Weeks before I walked into my gynecologist’s office for my yearly pelvic exam, I’d already made up my mind: I’m going to talk to my doctor about low libido.
Low libido, low sex drive, decreased sexual desire—whatever term you use, they all refer to a lack or loss of interest in sexual activity. Most days my sex drive definitely falls into the “lacking” category, and while I have been able to find a lot of others like me online with low libidos, the internet still can’t definitively answer why my particular sexual desire is so low.
I decided it was time to talk to my doctor, but how do you bring up having a low sex drive without feeling completely awkward and embarrassed? Don’t back out yet, because today I’m going to share with you my top advice on exactly how to talk to your doctor about low libido.
1. Make an appointment
Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist if you have one; otherwise, your primary care doctor is a good place to start. Your annual pelvic exam is a great opportunity to bring up questions if making a separate appointment solely for discussing your libido feels intimidating.
If you do schedule a separate appointment, be prepared for the receptionist to ask for a reason for your visit. You can either answer outright if you’re comfortable (giving a reason lets your doctor block out enough time for the visit and also do any necessary research), or you can simply say “I’d really prefer to discuss it in private with my doctor.”
Before your appointment, take some time to research common treatment options for low libido. The internet is full of information on low sex drive, and it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with common treatments doctors recommend. As always, just be wary of sketchy internet advice (sadly not everything out there is credible. *GASP*).
3. Think ahead
If you’re still feeling anxious, walk yourself through the appointment before you go. Typically, a nurse or your doctor will ask at the start of your appointment if you have any questions or health concerns, which is a perfect chance to bring up your libido concerns. If not, it’s completely okay to say to your doctor at some point during your visit, “I actually want to talk with you about something that feels a little awkward.” And, if it helps, you can write down ahead of time exactly what you want to say.
Take a deep breath. Your doctor is a medical professional whose job is to take care of their patients’ health. They are not there to judge you or shame you (and if they do, it’s definitely time to find a new doctor). To help dispel your fears about being too TMI with your doctor, check out this OBGYN’s video called 5 Things Your Gynecologist Wants You To Know. I promise it will make you feel better about talking to your doctor!
5. Get specific
During your appointment, answer your doctor’s questions as honestly as you can and with details. He or she will probably ask questions like:
“Are you experiencing any vaginal pain?”
“Is sex pleasurable for you?”
“Are you able to orgasm?”
“Do you masturbate?”
“Is your libido affecting your relationship with your partner?”
Again, you doctor is NOT there to judge you—they’re there to help. The more information you can give your doctor, the better of decisions you can make together about treatment options.
Agree on a course of action with your doctor that works for you. While your doctor is a medical professional, ultimately it’s your body and your life. By having an honest and open discussion about what you’re experiencing sexually, your doctor will be able to suggest options suited specifically to you. Don’t feel fully comfortable with one option? Say so! Low libido is a multifaceted issue with a variety of treatments, ranging from switching birth control methods to trying couples’ counseling. Just remember YOU are in drivers’ seat.
Dealing with a low sex drive can be challenging, but talking to your doctor about low libido doesn’t have to be. Make an appointment, do your research, and plan ahead for your visit. Remind yourself to relax, then talk with your doctor about what specifically you’re dealing with so together you can make the best decisions about what treatments to try.
Don’t let stigma, shame, or fear stop you from taking ownership of your body. Your sexual wellness is just as real and important as your physical health, so give it the care it deserves.