Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 6/9/2022
First things first, you get to decide when you’re in the mood for sex — and when you’re not. But what if you’re never in the mood anymore?
If you’re fine with your low libido, great — you don’t need to do anything else. But if you miss the intimacy and pleasure sex can bring, you may want to look into ways, including pills, to enhance your sex drive.
A quick online search turns up tons of what claim to be the best supplements for women’s libido. The only problem: How do you know if they work? We’re here to help answer that question.
It’s totally normal to not always be in the mood for sex. But if you find that you’re almost never in the mood, you may be dealing with a low libido.
A number of things can cause a low or non-existent sex drive in women. For example, depression is linked with a lack of desire to be intimate.
This is because people with depression tend to have feelings of sadness, low energy and issues with concentration — all of which makes getting in the mood tricky.
Menopause is another big culprit. This is because when women go through menopause, their estrogen levels drop, which can reduce libido.
Speaking of hormone level fluctuations, pregnancy and breastfeeding can both lead to a decrease in a woman’s sex drive.
In addition to these things, stress, relationship issues, illness and some medical conditions and certain medications can lead to a lower libido.
Finally, there’s something called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), which can cause a low sex drive and is often associated with low general happiness.
HSDD is thought to be present in nearly 9% of women between the ages of 18 and 44, 12% of women between the ages of 45 and 64 and 7% of women over the age of 65.
If your desire for sex is low, you may be looking for a sexual enhancer for women. The good news is that there are two prescription medications that may be helpful.
Flibanserin, which is also known by the brand name of Addyi, is often prescribed to women with HSDD. You take it nightly, but you may need to take it for up to two months before you notice any difference. You also cannot take it within two hours of drinking alcohol. That said, it has been found to increase sex drive.
This medication was approved to treat HSDD in August of 2015, making it the first medication approved to treat a female arousal disorder. It was originally developed to treat major depressive disorder, but it was not successful in clinical trials. However, researchers noticed that it had the side effect of increasing libido in female patients.
Flibanserin has a few side effects. They include:
Trouble falling asleep
You should talk with a healthcare provider if you have any of the above adverse effects, especially if they don’t go away. In addition to these, contact a medical professional immediately if you experience hives, hoarseness, face swelling or excessive sleeping.
If you are taking other medications, especially antidepressants like fluoxetine, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider — they may have a negative reaction with flibanserin.
This prescription medication needs to be injected about 45 minutes before sexual activity. It’s most often prescribed to women with HSDD who have not yet gone through menopause and whose low libido is not caused by a medical or mental health issue.
You should not inject bremelanotide more than once in a 24-hour period or more than eight times in one month.
Nausea is a big side effect associated with bremelanotide, especially after the first use. Other adverse effects include headaches, cough, tiredness, nasal stuffiness and more. You should speak with a medical provider if these symptoms persist or become severe. You also need to seek help immediately if you notice your blood pressure goes up.
Beyond prescription medication, there are a number of other things you can do to try to boost a low libido. From natural supplements for women’s low libido to therapy and exploration, learning about all of your options will help you figure out what may be right for you.
Look online and you’ll find a number of supplements for women’s libido. But do they work? Well, more research needs to be done.
But, if you’re interested, some of the common supplements or vitamins for women’s low libido include:
Tribulus terrstris: This herbal supplement is known for helping with sex drive. One study found that people who took 7.5 milligrams for four weeks reported an improvement in arousal and sexual satisfaction. However, the study only involved 60 people.
Fenugreek: This herb can be used to cook with or in supplement form. A study found that it may effectively increase a female’s sex drive. The study was relatively small — 80 women between the ages of 20 and 49.
Ginseng: This supplement is sold in most health stores or vitamin aisles. Amongst other things, it’s said to help with sexual dysfunction and libido issues. That said, there’s not strong evidence. A small study found that it can help the sex drive of people using methadone. But research needs to be done to determine its effectiveness on those not using methadone.
If you don’t know what pleasures you, it can have an effect on your libido. Think about it: If you’re not finding any fun in sex, why would you want to keep doing it?
Many women don’t fully understand their own anatomy or what pleases them. If you can relate, you may want to consider experimenting with self-pleasure. A vibrator can help with this. Once you start exploring pleasure in this way, you may notice an overall increase in your libido.
In a relationship, communication is key — and it can help improve your sex life, too. A 2018 study found that there was a link between orgasm frequency and communication.
If your low libido is caused by feeling disconnected from your partner, couples therapy may be able to help you feel more connected and learn how to improve your communication.
In couples therapy, you and your partner will work with a professional with the goal of resolving conflict or learning how to communicate better. You can even talk about issues in your sex life, so you both understand what the other person needs to enjoy being intimate.
Dealing with sexual dysfunction of any kind can be incredibly frustrating and can affect your quality of life. So if you are dealing with low sexual desire, doing something about it can improve your life overall.
Mental health issues, general unhappiness and stress can all cause a decrease in sexual arousal or sexual function. In addition, low sexual arousal is common for premenopausal and postmenopausal women. In these cases, treating or improving the underlying condition may help increase your libido.
But if you are navigating female sex drive issues, medical professionals sometimes suggest female enhancement pills, such as flibanserin and bremelanotide. These medications can help boost a low libido in women and make sexual intercourse more enjoyable.
Beyond these prescriptions, it may also be worth it to looking into therapy, herbal supplements and sex toys to increase sexual arousal.
To investigate all of these options, start by scheduling a consultation with a medical professional.