For women who had a healthy sex drive before Andropause, the subtle loss of Libido is one of the most overwhelming changes that occurs in our thirties and forties. So many of my patients come to me crying because they don’t like their husbands anymore, and they are discouraged that the only answers they find from the medical community are to be told that they are depressed or crazy.
If you wonder why you are no longer physically drawn to your husband, or suddenly start to ask yourself, “Why don’t I think of, dream of, or want sex anymore?” a lack of Testosterone is most likely your problem. Let’s talk about symptoms and Testosterone’s affect on Libido as we walk through a description of available treatments.
Let’s begin by looking at Libido, or sex drive, and then how and why it disappears.
Libido, Natural Aging and Testosterone
Libido is the fire of life that causes us to bond to another human being, and to make a home and have children. It is the part of us that yearns to have someone touch and desire us. Sex drive is part of us as human beings and is not just the act of having sex, but an energy that is part of our lives. With it we feel normal and well, but without it life seems dull and boring for most of us.
Libido is actually a hormone-controlled drive, and is dependent on the level of Free Testosterone in our blood stream. While it is hard for most of us to believe that a hormone has such a powerful effect on our brain, it is fact. Testosterone literally changes our motivations and what we think. Our highest Testosterone levels occur when we are in our teens, then level off until our forties and fifties when they decrease.
Sexual Dysfunction, a common problem in women when we reach our forties, is one of the symptoms of loss of Libido. It has been blamed on many things, but most often, the reason we lose our Libido is natural aging, which causes a depletion of our Testosterone. Women lose Testosterone, which is secreted from our ovaries, in our forties. Men lose Testosterone, which is secreted from their testes, in their fifties, so there is a natural inequality between the sexes that often causes conflict based on differing sexual desires.
Everything associated with the way our bodies work has a purpose. We have testosterone for Libido and fertility. It is only in recent history that clean water, medicines, vaccines and other health safeguards have increased our life span from an average of thirty to fifty years to the ninety to one hundred years we currently expect. We were created to have babies in our teens, when we were healthy, and to be old by thirty five or forty and die before fifty. Testosterone was meant to motivate us to conceive and continue the human race.
Our hormones are the same as those of past generations, but modern society has improved our health, and therefore our life spans, so we now delay our adolescence into our late twenties and conceive in our thirties; our old age isn’t until we reach seventy or eighty. So, we have successfully learned how to live longer, but not better! Society’s success at improving our life span delayed childbearing, but Testosterone and our bodies are still on the old time table. To improve the quality of our lives and relationships we have to replace the missing hormone. Our natural drop of Testosterone now occurs during our most productive years, and generally at the peak of our married lives. While seeming like a dirty trick, it is actually just the natural design of our bodies. We have learned to extend the length of life, but now we must learn to lengthen the quality of our lives.
In most cases our loss of sex drive is a slow subtle loss that is hard to pinpoint and happens years before menopause. This loss destroys our sex lives and quietly eats away at our marriages, just when we need our husbands the most! Medicine has not fully recognized this pre-menopausal problem. Current medical thought agrees that menopause is a factor in causing sexual problems, but does not yet widely accept the thought that Andropause, or loss of testosterone in women, is the first change, leading to total failure of our sexuality at menopause.
I acknowledge those of you who are shaking your heads because you know people in their 70s who have wildly exciting sexual relationships; I agree there are exceptions to every rule. Some women always have a libido and they are blessed! Just as many women have no libido, ever, and that is usually impossible to treat with hormonal therapy.