Lack of libido in women, especially mums, is common. Many of us come to accept that the occasions on which we 'feel horny' are fewer and further between as we get older. Our sex drive gets put back firmly in its box by tiredness, body hang-ups or the comfy familiarity of our relationships.
But where has our libido gone? Why has it deserted us? And will it ever come back?
On the physical side, lack of libido in women can be linked to anemia, diabetes, hyperprolactinaemia (over activity of pituitary gland), hormonal abnormalities, or a side-effect of prescribed drugs.
For new mums, loss of libido often referred to as post-baby 'coolness', a misleading term that suggests that the woman is being willfully non-responsive. In fact, she's responding to a heady and sexually debilitating cocktail of:
1. Crazy hormonal spikes that occur after giving birth and during breastfeeding
2. Off-putting recent memories of childbirth (especially if that was traumatic)
3. De-sexualisation of her body (Disenchantment with 'down there' after what it's been through; and the feeling that, when breastfeeding, your boobs BELONG to the baby - not you, and certainly not your other half).
4. Complete and utter exhaustion.
She's feeling a thousand powerful and conflicting emotions, her body feels battered and alien... and she's totally knackered.
The reason for loss of desire is both physical and psychological. Not just in mums, but in women in general, sexual dysfunction is commonly brought on by a psychological issue, like depression, stress or anxiety. We all know the importance of our minds in 'getting there' and so it's understandable that when we're having a bad time emotionally, we go off the boil sexually.
So how do we get libido back?
Probably the first step is honesty with your partner. If you're 'not feeling it' it's by far the best course of action to be as open as you can - both with yourself and with your partner - about where you think the problem lies. Sometimes, just getting it off your chest can be all that's necessary to build intimacy again.
If you feel like there's a physical issue at the root of your lack of sexual mojo, then it's important to seek help. Go to your GP in the first instance, get a referral to see a Women's Health Physiotherapist or Pelvic Specialist, or a see woman doctor at a family planning clinic who can discuss the problem with you and carry out any necessary tests.
If you feel an overwhelming psychological problem is affecting you then please visit with your GP and get help, and a referral where necessary.
If ongoing sexual problems are starting to affect your relationship, consult a specialist such as Relate. They are very experienced in these problems and will help you work positively towards a resolution.
Can't I just pop a pill?
Hormones are sometimes suggested as a treatment for FSAD ('female arousal disorder'), particularly the male sex hormone testosterone. There is some clinical evidence to support this. However, side-effects can include hairiness, spots, a deep voice and enlargement of the clitoris. Er, no thanks!
It's far more important to seek the support and understanding of a partner who understands how you're feeling, what you're dealing with... and how to get you excited in bed.
If you talk about things and create an atmosphere in which it's ok to try things out in a relaxed way, then you're well on the path to reclaiming the fun of sex. Try toys, lubes and playful games - and laugh about it if things don't quite go to plan.
Feel good about YOU
Low body confidence is a turn-off (for you and your partner). If your wobbly bits make you cringe, if you don't like seeing yourself naked, then try to take small steps towards learning to love yourself a little more.
Many women worry about how their post baby body looks up close or from certain angles, and lose some of their sexual self confidence because of how they think they look. You know what? The person looking at you from there... is getting laid. They're happy and grateful. So chill out and enjoy yourself!
Exercise and good nutrition can work wonders for your body and mind, so make adjustments to the way you're living and it will almost certainly have a positive effect on your libido!
For more on how to repair your post-baby body and your body confidence - inside and out - visit mutusystem.com