“I want you.” Three simple words, but somehow they seem nearly impossible to define. Desire can be very complex and often seems mysterious to us. It appears as a magical equation of attraction mixed with physical attributes, eroticism, passion, simple physical need, or love.
And when desire is not there, in its place there is often a sense of emptiness, of an open yawning space, a chasm that can’t be breached and sometimes even a feeling of loss.
The most common complaint we see at the Center is low desire (also known as low libido). And no, honestly, it’s not all 50+ year-olds complaining that their libido has taken a nose dive. We hear it from many women in their 30s and 40s, and we also see young women who feel that they have never really had much desire at all.
What makes defining desire so difficult is that only part of it is sexual. When we talk about wanting someone, we often do mean that we want them sexually. But t he truth is, if you unpack the box a bit more, you’ll find that it’s that it’s not just about sex per se (at least the very literal interpretation we give to sex). It’s about wanting, or feeling wanted for the essence of who you are, for the ability to lie naked (both literally and figuratively) in someone’s arms and know that — even if it’s for a fleeting moment — the essence of who you are is desired. It is about letting someone in, again literally and figuratively, and it’s about feeling seen.
When a woman’s desire is low it makes it hard for her to connect with her partner in a physical way, and that can cause many effects that ripple throughout the relationship. It can have significant ramifications on her partner’s feeling about her, about himself, and about his own desirability. It can greatly affect her feelings about her role in the relationship, as well as the overall tone of the relationship itself.
We live in a busy world and many of us lead complicated lives. That means most of us will have stress and anxiety, less-than-perfect relationships, and almost never enough time to relax and regroup. This alone can wreak havoc on a woman’s libido. Some of the craziness of life can be controlled, but not all. A healthy libido can usually weather the normal ups and downs of a crazy life and bounce back after a relatively short “shut-down.”
But there are more complex reasons a woman suffers from a low libido. It can be influenced by physiological conditions in our bodies: hormone levels, vitamin deficiencies and neurotransmitter health. It can be a symptom of depression. It can hint at thyroid problems or anemia. It can be caused by problems in the relationship: lack of intimacy, lack of trust, lack of time. It can be caused by personal struggles of our own: a dislike of our bodies, a general unhappiness with our lives, a lack of time or energy.
The bottom line is, for so many reasons, a low libido should be taken seriously and examined appropriately. You don’t have to live with low sexual desire if you don’t want to — and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!