A Woman's Sex Drive: Driving the Female Sex Machine
You spend an hour or more to get it just right. You spray the sweet-smelling perfume, fix your hair just so and apply the red lipstick. You pick out just the right shoes and adjust your outfit so it fits perfectly over all the right curves. Flirting shamelessly, dancing fearlessly, soft touches during the silent moments. No matter what your game is, for all that it's worth and for all the work we put into it, simply put, sex is science-especially when it comes to women sex drive.
The Chief Council
Hormones run our bodies. They send signals to our brain and the rest of our body. They tell us when we are hungry, when we are full, they help us sweat out fat, monitor our metabolism, help us grow and secrete toxins. They help us respond, or not, to stress. Hormones are handy chemicals that perform many functions and run communications throughout our body. According to PBS's Frontline, hormones are chemical messengers that help coordinate and influence processes like growth, metabolism, fertility and even alter behavior. And of course, hormones are the driving force behind a woman's sex drive.
The Female Libido
The testes and ovaries are possibly the most familiar endocrine glands. In males, testes produce sperm and secrete the male sex hormone testosterone. In females, ovaries produce eggs and the female hormone estrogen. But testosterone is not just produced in men; testosterone is important for ladies, too. Testosterone is important for muscle and bone strength, energy, fertility, and yes, a woman's sex drive.
While the ovaries and adrenal glands produce only about 10 percent of the testosterone that guys have, the male sex hormone plays the same role in anyone. In addition to the other benefits, it drives sexual desire and libido. Too little of the stuff can leave you tired, depressed and disinterested ("Not tonight," "I have a headache..." sound familiar?), but too much testosterone can lead to acne and facial hair, among other grievances.
Mayo Clinic research shows that the hormone testosterone does impact a woman's sex drive, and in certain women that are pre-menopausal, menopausal or have some other sexual dysfunction, low testosterone may be key. Women who are low on the hormone, can receive testosterone therapy. The supplemental hormone can give you back the energy and sexual tingles you have been missing. The Mayo Clinic warns, though, that the long-term safety of testosterone therapy for women is still unknown. Some doctors, for this reason, are hesitant to recommend it. Testosterone therapy is typically prescribed only for women who have sufficient estrogen levels.
Testosterone therapy might be appropriate if:
•You have reduced sex drive, depression and fatigue after surgically induced menopause and if estrogen therapy hasn't relieved your symptoms.
•You are postmenopausal, taking estrogen therapy and have a decreased sex drive with no other identifiable causes.
Testosterone therapy comes in several forms, creams, gels, patches, injections, or pills. It is important to discuss pros and cons with your doctor, due to the unknown side-effects and risks associated with the increased levels of testosterone and the therapy.
Balance It Out
Sometimes hormones get out of balance. That can lead to problems like diabetes, weight gain or loss, infertility, weak bones, and other problems, such as the sluggish sex drive. Women's Health Magazine explains that experts are still researching how women can best keep their testosterone at a healthy level. Beyond hormone replacement therapy, they also recommend the usual: eat healthy, keep up regular exercise, get enough sleep and de-stress. They may still be grasping at straws, but one thing is certain: Some female specific conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, can cause big testosterone spikes (and the unfortunate facial hair), while menopause can cause testosterone depletions. You know your body better than anyone. If you suspect an imbalance, head to your ob-gyn or an endocrinologist, someone who specializes in hormones, for help.