Here’s Why Your Sex Drive Is Low After Having a Baby
1. An operation, depression, injuries, or other medical conditions
2. Medications, drugs, or alcohol you are currently taking
3. Pregnancy, recent childbirth, menopausal symptoms
4. Other sexual issues you may be having (pain, decreased arousal, or orgasms)
5. Your partner’s sexual problems
6. Dissatisfaction with your relationship or partner
7. Stress or fatigue
Again, this seems lengthy, but it really only boils down to a few dynamics: having a low sex drive and being bothered by it. Approximately 10 percent of women experience HSDD, but it’s important to note that not all women with low sex drive inherently have HSDD. As I mentioned above, sex drive is a complex issue that can be affected by a number of different factors. In my private practice, I’ve developed a Five Foundation model to categorize the most common factors:
Physical: There are a number of medical conditions that can cause low sex drive. The Mayo Clinic lists “arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and neurological diseases.” It also notes that medications for anxiety and depression can lower sex drive, as can drugs, alcohol, smoking, chronic fatigue, and hormonal changes.
Mental: Negative beliefs about sex or a lack of information about sex can lower your sex drive.
Emotional: Anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem, a poor relationship with your body can all decrease the desire for sex.
Relational: Relationship problems and communication challenges can make you feel less desire for your partner.
Sensual: Includes pain during sex, past sexual abuse, and unpleasurable sex.
I encourage you to go through this list and see if any of these factors may be affecting your current relationship with your sex drive.
How is HSDD treated?
Since low sex drive is such a complex issue, treating it can be equally complex. According to a recent Mayo Clinic review, here are some of the common treatments for HSDD:
Psychoeducation: A type of education that gives people proper information about sex and sexual desire.
Sensate focus: A sex therapy exercise where partners are instructed to spend more time touching each other, without the explicit goal of it leading to more desire, or even to sex.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Therapy that focuses on both altering thought processes about sex drive, and providing specific behavioral exercises.
Mindfulness and meditation: Attempting to focus on your own experience and trying to carve out time to quiet your mind.
Medication: Includes Flibanserin (currently the only FDA approved medication for sexual desire disorders), Testosterone, and Bupropion (the anti-depressant commonly known as Wellbutrin).
It’s also important to know that there’s a lot of controversy around HSDD. Definitions of what comprises “healthy” sex drive are culturally-defined. Your sexual desire doesn’t necessarily impact your health or well-being, and there are plenty of people who are perfectly content with having low or no desire. Many therapists and researchers believe that HSDD is overly simplistic, and ends up putting too much emphasis on medication to treat sex drive.
If you’re curious about HSDD, you can make an appointment with your doctor to talk about your relationship with your sex drive and start running some tests to rule out medical causes. I also highly recommend seeking out a sex therapist, so you can talk about the mental and emotional impacts, and develop a concrete game plan for getting your sex drive back to where you want it to be. Wishing you the best of luck.
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