Hey Sexy Ladies
photo: iStock

We’ve all heard the stereotypes. If only it were that cut and dry! Female sexuality is nowhere near this simple, which is why it’s been so difficult to find a solution that addresses low sex drive in women, or figure out why libido varies so wildly from person to person. So how do you separate the facts from the myths about female sexuality and figure out if your libido is actually dipping?

Lack of a sex drive in women, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), can cause a lot of stress, discomfort, and confusion especially when we find ourselves constantly turning down our partner’s advances without understanding why. For one thing, you should know you’re not an anomaly in this situation. According to The New York Times, 10 to 15 percent of the female population between the ages of 20 and 60 suffers from this disorder and the reasons differ from one woman to the next. Your body’s sexual rhythm naturally ebbs and flows. Significant life changes like breakups or other heavy situations that can wreak havoc on your mental health play a role in your tanking libido as well. Taking certain medications, such as anti-depressants and hormone-based birth control, can have a negative side effect in the bedroom. And if you have a baby, breastfeeding your newborn could lead to lower levels of estrogen and testosterone, which also affects sex drive and natural lubrication.

Related from Vivala: Is My Sex Drive Normal?

Other medical issues such as having high cholesterol, diabetes, problems with an underactive thyroid or your bladder, and iron deficiency have been linked to a waning libido, so talk with your physician to rule out these possibilities or address any concerns before they get worse. You can also chat with him or her about changing your birth control prescription or type of contraception. A therapist (sex or otherwise) can determine if part of the issue is caused by a psychological reason. Struggling to properly communicate with your partner? Perhaps couples counseling is what you need in order to become in sync again.

So do aphrodisiacs actually work? Since the FDA hasn’t approved any foods as sex drive stimulants you probably won’t find the answer to your sexual frustration on your plate. That hasn’t stopped people from consuming them in order to give their libido a boost and some might actually inch you just a bit closer to your desired effect simply because of their nutritional benefits. Foods like oysters, clams, avocados, figs, bananas, and others that resemble the genitals have been linked with the myth that they help with arousal. Oysters, the most popular aphrodisiac, contains zinc, which stimulates blood flow. The Venezuelan meal rompe colchón, an oyster-heavy ceviche dish, literally translates to “mattress breaker.”

Related from Vivala: Wanting to Want: The Real Story About “Female Viagra"

For dessert, some turn to dark chocolate to increase the feel-good hormone serotonin, which spreads pleasurable vibes throughout your body. The aptly named passion fruit is another yummy tropical treat that’s used to sweeten the mood. Some believe that spicy foods serve as a sexual stimulant, but that could be because those red hot chili peppers will have you sweating and get that heart rate speeding . . . much like it does during a hot and heavy session under the sheets.

At the end of the day, it's normal for your libido to have natural ups and downs. But if you feel like you've lost that loving feeling for good, or if something just isn't right, talk to your doctor. There can be real medical reasons behind a lackluster sex drive that you shouldn't ignore.