Many women start out with a low sex drive. Others have problems after they've had children. Still others don't begin to have such problems until after menopause. A number of women also have low desire after surgery to remove their ovaries (oophorectomy) or the uterus (hysterectomy).

Low desire needn't mean no sex

For the partner who has a very low or nonexistent desire for sex, be it the woman or the man, the problem is not as acute as it is for the partner who does want to have sex. He or she is left being constantly frustrated, relying on self-pleasuring, or finding another partner. In the first two instances, the marriage often suffers, because the anger from the frustrated partner usually spills over into other areas. The last choice usually spells the end of the marriage.

Many experts strongly believe that something needs to be done when one person has a very low desire for sex. It is rare that two people have exactly the same level of desire for sex, so most couples have to compromise somewhat. But "somewhat" cannot equal sex every other month.

You can treat the problem

The cure for such a lack of desire depends on the cause:

  • Depression: If a woman suffers from depression, then she's not going to want to have sex. If she gets help for her depression first, then her libido will probably go up by itself. A woman may also suffer depression after a hysterectomy, equating the loss of her uterus with the loss of youth, femininity, and beauty. If her ovaries are also removed, the woman is thrown into "early menopause," which brings its own set of problems. If you are feeling low and have recently had a total hysterectomy, speak with your doctor and consider counseling.

  • Childbirth: A new mom sometimes gets so emotionally tied up with her baby, not to mention so tired from lack of sleep, that she loses interest in sex. The dad, who may have stopped having sex with her during the last month or two of pregnancy, and who gave her the time she needed to recover from the effects of giving birth, may begin to get testy after several months have gone by.

    Although new mothers may have some very good excuses, it is often a mistake to use them. You may have to make a conscious effort to put the spark back into your sex life, and you should do it. Get a grandparent to baby-sit (they'll love it) or hire a baby-sitter and go out with your husband for a romantic evening. If the baby is a light sleeper, or if there are other distractions in the house, rent a motel room. But don't just let sex slide. A new mom without a husband is not a good position to be in.

  • Menopause: The production of a woman's sex hormones declines during menopause, causing certain side effects that can affect a woman's sex life. But menopause does not have to mean an end to sex. In fact, many women find they have a stronger desire for sex after menopause because they no longer have to worry about becoming pregnant. Plus, this is a time when women and their husbands have more privacy because their kids have grown up and moved out.

    You may have to make some adjustments for menopause, like using a lubricant, but you can still have a satisfactory sex life.