If you’re a young woman in your 20s or 30s and your sex drives is low (or missing altogether), you might feel like an outlier. Why?Because social media, TV and movies, and other cultural cues suggest that youth is synonymous with wanting to get it on. And that’s not fair, because everyone’s sex drive is different.But the truth is that when we’re young (and even when we’re older)—and if our hormones are in balance—we should have times when, in the immortal words of 1970’s rock band Bad Company, we feel like makin’ love. So if you’re a young woman with a low (or missing) sex drive, what gives?Where the &#*!&! did your sex drive go? Your Not Alone: Low Sex Drive is Common in WomenFirst things first, if your sex drive is low or completely absent, you are not abnormal—and you are not alone. Studies suggest that one in four women of reproductive age have low libido. Other research shows that Americans are having less sex now than they did a decade ago, and that fewer heterosexual women are having orgasms than any other demographic.Not to sound alarmist but...young women are living in a sexual state of emergency! At the same time, many women with low sex drive—and many of the doctors they talk to about it—don’t treat the issue with urgency. And that’s a mistake because a missing sex drive can be a sign of serious hormone imbalances that can wreak havoc on overall health. It’s also a mistake to ignore low libido because having a sex drive—and, specifically, having orgasms, is critical to hormone health and overall quality of life. You need orgasms to improve hormone health, and you need good hormonal health to want to have orgasms! So what is a girl with a missing sex drive to do? The first step is to understand the underlying factors that might be contributing to your missing urge to make out. 6 Factors That Affect Low Sex DriveThere are many factors that can contribute to low sex drive and some of them are emotional and relational. These can include your relationship status, how you feel about your relationship, how you feel about your body (body image), your historical experience of sex, and any history of trauma or sexual abuse.Other factors can be psychological and environmental, like high levels of stress and anxiety, feelings of depression and low mood, or an extremely pressure-filled work environment or the stress of raising young children or taking care of aging parents. If any of these factors are part of your experience of low sex drive, I recommend working with a therapist or working with another healing professional to tend to these complex issues.Some of the other factors that contribute to the low sex drive are physical, which means you can make lifestyle changes to address these factors. Here are some of the physical roadblocks you might be running into on your way to rediscovering your sex drive:
- Taking hormonal birth control. Low libido can be a side effect of taking hormonal birth control (HBC) or of having taken it in the past. That’s because HBC works by decreasing the production of testosterone in your body (and testosterone plays an important role in sex drive in both men and women) and because the Pill makes it harder for your body to use the testosterone that you are still making (HBC locks up the testosterone so your body can’t use it).
- A history of low-fat dieting. The body makes sex hormones from a precursor compound in the body. And guess what that precursor is? Cholesterol. That’s right, the compound so long villainized in the health headlines is actually necessary for producing enough estrogen and testosterone in the body.
- A history of taking antidepressants. These medications can be critically important for some women in maintaining mood, but they can come with side effects—and a notorious one is lower libido. Luckily, some herbs can help with this side effect. (More on herbal strategies for SSRI-related low libido below.)
- Hormone imbalances. If you suffer from symptoms like acne, severe PMS, painful or heavy periods, irregular periods, bloating, migraines and/or hormonal headaches, it’s likely that you’re living with an underlying hormone imbalance (one that you can take steps to heal by using key lifestyle and biohacking strategies). This imbalance is also likely contributing to your low libido.
- You’re not getting enough exercise. A raft of research has shown that exercise can help improve sexual desire and arousal.
- You’re low on iron. Iron deficiency has been connected to low libido. If you’re never in the mood, you might want to get your iron checked and ask your healthcare provider about taking iron supplements or maximizing the iron you get through whole foods.
How to Get Your Sex Drive BackYou can take some simple but powerful steps to reclaim your hormonal health—and rediscover your sex drive. Here’s what I recommend:
- Start cycle syncing. You can use certain lifestyle strategies to bring your hormones back into balance naturally, and one of the most important is syncing your life to your 28-day menstrual cycle. When you start to eat, move, and live according to your unique hormonal needs each week, you can experience a profound and positive shift in your hormonal symptoms, including low libido. I consider cycle syncing the first, best thing you can do to balance your hormones and bring your sex life back to life. If the idea of even tracking your cycle is new to you, use the MyFLO app to track your natural hormone shifts.
- If you’ve ever taken birth control, run some labs. Consult with your healthcare provider about running some blood tests. Specifically, I suggest looking at your testosterone levels and your SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). The pill can wreak hormonal havoc in general, but it is especially rough on these two biomarkers—both of of which are important for having a healthy sex drive.
- Do a detox.The pill can cause a flood of excess hormones in the body. And even if you don’t have a history of taking HBC, you might be estrogen dominant, which can cause system-wide symptoms including low libido. So you will also want to do a gentle, natural detox in order to get excess hormones movin’ on out—and your sex drive movin’ on up!
- Embrace healthy fats. Healthy fats—like the kind found in avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and small oily fish like sardines—help support healthy levels of good cholesterol in the body. You need good cholesterol to manufacture sex hormones—and you need healthy levels of sex hormones to… want to have sex!
- Consider taking Maca. Studies suggest that the South American plant maca may be beneficial in boosting libido, perhaps especially for women who take a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor.
- Get moving. Make healthy movement a part of your everyday life. Exercise can be helpful in boosting libido. Just don’t forget to match your movement to where you are in your cycle. When you move can be just as important as how and how often you move.
- Patch up micronutrient deficiencies. Getting enough iron can be especially important for sex drive, but you’ll want to make sure you have healthy levels of all the key micronutrients that support hormonal health. If you think you’re low in essential micronutrients, ask your doctor to run some labs and consider taking a high quality supplement.
- Don’t discount the emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions to low libido. Remember that it isn’t just physical factors that affect sex drive. If something else is weighing on you—relationship dissatisfaction, an intensely crazy workload, unremitting stress, etc.—carve out time for self-care and consider talking with a therapist or other professional. In our crazy-busy mody culture, stress recovery can take a village.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
Need more Hormone Help?
If you’re needing some health upgrading, it’s time you started you looking into what’s going on with your hormones.I’ve designed a 4-day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.Click here to get your FREE detox and evaluation.