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It is not uncommon for women to experience high sexual desire only in Phase II, the fertile time…many women may experience low libido (low sexual desire) at times because of physical factors involving overall health and, in particular, hormonal balance.

This is not to dismiss the other realms — the interpersonal, emotional, or spiritual…

It is important to point out some physical aspects of desire…

Low Desire in Phase III

If a woman experiences desire only during the fertile time, and loses all desire during the rest of the month, she is experiencing a form of low libido that should be recognized as such.

Even if she were seeking a pregnancy, and not abstaining in Phase II, this would be a most frustrating problem…women are sexually receptive at all times of the month, and it is the norm for women to be able to respond sexually whether or not they are in the fertile time.

Some studies have shown that women have two peaks of desire — one during the fertile time, and one during the premenstrual days.

John Lee M.D., author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, state that libido depends more on levels of progesterone than on estrogen or androgens ("male hormones") in women.

His experience is that women who use nonprescription natural progesterone creams during the second half of their cycle (the luteal phase, or postovulatory phase) report an increase in desire.

This makes sense, because progesterone stimulates thyroid function and also serves as the precursor for some adrenal hormones; both glands are involved in libido. …if a woman is in her fertile years, she should attempt to improve her own progesterone levels naturally with nutritional supplements, rather than with hormone supplements.

Once a woman is past menopause, however, using over-the-counter progesterone creams may be of value for a number of menopause-related problems, including low desire.

Dr. Guy Abraham, of Torrance, California, developed and extensively tested a diet and supplement plan for overcoming premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which can be caused by low progesterone levels in the luteal phase.

In short, he recommends a diet of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, low animal fat but adequate amounts of the healthy fats in vegetable oils. He created a complete multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement which under double-blind conditions has relieved the symptoms of PMS.

Vitamin B6…has been shown to raise the levels of progesterone, at least in some women.

CCL has had numerous reports of the luteal phase increasing by two or three days within a couple of cycles of using this supplement. In the same way, clearer temperature shifts are common in women who use the supplement. Both are signs of increased progesterone production. [Increased desire has also been reported.]…

Equally as important, three to six capsules of flax oil a day may make a noticeable difference in desire, because flax oil is the best source of the hard-to-get essential fatty acids that all glands must have.

Ovaries must have the nutritional building blocks they need in order to produce optimal amounts of their hormones. This is also true of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands, whose hormones also affect libido.

Overal Low Desire

Low thyroid function has been known for many years to contribute to low sexual desire, and the thyroid responds well to improved nutrition.

In addition to iodine, it needs vitamin A, the B vitamins, and vitamins C and E.

The thyroid requires the essential fatty acids, and the minerals zinc, selenium, and copper…

Correcting low thyroid function can restore several aspects of reproductive health (see article of March/April 2004), including low libido.

[Other problems could involve: poor adrenal function, obesity, underweight, yeast overgrowth; low desire during breastfeeding; non-nutritional factors such as lack of sleep, weak pelvic floor muscles, pain during intercourse, too frequent intercourse, and unrealistic expectations.]

[Family Foundations, July-August 2004,]