Why do so many women lose enjoyment of sex as early as their 30s or 40s, and what, if anything, can be done about it?
That’s the question I set out to answer as I embarked on an investigation of the science of the FEMALE SEX DRIVE, the results of which I hope you will watch tonight (8pm, Catalyst, ABC 1). The reason I was so passionate to look for answers? Well, it happened to me. And before I go too much further – I have personally found an answer that has worked. And I’m grateful.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Dr Jonica Newby, and I’m a science reporter for the ABC’s longstanding flagship science program, Catalyst. I’m in my mid 40s, fit, happy relationship, and would have considered myself way too young to have any problems with libido. I’ve always really enjoyed sex. Not just for its physical and emotional pleasures, but it has been a core platform of my sense of self, my feelings of being a female on this earth. None of which I realised so profoundly until it started to fade – when my ability to rely on my body to respond sexually evaporated.
Watch the teaser for Female Sex Drive below. Post continues after video.
It started about two years ago. Subtle – I’m not sure I even really noticed it for a while, it’s only in retrospect I can track it back. What changed? Well, I could beat around the bush, so to speak, and hide behind phrases like “loss of libido” or “loss of desire”, but I’ve decided if I am to go public like this on a topic which, let’s face it, is still taboo, I will try to be direct. It means the quality of orgasms diminished – they were still there, just not as good. It means the level of arousal was less so and it was harder to lose oneself in the moment. It means the touch on the skin was less craved, and less noticeable when it happened. It just meant the whole experience of sex was less rewarding. The body was not responding how it should. And it was shocking, to me. Even though I tried to hide it from my partner – successfully, I believe. But alone and inside my head, I was deeply distressed.
I’m lucky. I’m a science reporter, and I knew of a medical option that I hoped would work. I didn’t let it get to the point where my own relationship was compromised. That’s not the case for the many devastated women I spoke to off-the- record while researching this story – not one of whom was prepared to go public, thus confirming my belief this topic is very difficult for women to talk about openly.