Decreased Desire: The Major Causes of Low Sex Drive in Women

A low sex drive is common among women, especially as they go through different life stages. While a dip in libido can stem from hormonal changes, mental and physical health conditions, and medications, the good news is that many causes of low desire are treatable. Read on to learn about the major factors that can lead to low sex drive in women and what you can do about it.

It’s normal for your sex drive to fluctuate over time. However, if you find yourself consistently uninterested in sex, it could be a sign of an underlying issue. Low libido, also called decreased sex drive or low sex drive, refers to a lack of interest in sexual activity. For many women, changes in estrogen levels are a primary culprit behind lagging desire. However, there are many other potential causes of low sex drive in women.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the leading causes of low libido in women and what you can do to revive your sex drive.

#1 Cause of Low Libido: Menopause and Perimenopause

As women enter perimenopause and menopause, lower estrogen levels are a major contributor to low sex drive. Estrogen helps regulate the female reproductive system. Dropping estrogen levels during menopause lead to physical changes in the vagina, which can make sex painful or less pleasurable. Furthermore, declining estrogen alters the release of feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which help regulate libido.

While menopause-related hormone changes are inevitable, there are solutions. Your doctor may recommend low-dose prescription estrogen therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness. They may also suggest trying different sexual positions or using vaginal lubricants to make intimacy more comfortable.

#2 Cause of Low Libido: Relationship Problems

It’s no secret that relationship issues can seriously affect your sex life. If you and your partner lack emotional intimacy, struggle to communicate, or have unresolved conflicts, it’s going to dampen your desire. Work on strengthening your emotional connection through more quality time together, heart-to-heart talks, and couples counseling if needed. Improving your overall relationship will help rekindle the spark in the bedroom.

#3 Cause of Low Sex Drive: Stress

High stress levels take a toll on your sex drive. When you’re overwhelmed, sex is usually the first thing to fall by the wayside. Chronic stress increases cortisol levels, which can suppress libido. Finding healthy ways to manage stress such as exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist can help lower cortisol. Setting aside dedicated couple time without distractions or making relaxation part of your bedroom routine can also offset the libido-lowering effects of stress.

#4 Cause of Low Libido: Anxiety and Depression

Mental health issues like anxiety and depression commonly cause low sex drive in both men and women. People dealing with depression often lose interest in formerly pleasurable activities like sex. Furthermore, many common antidepressant medications list low libido as a potential side effect. Managing underlying mood disorders through counseling and medication adjustments can help. Talk to your doctor if you think depression or anxiety meds are affecting your sex drive.

#5 Cause of Low Sex Drive: Sexual Trauma

A history of sexual trauma or abuse can understandably make someone hesitant to engage in sexual activity. Working through painful experiences with a trauma-informed therapist can help you improve intimacy and desire in your current relationship. Partners should be patient, compassionate, and let the survivor guide sexual interactions.

#6 Cause of Low Libido: Medications

Certain prescription drugs are notorious for lowering libido. These include antidepressants, blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs, and psychiatric medications. For women specifically, hormonal birth control can dampen desire.

If you think your medications are interfering with your sex life, talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust dosages, switch prescriptions, or help you find alternatives with fewer sexual side effects. Don’t stop taking any medications before consulting your healthcare provider.

#7 Cause of Low Sex Drive: Smoking, Drugs, and Alcohol

Unhealthy lifestyle habits can sabotage your sex drive. Smoking, recreational drug use, and excessive alcohol intake are all linked to loss of libido. Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and avoiding illicit drugs can potentially help boost desire. Refer: How to Naturally Boost Libido in Women

#8 Cause of Low Libido: Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction refers to issues like vaginal dryness, pain during sex, and inability to orgasm. Understandably, these problems can make sex unenjoyable and diminish your interest. Don’t ignore these symptoms – talk to your gynecologist. There are solutions available, like vaginal estrogen creams, lubricants, and pelvic floor therapy. Treating sexual dysfunction can remove a major roadblock to a satisfying sex life.

#9 Cause of Low Sex Drive: Fluctuating Hormones

Women’s bodies experience dramatic hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, after childbirth, and while breastfeeding. It’s common for sex drive to decline during these times due to shifting estrogen and progesterone levels. Don’t fret if your libido seems lower when you’re expecting or have recently had a baby – it’s usually temporary. Focus on intimacy that doesn’t involve intercourse, like cuddling or massage, until your sex drive bounces back after baby.

Other Potential Causes of Low Libido in Women

While we’ve covered the major culprits behind low female sex drive, here are a few other possible causes:

  • Certain illnesses or infections like UTIs or yeast infections
  • Cancer treatments like chemotherapy
  • Gynecological conditions including PMS, endometriosis, or PCOS
  • Temporary loss of libido after surgery or during illnesses

The key is pinpointing what exactly is sapping your sex drive so that you and your doctor can find solutions to reignite your desire and enjoyment of sex.

Don’t Let Low Libido Get You Down

A multitude of factors can depress sex drive, from hormones to relationships problems and beyond. Remember that sex drive varies greatly among women. Try not to compare yourself to others. If your libido is lower than what’s normal for you, identify potential underlying causes. Many are reversible with proper treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider if low desire is concerning you – there are solutions available to help you get your groove back!


In summary, fluctuating estrogen levels, mental and physical health conditions, relationship problems, and certain medications are among the most common causes of low libido in women. Key takeaways include:

  • Dropping estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can lead to vaginal changes that make sex painful, decreasing desire.
  • Stress, anxiety, depression and past sexual trauma can all suppress libido.
  • Many medications list low sex drive as a potential side effect.
  • Treating sexual dysfunction can remove roadblocks to desire.
  • Hormonal changes from pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding can temporarily lower drive.

While low sex drive can be challenging, understanding the root cause is the first step. There are various medical, lifestyle, and therapeutic solutions available to help you reignite your libido. Don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor if low desire is interfering with your happiness and relationships.