Being diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) can be devastating and a HUGE shock. If your sex drive dips as a result of POI, it can cause feelings of embarrassment, frustration, anger, and shame. Questions such as ‘why me’ and ‘why isn’t my body working’ are a snippet of the thoughts that can run through your head.
In this post, we’re going to share six practical ways you can take control and get back in the swing of your sex life.
What Is Premature Ovarian Insufficiency?
Premature ovarian insufficiency (also known as premature ovarian failure) happens when someone’s ovaries stop working before they are 40 (1).
The Daisy Network states that approximately one in every 100 women under the age of 40, one in 1,000 women under 30, and one in 10,000 under 20, experience POI (2).
How Does Premature Ovarian Insufficiency Affect Your Sex Drive?
Some people who experience POI may experience a dip in their sex drive. This happens because the ovaries no longer produce the typical amounts of the hormone estrogen. Lower levels of estrogen can also cause a drop in blood supply to the vagina. This can affect vaginal lubrication, meaning that sex can become uncomfortable and even painful for some. It can also be harder to become aroused if the sensation of touch is reduced—making it harder to orgasm.
Struggling with the desire to want to have sex, or being able to enjoy sex, can become a constant reality. And for some this can be upsetting and feelings of shame, doubt, and disappointment can creep in.
So let’s take a look at what you can do to lift your libido and enjoy sex…
How To Boost Your Sex Life
1. Lube Up
POI can cause the lining of the vagina to become thin and dry, which can lead to painful sex. Using lubrication can reduce friction and make foreplay and sex more comfortable. It’s recommended that you use a water-soluble lubricant, such as Wylde One by Into the Wylde. Your doctor can also prescribe creams or moisturisers to stop your vagina from feeling dry. Vaginal estrogen can also be inserted into your vagina. And if you feel particularly uncomfortable in a position, dust off that kama sutra book and try switching it up.
2. Get Enough Estrogen
Taking Hormone Replacement Tablets (HRT) can help to restore the balance of estrogen. This may help to improve your sex drive. HRT may also help with a dry vagina and other POI symptoms (3). There are various ways to take estrogen, e.g. via a tablet, creams, and a patch. Play around and see which works best for you.
3. Consider a Testosterone Replacement
People who have POI tend to have lower levels of testosterone than those who don’t have POI. So taking testosterone may help to increase low libido and raise energy levels. Testosterone treatment isn’t always something your GP may be able to prescribe, so it may be a trip to see a hospital specialist.
4. Sex Toys and Foreplay
Sex toys, such as vibrators, can help increase sensations and lead to a more intense and satisfying orgasm. Using erotic books or visual materials can help you get in the mood. Foreplay and massage are also great ways to connect with your partner, bump up the intimacy, and ease you into sex.
And who said you need a partner? If you want to explore your body and get to know what turns you on—go for it.
5. Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby
Talking to your partner can help to remove any worries or anxieties you may have around sex and being intimate. Getting on the same page can help your partner to understand your thoughts and can guide them when pleasuring you. And of course, if you need support, there are counsellors you can turn to, whether you want to chat on your own or with your partner.
6. Connect with others
Reaching out to other people with POI can help reduce feelings of loneliness. Having access to groups, social media pages, websites, and reading books that answer your questions can be helpful. Here are a handful of places you can start:
The Bottom Line
Being diagnosed with POI can be a devastating shock. Experiencing a low sex drive or difficulties enjoying sex can lead to feelings of shame, frustration, and embarrassment. It’s important to remember that none of this is your fault and there are things you can do to take control and enjoy a long and healthy sex life. Enjoy!
Side note: always get advice from your doctor if you’re considering hormone treatments or the use of vaginal creams or devices.
- MedlinePlus. Primary ovarian insufficiency. Reviewed June 2016.
- The Daisy Network. What is POI?. Accessed January 2022.
- Hormone Health. Premature Ovarian Insufficiency. Accessed January 2022.
Author: Rebekah Louise is a health and femtech writer for hire. She has a passion to empower, support, and inform people about women’s health through her writing. You can find Rebekah over on her website and on LinkedIn.