By Alice || Edited by Go Ask Alice Editorial Team || Last edited Mar 01, 2024
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Alice! Health Promotion. "Lowered testosterone levels reduce sexual desire in women?." Go Ask Alice!, Columbia University, 01 Mar. 2024, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/lowered-testosterone-levels-reduce-sexual-desire-women. Accessed 24, May. 2024.

Alice! Health Promotion. (2024, March 01). Lowered testosterone levels reduce sexual desire in women?. Go Ask Alice!, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/lowered-testosterone-levels-reduce-sexual-desire-women.

Dear Alice,

Do you have any information on the effects of low testosterone concerning sexual desire in women? After I got pregnant, I have had a significant drop in sexual desire and think it could be related to low testosterone. Any info on the subject? By the way, this problem had nothing to do with stress, marital problems, or the baby. Everything in my life is great except I lost my sexual desire and want to get it back. THANKS.

— Wanting to be horny

Dear Wanting to be horny, 

Losing your libido is no fun! Many others are also searching for explanations and solutions, so thank you for your questions! Lowered sex drive has been linked to various physical and psychological aspects, including the changes seen during the postpartum period and low levels of testosterone. Pregnancy has been shown to impact testosterone levels in those assigned female at birth (AFAB). Additionally, postpartum sex drive is also affected by various other factors that include both the physical recovery after giving birth and the mental changes that occur postpartum. Depending on which factors are contributing to your reduced libido, there are many treatment options available, ranging from medications to talking with a mental health professional. Continue reading to learn more about the factors that may be contributing to your lost sexual desire and which treatments may be best suited for you. 

People often recognize low libido because they question why they’re experiencing reduced interest in sexual activities or sexual fantasies. Some causes of lowered sex drive can include: 

  • Pregnancy, the postpartum period, or breastfeeding 
  • Painful sex 
  • Health conditions that reduce energy or impact hormone production 
  • Perimenopause or menopause 
  • Medications 
  • Smoking or drugs 
  • Sexual trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Anxiety and stress 
  • Relationship difficulties 
  • Poor body image 

List adapted from Health Direct 

Oftentimes, there isn’t just one explanation for lowered libido. Another explanation for your changed libido, as you postulated, is a reduction of testosterone. This hormone has many functions, including regulating sex drive, mood, energy, fertility, and the menstrual cycle. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone in those AFAB can include: 

  • Low libido and energy 
  • Loss of strength 
  • Infertility or an irregular menstrual cycle 
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Dry skin and thinning hair 

List adapted from Cleveland Clinic 

Although you state that your decreased sexual desire isn’t related to the baby, there are many complexities to the postpartum period that may be worth exploring. Starting with the birth itself, research has shown that childbirth that results in receiving stitches (due to vaginal tearing or an episiotomy) can increase the time it takes to resume sex. This is often due to healing and pain. In general, those who experience complexities with natural birth have been shown to have a reduction in sexual desire, orgasm, and sexual functioning. In addition, it has also been reported that in both natural births and Cesarean sections, there’s a lingering fear or anxiety of the sex being painful, which may lead to a lowered libido. 

As the body goes through many changes following pregnancy and birth, it’s been found that anxieties over body image could influence comfort with sex and reduce the overall desire for it. There’s also the possibility that the new responsibilities that come with having a baby may be overriding the priority of having sex. Even if you don’t feel stressed, the change in routine could be part of the explanation. For some, a new responsibility could be breastfeeding, which research has found may be associated with reduced vaginal lubrication. This is often due to a further decrease in estrogen levels and may make the thought of sex displeasing. Recent pregnancies have also been reported as an explanation for lowered libido. Sex may not be desired because of the knowledge that penetrative sex could result in another pregnancy. 

Treatments for low libido vary depending on the cause. You may choose to explore new sexual activities, which could include increasing foreplay with a partner, engaging in oral sex, or using sex toys. If you feel that discussing with a partner and trying new activities is still not working, speaking with a health care provider may provide you with more solutions. There are various medications and hormone therapies available that target different aspects of lowered libido. Additionally, speaking with a mental health professional may provide more insight into the psychological changes that could be contributing to your lack of sexual desire. 

Hopefully, this information has been helpful with your journey of getting your libido back! 

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