Women can suffer from a low libido for a variety of reasons. I thought I was having this problem, but after seeking medical advice, I realized I just wasn’t into the guy I was dating.
It started with a gradual decrease in sex drive. I just wasn’t up for it as much; I found myself saying no more frequently and not initiating. This coincided with some relationship problems we were having, as well as some big life changes (graduating from college, finding a job, moving), so neither of us were too worried at the time.
Things dramatically got worse as time went on. Fast forward to a few years later and there was no “gradual” about it anymore. My libido had decreased dramatically and I just no longer had any interest in having sex. After a heartfelt talk with my boyfriend at the time, I made an appointment with my PCP to see if there was a medical reason.
I was diagnosed with depression. After talking with my doctor, she decided I was depressed. My stress, combined with a lack of good quality sleep and regularly feeling fatigued, made her feel like I would have a higher libido if I just had more energy and felt happier. I expressed concern about low libido being a side effect of the medication but she strongly felt that it would help.
The depression diagnosis was probably correct but treating it didn’t increase my libido. I definitely felt better on the medication but my sex drive just didn’t come back. A few more appointments with my doctor, a therapist, and some conversations with my boyfriend had me convinced that either I just didn’t have a high libido at all or that the depression medication was now squashing any sex drive I would have had from feeling better.
I learned to live with it. Since going off the depression medication just wasn’t an option for me, I decided to just live with it. This usually alternated between just “doing it for him” and not doing anything sexual at all. I felt a little lost during this time period. I didn’t really relate to people who defined themselves as asexual; I found men attractive and I fantasized, but I just couldn’t (and didn’t want to) go further than that.
We eventually broke up. We ended up breaking up for other reasons, though I’m sure the lack of sex contributed to it. It’s hard to have a relationship where you feel totally fulfilled when you aren’t intimate with each other. He felt like I wasn’t attracted to him and I always felt like he was pressuring me to do something that I didn’t want to do. In the end, we just weren’t right for each other.
I started dating again. I thought that dating would be hard because of my lack of sex drive. I was convinced that if I found someone, he would eventually leave too because I wouldn’t want to be intimate with him. I didn’t fault my ex or men in general for wanting to be intimate; instead, I felt like something was wrong with me.
I met someone who changed everything. I met a really great guy who actually wanted to wait to have sex. In fact, I started to think he wasn’t interested in me in that way because he was so relaxed about it. It turns out he just wanted to make sure we were right for each other before we were intimate, and I think that’s what I needed. I slowly but surely fell in love with him, and when we finally did the deed, I definitely was into it!
It turns out, everything I thought was wrong. You see, I thought that I drove my ex away because I didn’t want to be intimate with him. As it turns out, he was the one who drove me away. I met with a counselor who helped me to see that his lack of affection, stonewalling, and keeping secrets had actually turned me off to the point that I was no longer interested in a physical relationship with him. When I should have been ending our relationship, I was going to the doctor instead. Instead of seeing the problems right in front of me, I internalized everything and made it all out to be my fault. Now that I know there isn’t anything wrong with me, I’ve learned to pay more attention to the feelings that my relationship inspires in me, and use those feelings to make better decisions about myself and what I need!
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