sexual arousal can seem like a mysterious thing. After all, every woman’s body is different, and what works for one woman may not work for another. But for many women, the most sexually sensitive part of the body is the clitoris, and the nipples come in at a close second place. It’s interesting to note that both of these areas respond more readily to pressure and vibration than a light touch. Other sexually sensitive body parts include the neck, forearm, and inner thigh, though these areas generally respond best to light touch.
Men are often extremely intrigued by a woman’s ability to orgasm more than one time per sex session. While not all women have experienced this happy event, it’s estimated that seven out of ten women can climax more than once during sex. Some lucky vixens are even able to climax as many as 20 times in a single session. Lucky them! The truth is, women experience orgasms in different ways. It’s wise not to compare ourselves to others and to learn what our own ideal orgasm experience is.
Do You Think You Have Low Libido? Learn What You Can Do About It!
Do you have trouble becoming aroused? Do you feel increasingly dissatisfied, even after being sexually intimate? Here are a few indications you may be dealing with low libido:
- Disinterest in initiating sex
- Little to no interest in participating in sexual activity
- Difficulty finding pleasure in sex
- Few to no sexual fantasies or thoughts
- Lack of pleasurable sensations even when sexually stimulated
Vaginal dryness is sometimes mistaken as a symptom of low libido, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lower sex drive than normal. We, women, tend to develop vaginal dryness when we reach a certain age (usually between the ages of 40 and 60). Postmenopausal and premenopausal women with dryness issues can use over-the-counter lubricants to make our sexual encounters more pleasurable.
Postmenopausal women are more likely to have trouble maintaining libido. This is due to the many hormone changes that occur during menopause and is a perfectly natural part of aging. But once our level of desire dips below a certain level, will it ever return to what it once was? The answer is possibly.
There are hormone therapy options available that may help boost your sexual hormones and increase your ability to become aroused. However, these therapies are associated with side effects some of us women don’t want to deal with. Known side effects of estrogen therapy include:
- Breast tenderness
- Mood changes
Like estrogen therapy, testosterone therapy for women can also cause unwanted symptoms, including:
- Increased acne
- Boost in “bad” cholesterol
- Increased hair growth
- Potential increased risk for breast cancer
For some women, the side effects of these hormone therapies may be worth the trade-off for better sex. However, others may look for more natural remedies for low libido.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Herlove is a Mixhers product that can gently boost female libido and balance sex hormones without unwanted side effects. It’s an all-natural product that nurtures your sensual side while improving your overall health and physical performance. In short, it’s the libido-enhancing product that all of us females should consider taking if we want a healthy, exciting sex life.