Lack or loss of desire
Although women do not have less sexual desire than men do, it is relatively common for women in established relationships to find that they have difficulty feeling spontaneously sexy and therefore in “getting started”. Many such women are mostly able to respond if their partner initiates sex and to enjoy it. Where this is the case, the apparent lack of desire is usually not a serious problem, although some partners do feel resentful if they are always the one who has to ‘make the first move’ and face possible rejection. In this instance, it is often possible through sex therapy for the affected woman to find ways of feeling more sexual, and for the couple to negotiate more equality in
initiating sex. There are women, however, whose desire levels are so low that they only have sex through gritted teeth in order to try to please their partners, or who avoid it altogether; this can cause much unhappiness and conflict in a relationship.
There are many possible causes, including tiredness, anger, depression, excessive use of alcohol or cannabis, low testosterone levels and other medical problems; in addition, the desire to avoid sex may, of course, be a symptom of other issues in the relationship. Where a woman has problems with arousal (see below), this is also likely to lead to a loss of desire.
There are currently no licensed drug treatments for lack of sexual desire except where a hormone imbalance has been diagnosed.
This is partly because there are so many different factors involved in female sexual desire, and one solution is unlikely to fit all. Nevertheless, sex therapy helps many couples to unravel what is causing the problem, and to find ways of putting things right.