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The Emotional Side to Low Libido in Mid-Life

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One of the most common problems to be diagnosed with if youare a woman over forty living in the United States is low libido. I have toqualify this statement because the problem of low libido is a common problem inthe United States, but not so problematic in other countries. The U.S. is also veryyouth driven and not only do Americans have difficulty aging, they seemsomewhat shamed about it. When you compare our culture to Asian Cultures or toEurope you will notice a strong difference. Women in Japan don't know what ahot flash is, and in Italy you wouldn't have to look far to see a fifty tosixty year woman flaunting what she has on a nude beach. In the U.S. hercounterpart may do the same but not without her share of surgical scars,implants, and other adjustments. This brings us to the fundamental problems oflow libido.

The emotional effects of lowlibido don't only affect the woman herself, but they affect her partner and herchildren because like it or not, we are teaching the next generation how to ageand remain vibrant. 

My work as an intimacy/sex counselor has taught me that intimacy and sexhave a huge impact on a person's health, managing their stress, theirrelationship and their self-esteem. Sex and intimacy only become a problem inlife when one of these three areas is not functioning as they should. Thephysical side of low libido is complicated. Medicine has determined the possiblecauses and the list includes: arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure,coronary artery disease, neurological diseases, and infertility can also lowerlow sex drive. Along with medical illnesses, causes can stem from medicationstaken such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs,antihistamines, and birth control pills. Vices people use can also cause lowlibido such as alcohol and drug abuse, which includes marijuana. Obesity canaffect blood sugar levels which influences sex drive, and is a huge libidokiller.  Many women don't understand aslittle as five pounds can make a huge difference to their libido. Not onlymedically but also emotionally, because women's self-esteem is wrapped up inhow they feel about their body.

 

Just as impactful as the medical aspects of low libido are the emotionalaspects. Whenever I lecture for a group of women low sex drive consumes a bigpart of their conversation, and they liken it to menopause or getting older.This concerns me, because there is a cause and effect thinking that as womengrow older their sex drive will decline. Women all over the United Statesaccept this as part of their reality. They should not. When we have a culturetelling our youth this happens, and we tell ourselves it happens we begin towait for it to happen. Is it any wonder it does happen? To be sure hormonalimbalances change the way a woman feels about sex, her body, her life, and herpartner. But accepting a low sex drive because you are a certain age is thesame as accepting diabetes drugs to control your blood sugar level when youcould change your diet, lifestyle, and exercise regime, and feel better aboutyourself and manage your blood sugar without medications or minimizedmedications.

 

Addressing the emotional causesof low libido should be the first step you take in addressing why you no longerdesire sex, your partner, or your intimate life.  

  1. How is your mental health? Anxiety anddepression must be ruled out.
  2. Stresslevel. Do you have stress regarding work, finances or lack of sleep?
  3. Poorbody image (do you feel less attractive)?
  4. Lowself-esteem. Did you just lose a job or is one of your children floundering?
  5. A history of physical, verbal or sexual abuselowers libido.

 

Relationship problems must alsobe ruled out prior to asking your doctor for help with medical interventions.

  1. Do you feel emotionally connected to yourpartner? Physical distance is not as important as emotional distance.
  2. Arethere unresolved conflicts or do you fight about the same things and feelhopeless after?
  3. Doesyour relationship suffer from not being able to talk about your sexual needs orpreferences without feeling shamed?
  4. Infidelity is a huge libido killer and it takesa long time to mend the emotional aspects of cheating. Cheating is not justsex; it can be a betrayal on any level.

 

Speaking with a counselor in regards to any of these issues you findyourself struggling with can help put the zing back into your relationship. Ifyour libido is low and you are strong and together as a couple, then it is wiseto seek help from an Urologist specializing in sexual dysfunction. Many womenask their general gynecologist for help in this area. However, an Urologist specializingin sexual dysfunction is more specialized, and pursues more of the testsnecessary to accurately diagnose the problem of women suffering from lowlibido.

 

Men and women suffer equally from the emotional and relationship affectsof low libido. Women who believe men have it easier in this area or that menaren't emotional may be surprised to know my counseling practice has a higherratio of men who suffer than women. It is clear that when one of the partnersisn't happy with their sex life, both partners are negatively affected.  –Mary Jo Rapini

 

 

For more information or you FREEMONTHLY RELATIONSHIP TIPS: www.maryjorapini.com

Podcasts:

http://ustre.am/PLWS  Struggling withlow libido in your relationship

Married with small children at homeand keeping your relationship close http://traffic.libsyn.com/sexandintimacy/MJR_ep_01.mp3

Improving your body image http://traffic.libsyn.com/sexandintimacy/MJR_ep_04.mp3

Talk tome on my fan page: http://www.facebook.com/maryjorapini

Tweetme: @ Mary Jo Rapini

Join me weekday Mornings for "Mind, Body, Soul with Mary Jo" on Fox26 Houston at 9 A.M

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