We would like to blame all of our problems on hormones, from our moody natures, to all the spots and lines on our faces. Most of the time we know that it is either father time taking his toll, Mother Nature taking hers, and our lifelong love of chocolate finally rearing its head. That’s life, and we deal with it, and if we’re lucky, we find that special someone to share that life with.
Not many people can say that they have a healthy, rewarding relationship that doesn’t take any work at all, most of us know that relationships take a lot of work and a lot of care but that they are fulfilling and satisfying and you get as much as you give. Even though we can’t count all the ways that we are glued to our partner, often we can agree that a healthy, gratifying, sex life is definitely a factor- and when our sex lives are disrupted, our relationships may suffer.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of people who have found that their partners have been less than faithful. What might have led to their decision to stray from their loved one and why? Which of the glues that are holding the partnership together has dissolved? It may not matter to some couples who just turn and walk away, however, wouldn’t you want to know what’s ruined the relationship so that it never happens again? Sex has to be one of the integral aspects of a relationship; the glue, so to speak, that can have the power to pull us together.
There are many jokes about ‘curing’ women of their sexual needs by putting a ring on their fingers. We laugh, but why does that joke exist if it didn’t have a base in reality? Unfortunately, the sex lives of many married couples are not what they used to be, and a growing number of marriages can be referred to as ‘sexless’; that means that the couple is intimate less than ten times a year. People forget in their day-to-day chores to make time for intimacy- not just sex, but touching each other, laughing at each other’s jokes, and spending quiet time together. Sex is about bonding and giving a physical connection to the relationship that separates it from the common friendship. When sex is missing from a marriage, we often feel less sexy, less desirable and less loved, so we are more vulnerable to people who make us feel those good, confidence-raising feelings.
Unfortunately just “having sex” isn’t always the answer to the problem. A boring sex life, a monotonous sex life, can be almost as dangerous as no sex life at all. Having the same routine, that lasts the same amount of time, and incorporates the same activities gets boring and gives your partner the idea that you are giving in to them physically because that it what you think they expect, not because you want them, think they’re attractive or even enjoy it.
In order to protect this precious glue, and our relationships, it’s important to know what dangers we might meet that will try to jeopardize our sex lives. We all know that too much work and no play makes for a dull life, and that some illnesses and medicines decrease libido, but what about those hormones? Can they create problems? It’s definitely a possibility. We all know our lovely friend estrogen- created in the ovaries, this hormone does so much for women, although it is also present in men. Estrogen in women helps lubricate the vaginal tissue prior to sex, and although androgens (male hormones) are the ones that are credited for increasing sexual drive in women, they do so only in the presence of estrogen. Many women that suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder receive estrogen therapy to help the androgens perform.
In men, low testosterone levels can also be a factor, but usually these are caused by injuries, not nature. It does happen that the male pituitary gland secretes too much prolactin- it’s rare, but that also causes impotence in men.
Great, now that hormones have been caught red handed as a culprit of loss of sexual desire, how do we know what caused it? Here is a hint- it probably wasn’t menopause. Many women think that going through menopause will kill their sex drive, but actually, it’s been reported as quite the opposite. Many women feel sexier, have stronger orgasms, and a healthier sex life after going through menopause. So why do we still suffer from hormonal imbalance? Medication might be a factor. Too many medications that people take without thinking twice change the way our bodies produce hormones; dopamine, for example, is one of the hormones that so many medications inhibit. Dopamine is believed to be one of the hormones/neurotransmitters that excrete endorphins, which allow us to feel pleasure. Testosterone levels, estrogen levels, and several other hormones can be affected by medication. Alcoholism, obesity, and also giving birth cause hormonal changes in the body that can throw off our sex drive.
Knowing what we know now, there are so many ways to keep the glue sticky with a little effort. Our partnerships and relationships are what make us human, and joyful, and we want to do what we can to maintain those important relationships. Sex plays a huge factor in many lifelong relationships- not to say that there are not marriages out there where both partners have a low sex drive, and it is a mutual and accepted situation where neither feel like the other is holding back- but for those of us that require a little lovin’ to keep us feeling on top of the world, intimacy is the super glue. Holding us for the short, and long, term in the arms of our partner. It’s so important to realize that there are factors at play that we may not be aware of, and that lack of faithfulness may be a consequence of what we are eating, the medications we are taking, and how that all effects those silly little hormones in our bodies.