Low sex drive

Low sex drive solutions

How can we define a low sex drive?

Low sex drive can be described as a decreased interest in sexual activity. But the issue can be a lot more complicated than that. What some people would consider a low sex drive could be the norm for others. In all relationships, sex drive levels can see dramatic changes over time and a lot of these changes are perfectly natural. For instance, it’s entirely expected that your desire for your partner decreases after being together for several years. That’s due to increased familiarity. It can also be due to the fact that your needs and desires change with age.[1]

From a medical perspective, low sex drive refers to a disorder where an individual’s sexual desires have subsided due to exceptional causes. That can, in turn, cause distress and have a severe negative impact on quality of life.

Therefore, you’re unlikely to suffer from the type of low sex drive that requires medical attention if you and your partner used to have sex daily, but you’re now both content with it being a weekly occurrence – that can be due to natural factors, such as age and changes in your relationship.[2]

How prevalent is a lowered sexual drive?

There are several studies on low libido from across the globe. A study in Norway in 2013 showed 13 to 28 percent of all men experienced low sex drive, and a study from New Jersey showed that 36 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 had low libido with the number rising to 65 percent in women over 46. In Portugal, however, only 11 percent of men were reported as having this issue.

In both genders, studies found that low sex drive happened primarily due to psychological factors and was also more likely to happen to people in long term relationships than those who have just started seeing each other.

Can lower libido have a physical cause?

While there are no tests your doctor can do to determine whether your lowered sexual desire has a physical cause, there are several signs that could indicate your symptoms are physiological. For example, women are more likely to suffer from lowered libido after having just given birth, due to the damage their genital organs suffer during the process.

Your menstrual cycle can also play a role in lowering your sex drive, so make sure you tell your doctor if you notice any significant changes in the days leading up to and the days after your period.

Make sure you mention to your doctor any conditions you have or medication you take for them to determine if they are affecting your sex drive.

Several medical and pharmaceutical factors can contribute to your lack of interest in the bedroom, which we will discuss below; therefore, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about any underlying issues you think you may have.[3]

When should you seek medical attention because of Low Sex Drive?

While there are several perfectly normal and natural reasons your sex drive can decrease and fluctuate over time, there are specific symptoms that could indicate a disorder and that’s when you should seek your doctors’ advice.

Most people see a gradual disinterest in sex as they grow older, but if your lack of sexual desire seems to have happened over a short period of time – such as days or weeks – you should consider making an appointment with your doctor.[4]

It’s also important to see your doctor if you started experiencing low mood, sadness, if your lowered sexual desire is making you very unhappy, affecting your ability to function day-to-day or if your relationship seems to have hit a hard spot.

Are stress levels a contributing factor of Low Sex Drive?

High-stress levels are the most common cause adversely affecting your sex drive. When you feel stressed, your brain releases the hormone cortisol, which is the cause of your body’s fight-or-flight response.

If your stress levels remain high for an extended time, they can cause all sorts of problems in your body, including lowering your libido. That’s why it’s very likely your doctor will question whether you’ve been under a lot of stress when you seek advice for your lowered sex drive.

What’s the cause for low sex drive in women?

Studies show that around 50 percent of women will suffer from low libido at some point in their lifetime. Nonetheless, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason why women’s sex drive can vary so much. It’s difficult to measure one’s libido levels, as there’s no measurement unit.

But as a rule of thumb, a low sex drive means that you have no interest in any form of sexual activity. You rarely experience any sexual fantasies, and even when you do, it’s more of a fleeting thought rather than a clear desire to engage in sex with your partner.

Here are some of the most common causes to look at if you are experiencing lowered libido.

Problems in your relationship

Relationship issues can serve as a significant deterrent to you relaxing enough to be open to engaging in intimacy. If you and your partner are always at each other’s throats, or if you’ve recently discovered infidelity on his part, it can affect the feelings you have towards each other.

Length of relationship is also a significant factor. When you’ve just met, your desire to get to know each other and embark on a new journey means that your sex drive is high. But after you’ve been with your partner for many years, daily routine and familiarity can turn into a massive passion killer.

Sleep habits

Science has shown that lack of a restful night’s sleep can decrease not only alertness and energy levels, but also libido. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a good night’s sleep can lead to increased sexual appetite; in fact, even one extra hour of sleep can result in an increase of 14.5 percent in a woman’s libido.[5]

Exposure to harmful chemicals

It may come as a surprise to you, but some of the substances that can be found in everyday household items such as plastic, cleaning products, cosmetics and even in some fast-food restaurants are classified as endocrine disruptors.

Long term exposure to these substances has been shown to have a significant effect on female hormone levels and decrease testosterone, which can lead to low sex drive.[6]

Medication

Certain pharmaceuticals can interfere with your libido. These include antidepressants, blood pressure pills and even your daily birth control. Check the side effects for any medication you are currently taking and talk to your doctor about making adjustments that can help improve your sex drive.

Childbirth

Having a baby is another thing that can interfere with your hormone levels, and in turn, affect your sex drive. During the first year after giving birth, a woman’s libido can see a dramatic decrease. This is due to the hormone Prolactin, which is the hormone responsible for breastmilk production. Unfortunately, the high levels of Prolactin secreted after having a baby have been shown by studies to be a direct cause of lowered sexual desire.

Menopause

Due to decreased hormone levels, specifically testosterone, menopause is another factor that can contribute to decreased sex drive in women.

Excessive alcohol consumption and/or smoking

You probably already know that drinking too much can harm your health, but it may come as a surprise as to how much it can negatively impact your sex drive.[7] Long-term alcohol use can interfere with your body’s natural hormone regulation and in turn, result in a drop in sexual desire.

There are also short-term consequences in the form of being too drunk or too tired to perform in bed. Cigarettes are also a terrible idea if you’re looking at improving your sex drive. Nicotine is what doctors call a vasoconstrictor, which means it lowers the blood flow in your body, which can lead to a lack of sexual desire, among other problems.[8]

Stress

High-stress levels are the most significant cause of several health problems, and it can also destroy your sex life. When you are under constant pressure, it can be challenging to get in the mood for intimacy. Stress can cause anxiety, make it hard for you to concentrate and also harm your hormone balance. It also serves as a significant sleep deterrent, and we’ve already shown how vital sleep is to your sex drive.

Lack of physical activity

There is plenty of research out there that suggests that there is a direct correlation between exercise and sex drive. Regularly taking part in physical exercise can help you balance your hormone levels and body functions, which can help with boosting your libido. Another good argument for hitting the gym is that physical activity causes higher confidence levels, which can, in turn, make you more confident during bedroom activities.

How can you improve your sex drive?

You may wonder if there are any tricks you can try that will help increase your libido. Here are some of the things you can apply in your daily life that are known to help bring back your interest in bedroom activities.

Add some spice to your night-time activities

Sex is a lot of fun, but unfortunately, it can also become a tedious task if you do it the same way every single time. You don’t want to just lie there and expect your significant other to do all the work, do you? Talk to your partner and try to improve your technique continually. Learn every inch of their body and find new ways to excite and pleasure them. That way, you will always get excited about making love, and it will stop feeling like a chore.[9]

Discuss your issues with your partner

Communication is key in any relationship, and that is especially true when it comes to intimacy. You may be able to solve whatever problems are affecting your sexual desires by merely talking them through. Try to bring up and communicate issues that are affecting you inside your relationship and find a way to move forward as a couple. [10]

It’s also essential that you tell your other half your likes and dislikes in the bedroom and let them know how to turn you on. Sometimes they’re doing the wrong thing simply because they don’t know any better.

Make sure you get enough sleep

We’ve already discussed how lack of sleep can make you tired and lower your desire for intimacy. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of rest every night to up your energy level, balance your hormones and increase your sex drive.

Eat the right food

Did you know that there are certain foods you can include in your diet that are known to increase your sex drive? A prime example of that is dark chocolate, which increases the production of serotonin. Fruits are also endorsed not only as libido enhancers but can also contribute to your general health. Other foods, such as oysters, figs, and peaches, are known as aphrodisiacs. Do make sure to include them in any romantic meal with your partner.[11]

Regular exercise

Exercising will not only make you healthier and improve your confidence, but it’s also a key factor in balancing your hormones. After a few weeks of hitting the gym, you will undoubtedly feel the benefits and your sex drive increase.[12]

Consider taking some libido increasing medication

There are plenty of different pharmaceuticals out there meant to increase your libido. Discuss with your doctor any medications you intend on taking to help determine whether they are the right ones for you.

To sum it up, there can be several reasons why your sexual drive has seen a decrease and they can be both psychological and physical. Even so, understanding the reasoning behind your lack of interest in sex and following some of the advice above can lead to an increase in libido and help you regain a healthy and satisfying sex life.


[1] Aytac IA, McKinlay JB, Krane RJ. The likely worldwide increase in erectile dysfunction between 1995 and 2025 and some possible policy consequences. BJU International. 1999;84:50–56

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10444124

[3] Althof SE. Quality of life and erectile dysfunction. Urology. 2002;59:803–810.

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12031357

[5] Handelsman DJ, Zajac JD. 11: Androgen deficiency and replacement therapy in men. Med J Aust. 2004;180:529–535.

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15139833

[7] Gades NM, Nehra A, Jacobson DJ, et al. Association between smoking and erectile dysfunction: A population-based study. Am J Epi. 2005;161:346–351.

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15692078

[9] Ahn HS, Park CM, Lee SW. The clinical relevance of sex hormone levels and sexual activity in the ageing male. BJU Int. 2002;89:526–530.

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11942957

[11] Bechtel S The practical encyclopedia of sex and health: From aphrodisiacs and hormones to potency, stress, vasectomy, and yeast infection. Emmaus (PA): Rodale; 1993.

[12]https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Bechtel+S+The+practical+encyclopedia+of+sex+and+health:+From+aphrodisiacs+and+hormones+to+potency,+stress,+vasectomy,+and+yeast+infection.+1993+Emmaus+(PA)+Rodale+