I want my sex drive back

I had a full hysterectomy in 2001. Once I had this operation, or several months after, I realized that I now have no desire. I married a man that is 9 years younger than myself. Of course, sex is of utmost importance to both of us…but where did my desire go and how can I get it back? I take hormones–Premarin 1.25–and have been since this operation. I also take another medication for depression/anxiety. I will do almost anything to get back my desire. I wish that I could go back and not get this operation, because I was extremely sexual prior to the surgery. I do not want to leave this 8-year relationship! We get along great and have lots of things in common. I have tried several things but nothing seems to work. I have a male doctor that has even put me on Viagra, but I had some type of reaction to it and now can’t take it. I do not want to fake it anymore–I want what I had before. Please help.

Answer from Dr. Kate

I get this question about sex drive from a lot of my patients, including many in their 20s and 30s. So many things affect our desire–how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about our relationship, the overall stress level in our lives. Do you not desires sex at all–do you fantasize? do you masturbate?–or just have a hard time getting into the mood with your husband? And if he tries hard to get you aroused–plenty of foreplay, and touching and kissing you in ways you like–does your body respond? Sometimes our drive is down and we don’t want to initiate sex, but we’re responsive if he “starts” it (being “persuadable”).

You’re not alone in feeling like your sex drive has gone after you’ve lost your ovaries–whether through surgery or after menopause when they naturally stop functioning. But depression medications can also cause a depressed sex drive (which makes us more depressed!); have you talked with your doctor about this effect? He or she may be able to switch you to a different medication. And speaking of meds, Viagra hasn’t been very effective for women–though it does have lots of side effects.

Our drive for sex is different at different times in our life, but as long as we’re able to find a way to pleasure (even if it’s not “what you had before”), that can be satisfying. You may find some help by talking to a counselor about these issues, and trying to pinpoint what’s going on.

Have any of you experienced decreased desire? What did you do to try to get it back?