In a sexually excited woman, a clitoris, internal lips and vaginal mucosa are naturally filled with blood; the process is the same as for a man where, due to the increased blood flow, the erection occurs. However, bodily changes in women are not as obvious as in a man, so they are often ignored or consider to be irrelevant for a woman’s pleasure in a sexual intercourse.
Male sex hormone, testosterone, probably plays a certain role in maintaining sexual desire (also known as libido) in both sexes. In women, adrenal glands and ovaries produce small amounts of testosterone. The decrease in testosterone levels in relation to the levels of female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can be one of the factors contributing to the reduction of sexual interest.
If you lose the desire for sexual intercourse abnormally, the reason is probably of the psychological rather than the physical nature. (Do not mistakenly replace the loss of desire with the lack of excitement, as these are two different things.)
Loss of sexual desire sometimes starts as a physical problem. Many women are more interested in sexual intercourse (and enjoy more in it) at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth decades of life, after which the desire gradually declines. In many women, the decline starts after a major event, such as painful loss of virginity, childbirth or gynecological surgery. A woman whose ovaries and the adrenal grands have been operatively removed (due to the cancer treatment, for example) can lose her sexual desire because all the testosterone sources have been removed. Some medications can also reduce the sexual desire, as well as alcohol and sleeping pills, Corticosteroids can also negatively affect sexual interest as they suppress the stimulatory effect of testosterone.
Similar effects are also found in drugs containing estrogen, such as contraceptive pills or substitution hormone therapy in menopause. Although the loss of sexual desire can be a direct consequence of a physical problem, some psychological problems can worsen it. Women usually lose sexual desire (at least somewhat) after stress. Problems that occur between a woman and her sex partner can often cause a loss of sexual desire, although it may be accompanied by an appropriate increase in sexual interest for other people, which will cause additional conflicts. Finally, any chronic or painful illness can cause a feeling of general depression and loss of interest in sex life.
What to do?
If the loss of sexual interest is worrying you or creates difficulties with your sexual partner, read the carefully tips listed in the self-help section below. If this does not solve the problem, consult your doctor who will examine you and possibly refer you to a specialist, probably a psychiatrist.
If you have never been particularly interested in sex life, so you and your partner are happy with the state of affairs, they you have no problem. There is no evidence which suggests that a limited sex life is in any way unhealthy.
Self-help: if you suspect that you lost your libido for a particular reason, try to solve the problem by yourself. Try, for example, reducing the amount of alcohol or sleeping pills. You should openly talk to your partner about your problem. Though you may not find the root cause of the problem, the conversation may be the first step towards seeking professional help and advice.
Professional help: your doctor may consider of treating you for some systemic, physical illness. Women whose hormonal balance is disrupted because of menopause or removal of some sex organs (e.g. because of cancer) can be helped by administering testosterone in the form of tablets or capsules implanted in the thigh.