Low testosterone and monogamy kill sex drive among women

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Youths kiss in the water at a beach on the outskirts of Havana March 24, 2013. In a world where population growth is exploding and a region where countries have high birth rates and low median ages, Cuba's population is declining and getting older. Like many underdeveloped countries, Cuba struggles to hold on to its best and brightest, but unlike most others, it faces the added difficulty of doing so at the doorstep of a hostile superpower with an open door immigration policy for Cubans. Picture taken March 24, 2013. To match Feature CUBA-YOUTH/ Reuters/Desmond Boylan

Female sexuality has long been a suppressed secret. While sexuality and vitality are considered essentials to “manliness,” sexuality in women is often scorned. This is partly why women’s libidos have remained a source of mystery – relatively unexamined for years in the scientific community. ABC’s science show “Catalyst,” on Nov 3, featuring women’s health and sexual health experts, shared some surprising new insights.

Built up resentment, exhaustion and children are only superficial factors that affect women’s sex drive. Doctors say that testosterone might be as important for women as it is for men. In women, it is required to make oestrogen as well as influences bone density, energy levels and sexual interest. Long-term studies have also shown that testosterone replacement therapy for women might help them maintain later life sexual function.

Susan Davis, endocrinologist at Monash University, discussed research that examined the outcomes of testosterone for women. “In the research that we've done, about 60% of women will respond and improve. And responders respond pretty well,” said Davis on ABC’s Catalyst.

However, not everyone agrees that testosterone for women might help. Bronwyn Stuckey, endocrinologist at Keogh Institute for Medical Research, feels that testosterone replacement therapy in women is overrated. “If you look at the time when women's sexual function declines, it's mostly at menopause, and at that time, the sexual-function decline is not at all related to changes in testosterone - it's all related to changes in oestrogen,” Stuckey tells ABC TV.

Sex therapist and medical practitioner Rosie King says that with lowering libidos, women start to lose interest in sex, whereas men often pursue them. This creates a “pursuer distance cycle,” where the woman distances herself, the more the man pursues, further reducing her libido. There is also evidence from German and Australian research that suggests monogamy is the biggest killer of female libido, according to Australian Women’s Web.

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