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What is a normal female sex drive?

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According to Kelli Young, an occupational therapist, sex therapist, and group psychotherapist “There really is no such thing as “normal” female sex drive. Women vary greatly in their desire for sex. What is important is a woman’s own subjective experience of the sex she is having, or not having. In medical terms, low sex drive, or “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” is defined as a persistent or recurrent lack of sexual fantasies, thoughts, and/or interest in sexual activity that causes personal distress.”

A woman’s libido is controlled by hormones, nerves, blood supply, and stimulation, both physical (e.g. touch) and psychological (e.g. fantasy or imagery). Problems or deficiencies in any of these systems can negatively affect a woman’s sexual satisfaction and in turn her desire for sex. Low libido can result when a woman is having difficulties becoming aroused. If a woman is not adequately aroused, she is unlikely to reach the sexual peaks necessary to trigger orgasm and the sense of relaxation that often follows.

Lack of arousal can be caused by or associated with insufficient vaginal lubrication, which can in turn lead to vaginal irritation or pain, and may even trigger vaginal or urinary tract infections. When sex is unfulfilling or painful, a woman is unlikely to desire it, and may begin to avoid it.

Kelli Young
Kelli Young earned her degree in occupational therapy in 1992 from the University of Western Ontario. She is a registered occupational therapist with training, certification and expertise in the areas of Marriage and Family Therapy, and Sex Therapy. Since 1992 she has worked in the Eating Disorders Program at the Toronto General Hospital where she provides group, individual, family and couple therapy. She also has a private practice in Toronto. Read her full bio here.

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