Feel like you've lost your mojo? You're by no means alone. A loss of sexual desire is the most common sexual problem experienced in women.Research shows that as many as 1 in 10 women suffer from loss of libido, but in reality the figure is probably much higher, as it is one of those conditions that tends to be under-reported. We spoke to Dr Helen Webberley MBChB MRCGP MFSRH, GP and expert in sexual health, to get her professional insight into why you just might not be feeling it in the bedroom. What are the most common reasons underlying a loss of sex drive in women? "Although we all would like to look for a physical cause for loss of libido in women, for many the causes tend to be psychological. Physical issues such as hormonal changes that occur during the monthly cycle, with contraceptive use, and at the menopause can impact on a woman's sex drive, as can an under-active thyroid and anaemia."However, often there are underlying psychological issues such as relationship or money problems, fatigue from work and children, bad experiences during childbirth, or previous psychological trauma".
(Picture: Getty) Can hormonal changes that occur at the menopause cause a loss of libido? "Yes they can. The body feels that reproduction is no longer needed and thus it all kind of shuts down. But, we shouldn't just blame the menopause for everything without digging a bit deeper. The body changes during the menopause can also cause upset, making women feel less sexy."
What would you say to women to reassure them about their loss of libido? "Loss of libido is a common issue. And we shouldn't feel pressured into having sex just because the other half is still keen. Having said that, sex is a very important part of relationships, and a lack of it often causes dissatisfaction and resentment, while a healthy sex life brings couples closer together. If your lack of sex life is causing you issues, you should seek professional help".
What would your advice be for women who have lost their sex drive?
"My advice to women who have lost their sex drive is 'Don't just blame the hormones!'. Communication is the key - talk to your partner in an open and honest way and sometimes it can be surprising what emerges, that can actually be holding you back." Menopausal Fitness Coach Julia Willmott agrees, "The first thing I say to any woman experiencing a loss of libido is 'don't give up on passion'. Sex and reaching orgasm can be the bedrock of a long-term relationship, but they are also really important to our health and happiness, whether we are single or in a couple. I would reassure anyone going through this that there are many positive steps you can take to regain your sexual life.'(Picture: Getty)
We asked Julia for her top tips for regaining your sexual self in the bedroom: Talk about sex - discussing the stumbling blocks and solutions to love making is crucial if you want to find your way back to a physical relationship. For many women the biggest sexual organ is our brain, so helping our partners plug into what turns us on can make all the difference. Exercise regularly - for those with low libido, this can really help boost the 'sex' hormone testosterone, which will not only increase sex drive, but also improve body image, a major factor when it comes to feeling sexy. Exercise also helps to keep everything 'lubricated'! Practice radical self care - we need to learn to look after ourselves as we would a close friend. Outsource duties that drain you if you can, anything to free up some time for you to experience joy and fun. It follows that the more passion you cultivate in your every day life, the more passion you'll feel in the bedroom. Schedule "date nights" - this is so important but so often overlooked in long-term relationships. Book a weekly date together. Put it in the diary, book a baby sitter, and make it a priority. It could be a walk in the country, a meal together or a gig. Do the things you loved doing together when you first met, so you can see each other as you did then, and remember why you chose to be together. Try something new - again, this comes down to communication. This could be a great time to explore a fantasy you've always been too shy to mention. Developing your sexual life together will really help your relationship stand the test of time. If you're worried about your lack of sex-drive, especially if it distresses you or affects your relationship, make an appointment to see your GP to discuss any underlying causes. If problems such as low-libido and not being able to reach orgasm are not spoken about, they can become self-perpetuating. If psychological or relationship factors are predominant, it may well be worth speaking to Relate for advice.