February is the month when men's brains focus on football and the Super Bowl, and women's brain focus on Romance for Valentine's Day! Some other differences I've noticed over the years: Men under stress crave more to relieve tension. Women under stress can't even think about sex! And then there's the difference in arousal and desire. Men seem to be able at any time to be ready for sex. Women need more time and foreplay and feeling loved and appreciated. And who said men and women were just alike?
As we celebrate Valentine's Day and the loves of our lives, have you wondered whatever happened to that "spark" of sexual desire that you had at the beginning of your relationship with your "Valentine"?
There are lots of exotic tips and tricks to improve sexual response, to help rekindle the flames of desire, and there are lots of erotically named "lubricants" to make sex less painful as we age and women experience vaginal dryness. But a major overlooked problem is that few doctors think it is important to check blood levels of the twin hormones of desire and sexual arousal: estradiol (E2) and testosterone.
If your hormone fuel is scrapping the bottom of the tank or you are running on "vapors"....you can't ignite the spark of your "sexual fires" and your nerve endings - in the clitoris and vagina and breasts and other erogenous zones all feel "numb." So much for just candy, flowers, and candlelight.
Bottom line: If you don't have the hormone fuels your brain needs, then your body can't "light the sexual fires!" It doesn't help to just take testosterone, as too many people think. Women need optimal estradiol restored first to fully activate the brain centers and testosterone receptors that oversee our sexual desire and physical response to sexual stimulation! And PS: all those progesterone creams being touted to help improve your sex life actually decrease sexual desire by decreasing estradiol and testosterone effects!
Women with low estradiol have increased problems with vaginal dryness and pain with sex, and also have reduced sensation in clitoral nerve endings making it difficult to reach orgasm and reducing the intensity of the orgasmic experience. I have been working with patients for 28 years helping people improve their sex lives....and I can tell you ....all the fancy techniques, or all the romantic environments or special "vacations" or "stress management" in the world just won't cut it if you have lost your two key hormones that make it possible for your body to respond to sexual stimuli!
But don't just think you can load up on testosterone and not take estradiol. Women's testosterone receptors - especially in the brain - need optimal estradiol FIRST - to prime the receptors to respond to testosterone. Testosterone, taken alone, or in excess relative to estradiol, makes women irritable, angry, aggressive...and hairy! And women with testosterone excess and too little estradiol typically do not have increased sexual desire - they just feel mean, edgy, have muscle tightness, insomnia and more headaches.
So, if you are having sexual problems, two more steps you can take to get help:
- Read my book, The Savvy Woman's Guide to Great Sex, Strength, and Stamina....available through www.HerPlace.com
- Get your hormones checked with reliable serum (blood) tests, and work with your physician to restore your sex hormones to optimal levels for you.