Struggle with a low sex drive? You’re not alone. Around 43% of women and 31% of men have said they struggle with a low sex drive.
It’s actually quite common, as libido fluctuates during our lifetimes as we age and encounter physical and emotional problems that, quite frankly, make it hard to get in the mood.
Sex is a vital part of most people’s lives, and when your sex drive starts to wane, it can be cause for concern. While there can be many different reasons for a low sex drive, there are also ways to address the problem.
Here’s what to know and what to do if you find yourself in a bit of a sexual slump.
What Is a Low Sex Drive
Okay, so what actually constitutes having a “low sex drive?” We all have varying levels of desire and libido, so how can you compare what you feel to be a low sex drive to someone else?
A low sex drive, also known medically as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), is a condition that affects both men and women. It is characterized by a lack of interest in sexual activity and a marked decrease in sexual thoughts and fantasies.
People who are affected by this condition or are simply feeling a dip in their libido may feel disinterested in sex altogether or may only be interested in sex when it is initiated by their partner.
However, it’s important to know that everyone’s sex drive is different, and there’s no “normal” libido. What’s normal for you may be different from what’s normal for your partner.
Some people have a higher sex drive than others. And that’s okay!
A low libido isn’t necessarily a problem if it doesn’t bother you or your partner. But if you’re concerned about your sex drive, talk to your doctor. Really, when it becomes a problem is when something noticeable changes that affects your relationship.
Understand the Potential Causes of a Low Sex Drive
A low sex drive can be caused by many things. It could be a medical condition, such as low testosterone levels, or a side effect of certain medications. It could also be a psychological issue, such as stress or anxiety.
Although a low sex drive can be frustrating, there are many potential causes. For some people, a drop in libido may be due to stress or anxiety.
Others may have a medical condition that is affecting their hormones or energy levels. Additionally, certain medications can cause a decrease in sexual desire.
If you are concerned about your low sex drive, speak with your doctor. They can help to identify any underlying causes and provide treatment options. With the right approach, it is possible to restore your libido and enjoy a healthy and active sex life.
Are these changes different in men and women? Honestly, not really. However, we can break down the differences between the causes for each to help you understand what might be causing your change in libido.
What Causes Low Sex Drive in Men
There are a number of potential causes for low sex drive in men.
It could be a physical issue, such as low testosterone levels or erectile dysfunction. It could also be a psychological issue, such as anxiety or depression. Additionally, certain medications can cause low sex drive as a side effect.
Let’s dive into the driving factors for low sex drive in men.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are two of the most common causes of low sex drive in men. When a man is under a lot of stress, he may not have the energy or the desire to have sex. This can be due to work, family, or financial problems.
Anxiety can also lead to a low sex drive. Men who are anxious may be worried about their performance or whether they will be able to get an erection. This can make it difficult to relax and enjoy sex.
In addition, anxiety can often cause feelings of general fatigue and low energy levels, which can make it difficult to be interested in sex. This directly affects their bodily functions. If their energy is low, they simply might not be able to get aroused.
Depression can cause a number of changes in the body that can lead to a decrease in sex drive. How so? Depression can cause a man to lose interest in activities that he once enjoyed, including sex.
Additionally, depression can also cause a man to feel fatigued and have low energy levels, which can make it difficult to muster up the motivation for sexual activity. In addition, depression can interfere with a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection.
Low Testosterone Levels
Low sex drive in men may be caused by low testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that plays a key role in libido. Low testosterone can lead to a decrease in libido, erectile dysfunction, and difficulty achieving orgasm.
What causes a man’s testosterone to decrease? Age is a big factor, with testosterone starting to decrease at the age of 30 and continuing to decline by about 1% every year after that.
Low testosterone levels can be caused by several factors, including age, injury, obesity, diabetes and certain medical conditions. It can also cause fatigue, depression, and irritability.
Testosterone replacement therapy can often help to improve libido in men with low testosterone levels. However, it is important to talk to a doctor before starting any type of hormone therapy.
Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or using drugs, can all lead to erectile dysfunction and a decrease in libido.
Obesity can also contribute to low testosterone levels, which can tank sexual desire. Overall, unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise will make anybody feel lethargic and uninterested in movement.
And, yeah, sex requires you to feel somewhat confident about yourself. If you don’t feel confident undressing in front of somebody else or engaging in that type of physical activity, it can make sex a daunting thing for anybody.
Medications are one of the most common causes of low sex drive in men. Certain drugs, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, can interfere with normal sexual function.
In addition, some medications, such as antidepressants, can reduce sexual desire.
If you think your medications may be affecting your sex drive, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.
Medical problems are often another major cause of low sex drive in men. Health conditions that can lead to a reduced sex drive include diabetes, heart disease, and neurological disorders.
In some cases, low sex drive is a side effect of another condition or medication. For example, men undergoing cancer treatment may experience a loss of interest in sex as a result of the stress and fatigue of their illness.
What Causes Low Sex Drive in Women
While people seem to think that women are just naturally not as sexually driven as men, that’s simply not true. In fact, low sex drive affects both women and men equally. So, yeah, women “want it” just as much as men.
This can make a dip in libido particularly concerning for women as well. What causes this decline in sexual interest is usually similar to what causes it in men as well.
It could be due to a medical issue, like low hormone levels or side effects from medication. It could be psychological, like stress or anxiety. The important thing is to figure out what the cause is so that it can be addressed.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are two of the most common causes of low sex drive in women. When you’re constantly worried about deadlines, bills, or other obligations, it’s tough to relax and enjoy intimate moments with your partner.
Additionally, stress can lead to vaginal dryness, which can make sex painful and unenjoyable. Anxiety can also interfere with sexual desire by causing you to worry about performance or whether you’re pleasing your partner.
Fatigue is another one of the most common causes of low sex drive in women. This is particularly an issue for women who are also mothers.
When you’re tired, you may not have the energy or motivation for sex. After all, after working all day and then coming home to take care of children and tend to household chores, it’s difficult to feel sexy or have the energy to even think about having sex.
Hormonal changes can play a role, as can stress, fatigue, relationship problems, and certain medical conditions.
Birth control pills, for example, can sometimes lead to decreased libido. Menopause is also a common cause of low sex drive in women.
Ultimately, as a woman ages, her body produces less and less of the hormones responsible for sexual desire, making it more difficult to get aroused. As hormone levels fluctuate during this transition, some women may find their desire for sex decreases.
According to research, low sex drive in women is often caused by lifestyle choices.
For example, drinking too much alcohol can lead to a decrease in sexual desire. Smoking cigarettes can also have a negative impact on libido.
In addition, being overweight or obese can cause low sex drive in women. This is because excess fat can lead to an increase in the production of hormones that can interfere with sexual desire.
Poor Body Image
When a woman is uncomfortable with her own body, she is less likely to want to be sexual with her partner. Poor body image can be caused by a number of factors, including weight gain, pregnancy, aging, or even just a change in attire.
If a woman feels self-conscious about her body, it can be difficult for her to relax and enjoy sex. In addition, poor body image can lead to anxiety and low self-esteem, both of which can inhibit sexual desire.
Relationship problems are often the root cause of low sex drive in women. Trust, communication, and intimacy are key components of a healthy sexual relationship.
When these elements are missing, it can be difficult to feel sexually aroused. Relationship issues can also lead to performance anxiety, which can further reduce sex drive.
Treatments & Solutions for Low Libido in Men and Women
There are many treatments and solutions available to help improve your sexual health and libido. Here are a few of those!
Hormone Replacement Therapy
As mentioned above, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment option for both men and women with low libido. HRT can be used to replace the hormones that are responsible for sexual desire.
In women, HRT can be used to replace the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
In men, HRT can be used to replace the hormone testosterone. HRT is generally safe and effective, but it can have some side effects.
These side effects can include weight gain, headaches, and changes in mood. HRT should only be used under the supervision of a medical professional. If you are interested in HRT, you should talk to your doctor about whether it is right for you.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
For some people, making lifestyle changes may improve their libido. These changes include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing stress
- Getting enough sleep
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Avoiding illegal drugs
- Taking medications as prescribed
In this case, the saying “look good, feel good” actually does apply. If your low sex drive is due to a lack of confidence or health issues, when you invest in your health, you can notice an increase in your sexual desires.
Couples or Individual Therapy
Therapy can help with low sexual desires in certain cases.
Particularly, couples therapy can help to alleviate some misunderstandings that can impact libido. Couples may explore how difficulty communicating about sex, different libidos, or different sexual interests may be impacting the relationship.
If one partner is dealing with a health issue that is impacting their libidos, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, cancer, or heart disease, therapy can provide support and problem-solving strategies.
In individual therapy, men and women may explore how these and other issues are impacting their desire for sex and develop coping mechanisms to address them.
Some couples find it helpful to consult with a sex therapist to learn about sexual techniques and communication skills.
This kind of therapy may require more than one session. Sex therapists typically have Master’s degrees in fields such as psychology, counseling, or social work.
Additionally, marriage and family therapists have received specialized training in human sexuality. They can provide you with education about sexual anatomy and arousal as well as information about different sexual activities.
Invest in Your Relationship
Low sex drive can be concerning, especially if you’re used to a regular sex drive and consistent intimacy with your partner. If you’re worried about a sudden decrease in your libido then it’s worth getting the help of a medical professional or trained therapist.
If you’ve found that your low sex drive is causing issues in your relationship then it’s worth being open and honest about your concerns with your partner.
Not sure if what you’re experiencing is healthy? Check out our guide on the Four Important Signs of a Healthy Relationship.