A woman’s heart rate may indicate if she has a low sex drive. A study at the University of Texas found that women with low heart rate variability (HRV) — the variation in time between heartbeats — is linked to low libido.
Those with low HRV are dominated by their sympathetic nervous system — the body’s fight or flight response — which is easily stimulated and stays active constantly. On the other hand, average or high HRV has been associated with healthy hearts and improved blood flow to the genitals.
Researchers analyzed HRV and self-reported information from 72 women ages 18 to 39 using the Female Sexual Function Index to evaluate their overall sexual functioning. The questionnaire included categories such as pain, satisfaction, and desire.
They found that in addition to overall sexual dysfunction, women with below average HRV were more likely to have difficulties with sexual arousal.
Amelia Stanton, lead author of the study, which was published in Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, told Live Science: “Because evidence shows that low HRV is a potential risk factor for sexual dysfunction, physicians have a simple, low-cost and nonintrusive method to measure a woman’s risk for sexual dysfunction. It makes it easier to talk about something a little bit more private and get women the help that they need.”
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