IS YOUR woman losing interest in sex? Don't beat yourself up about it because most of the time it's not your fault, says sex therapist Colin Greyling.
In fact, this lack of libido, dubbed hypo-active sexual desire, is the most common female sexual problem in South Africa after sexually transmitted infections.
Greyling observes that a variety of physiological and psychological factors could be the reason for her low libido. Sex researchers define loss of sexual desire as psychological, while arousal and orgasm are physical processes.
Greyling says though loss of sex drive is generally associated with couples in mid-life and later, it is an increasing problem even for people in their 20s in this country.
He warns that any loss of interest in lovemaking is likely to cause relationship issues, especially if at one time sexual activity was intense.
"Of course every woman experiences times in her life when her sexual desire dips due to stress, illness, relationship problems or a recent pregnancy.
"But if your relationship is on track and you're in good physical health, yet your sex drive has taken a nosedive, one or more of these libido killers might be to blame," Greyling says.
Here, from Askmen.com, are the most common reasons (and remedies) for women's low sex drive.
Confidence: Confidence issues and stress are major hindrances to a healthy sex life. Bad self-image is the worst offender, with weight issues topping the list.
These are the women who always want the lights out and won't fully undress in front of you. It can take a long time for her to get comfortable in her own skin and the best thing you can do is reassure her that she is beautiful and desirable.
Find the parts of her you love (her brain as well as her body), and remind her how great she is, often.
Stress: Most people are a little stressed, but when it starts to affect your sex life it becomes a problem.
Stress relief is in order here. You must quickly take the bull by the horns by providing a relaxing massage and a bit of pampering and a lot of TLC.
But just watch out if she is stressed and tired because a great massage might put her to sleep.
Anxiety: If a woman is anxious, she won't get randy.
Along with stress, feeling anxious about sex for whatever reason (perhaps childhood abuse, rape or other fears) is a tragedy not only for your sex life, but for her whole life.
She needs to figure out and overcome her reasons for feeling anxious, and the best thing you can do is to support her.
Lack of physical exercise: Women who exercise regularly have higher sex drives and more often than not, their periods are less painful and PMS is less severe or even nonexistent.
Poor diet: Diet plays a major role in painful periods and in overall happiness and wellbeing.
Taking a good look at what goes in will help to determine what her body dishes out.
Toxic overload: If she does not help her body clear out toxins, they will build up and give her zits, odours and low energy. Smoking, pollution, lack of exercise, bad diet and being overweight all make women feel less stellar and these factors also kill their sex drive.
Drink plenty of water and antioxidants like green tea and exercise.
Premenstrual tension can affect her in the week or days before her period. All women experience premenstrual changes, but some have a serious problem.
Their behaviour is irrational, illogical, emotional and fraught with tension and anxiety. One minute they might seem perfectly fine and the next they are crying, yelling and irritable. This might be a bad time to try and have sex and saying things such as: "Have you got your period?"
Some women are extra sensitive during this time because of high oestrogen levels.
Avoid arguing back and encourage her to exercise and to do other stress-relieving activities (and, yes, sex is one of these but do try others).
Oral contraceptive pill: This small pill controls the body's hormones artificially to prevent pregnancy.
The freedom gained from the pill is an aphrodisiac; knowing she won't get pregnant is liberating, but it can be dangerous for her libido. Her hormones are levelled completely (and artificially), which rules out the sexual peak at ovulation (most birth control pills force the body to skip ovulation) and just before her period.
Depo-Provera injection: This injection is a high dose of artificial progesterone, which tricks the body into thinking it is already pregnant. But progesterone inhibits the production of oestrogen, which is essential for the health of her reproductive system and therefore, essential to her sex drive.
The lack of oestrogen can cause a problem called atrophic vaginitis, which can make sex painful and cause serious and uncomfortable problems with the urinary tract, vagina and vulva.
Antidepressants: Some antidepressants can increase libido in women, while others, such as Prozac, reduce it significantly.
So if one antidepressant doesn't work, there are other options. Overall, antidepressants help encourage sex because she will be feeling better about life in general and will have more energy, but orgasm can often be delayed or not happen at all.
In that case good communication is essential. Kiss and play around while she gets better. Pressure to have sex is also a libido killer.
Blood-pressure drugs: Most blood pressure drugs kill her sex drive. The good news is that there are other drugs to counter this.
Her doctor might try a few different ones to find one that won't affect her sex drive. The reason for the high blood pressure needs to be addressed quickly so she can get back to full health.
Easy ways to help her are encouraging her to exercise and to follow a healthy diet and doing fun, stress-free activities.
Other prescription drugs: Antihistamines can effect lubrication and cause drowsiness. Anti-psychotic, anti-seizure, anti-cancer, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can all also effect libido in a negative way.