Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

A lack of libido

It’s Valentines Day! So let’s talk about an important aspect of many relationships – sex, and specifically for women when there is a lack of libido.

This is something that comes up in my clinic semi regularly, and this post is an overview of some of the issues that can affect your desire.

The first point here is that women are all different – so what turns us on (or off) can be different too. That doesn’t mean that you are not normal! If this is impacting your life and you want to do something about it, this post may help, or at least give you a few ideas of where to start.

We need to understand how sexuality works before we can support what is happening. The best explanation I have had about how sexuality and desire works is the dual control model that was developed in the 90s by Erick Jansen and John Bancroft at the Kinsey Institute. This says that you have sexual excitors and sexual inhibitors and there can be an imbalance between the two systems. If the  Excitors are high you are easily turned on, and if the inhibitors are high it can be difficult to be aroused- meaning libido may be lower.

In addition, women have a menstrual cycle which influences arousal, and are also more influenced by social and emotional cues. There can also be a mismatch between a mentally turned on and a physical reaction – for women this means being wet – and this non concordance is more common in women than in men. Desire, and enjoyment, depends on the brain, not just the genitals.

The most common thing I see in clients with a low libido is a high mental load. If you haven’t come across this term, the mental load is all the things that you hold in your head that need to be done, and often involves caring for others. This is the mental shopping list that the rice is running low, your child needs apples to take to kindy, and you need more canned tomatoes, plus you have to fit cooking dinner in between picking up two kids from two different activities, make lunchboxes, help kids with homework and plan for the birthday party on the weekend – not to mention work, study or volunteering commitments. You can see why the brakes are on when it comes to the libido! The constant overwhelm from just trying to get through life means there is little mental time or energy to have space for sex. Even without the added mental load, stress reduces both interest in sex and enjoyment.

Another factor is our own feelings about ourselves, how we look and our feelings about sex. A lot of these are learnt social and cultural factors, but if you subconsciously think you are not sexy, it’s hard for your brain to get you in the mood.

So what can we do about it? It helps to actively think about what your excitors and inhibitors are, then you can make a plan to increase the first and minimise the second. Stress management is important, as is reducing negative feelings or judgement about yourself (including about how often you want sex), and being in tune with your body- there may be times in your cycle you want sex more or less.

Homeopathy has a number of remedies that can help with a lack of libido. As always, for best results the whole picture of the remedy needs to fit, and I am only showing you a few remedies that are more often indicated for low libido. Homeopathy also works to stimulate you to make the changes necessary in your life – so it may mean you are less overwhelmed by your mental load leaving more mental space for sex. If none of these remedies sound like you, or you don’t get any response it is time to make an appointment to see me or another Homeopath- again this may not be a single remedy magic bullet, but by peeling away the layers, reducing stress and those mental brakes, remedies will support you to grow back into your sexual power.

Sepia is our classic overwhelmed Mum remedy, irritable and indifferent, wanting the family to just go away and leave them alone. They quickly become angry when disturbed, and can be sarcastic with their children and partner. They are worn out, overwhelmed and can have low mood, or even cry without knowing why. Physically there can be a lot of hormonal symptoms, there could be urinary stress incontinence, prolapse symptoms, and thrush or vaginitis. They are averse to sex and being touched in a sexual manner.

Natrum Muriaticum is a remedy for women who are sensitive and reserved. Their feelings are easily hurt and they may dwell on perceived hurts leading to introversion. There can also be a history of grief or disappointment which they may not process well. Nat Mur women are perfectionists, liking to do things well, and also intensely private. Having a clean and tidy house can be very important to them, and despite their stress and busy lifestyle they won’t want someone else to come in and clean for them – or they will clean the house first before the cleaner comes in. Nat Mur have a lot of headaches, and may have vaginal dryness and vaginitis which can make sex uncomfortable. They can also become averse to sex after a grief or disappointment.

Causticum women are idealistic, sensitive and sympathetic. They find injustice unbearable, and can easily get upset over the unfair treatment of themselves or others, or the effects of carelessness on the environment or animals. They can become really irate about this and as a result rebel against authority, and become political or outspoken about what they are seeing. Physically Causticum can also have urinary stress incontinence and may have a frequent urge to urinate. They can have an aversion to sex, and even if orgasm occurs they won’t feel pleasure from it.

If you want to read some more about this, I highly recommend the book Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski- I have used this as a source for writing the sexuality parts of this post and it also has workbook sections so you can work out for yourself what works and doesn’t work for you.

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