Don’t feel like sex? Here are 10 possible reasons for low libido—plus 8 ways you and your partner can reverse it.
Fatigue, stress, children, routine, and even some diseases—all of these factors can cause low libido and become enemies of your sex drive. If you and your partner have hit a wall, there are ways to get back the energy… and the desire. Act now! The “eternal honeymoon,” after all, is just a myth, and it would be silly to expect to live a soap-opera romance or a torrid movie-screen passion forever.
Just remember that it’s normal for couples to have highs and lows in their sexual relationships, so your situation is not the exception. Yet it’s not normal—and it’s far less healthy—to go into “neutral” mode, without the desire or energy for making love.
- Are you under stress, anxiety, and/or anguish? Work pressures, unemployment, your income level, debts, uncertainty about the future, a relative’s health, or your own health—among countless other “life” realities—can cause a higher level of stress, one that does not encourage the proper mood for a sexual encounter.
- How is the rest of the relationship going? Unresolved conflicts, resentment, quarrels and arguments about the children, the in-laws, money and how it is spent… everything builds up like a wall between the two of you, making effective communication difficult and decreasing intimacy. The result: less sex and less satisfaction with the sexual part of the relationship.
- Is there alcohol abuse or drug abuse involved? A drink can help us lose our inhibitions and feel sexy. But if it is used in excess, alcohol and so-called “recreational” drugs can cause the opposite effect: They can affect erections in men (see our post “Erectile Dysfunction Causes and Cures“) and healthy sexual response in both men and women.
- Are you sleeping well? Anything in your job or family environment that affects the quality of your sleep (the same things that cause stress) or any physical problem (such as sleep apnea) can make you feel exhausted and sap your energy—the same energy you need to maintain your sexual relationship. Remember that “feeling tired” and sex are not compatible.
- Have there been recent changes in your family? Has a relative moved in with you? Have your children come back home, making you lose the privacy you’d grown used to? Or, maybe, a baby has arrived and sleeps in the same bed with you. Give yourself space and don’t let the children or other relatives steal the intimacy and privacy that are necessary ingredients in satisfying sex.
- Do you take any medications? Many medications can affect the libido. Among them are some antidepressants, antihistamines, and medicines to control high blood pressure. Also, some chemotherapy and AIDS treatments have an impact on the libido.
- Is erectile dysfunction at play? Concerns about making a good impression during sex and fears about his ability to please you can stress him out, make him anxious, and trigger a decrease in his libido. (For more on erectile dysfunction, click here.)
- Is menopause underway? An imbalance in your hormone levels during the menopause stage of life can mean less interest in and energy for making love.
- Do you or your partner have self-esteem issues? Being overweight or obese and falling into a routine that lacks personal hygiene can contribute to a very poor self-image, which, in turn, can cause coldness in bed.
- Is depression involved? When we’re depressed, we have no desire for anything, even for sex. Depression can be either a chronic (long-term) or temporary condition caused by a permanent chemical imbalance or by a temporary event.
Where to Turn for Help with Low Libido
Have you spotted, within the list of 10 causes of low libido listed above, factors that may be affecting your (or your partner’s) sex drive? The first step in finding a solution is identifying the problem. The second step is trying to solve it. Here are a few things you can try:
- Seek help for clinical (health) conditions that you cannot solve on your own. If the problem is your man’s erectile dysfunction, make an appointment for him to see your primary care physician or a urologist so he can start treatment as soon as possible. There is nothing to feel embarrassed about. Or, is menopause affecting you? Your gynecologist can become your ally in solving certain physical issues that can affect your relationship. If your problem is related to depression or anxiety, then a psychiatrist or psychologist are the most appropriate professionals to turn to for help.
- Seek counseling. If conflicts are affecting your relationship, it’s important that you both attend family or couples counseling to start solving them. When conflicts get resolved, your libido will get better.
- Consider natural or alternative help. If you’re under medical treatment, your primary care doctor or specialist may be able to help you find a substitute for a medicine that’s decreasing your libido as a side effect. Talk about the problem with your doctor, but don’t stop taking your medicine without asking him or her first.
8 Tips for Turning Low Libido Around
With low libdio, treatment may not be necessary. But being patient and stimulating creativity within your relationships is. So read these tips and see if they work.
- Talk with your partner. Open up the lines of communication and suggest small, achievable goals for both of you: devoting more time to each other or going on a trip together (even for just a weekend), for example. This will give you the first little push to start making the changes that will increase intimacy.
- Show the love and affection you feel for each other. If you feel loved and valued, you will perform better at sex. Attention and details during the day will be the best foreplay for romance.
- Remember romance. Go on a date together. Try to show the same attraction as when you first started dating. Listen to your partner and be genuinely interested in what he or she does every day.
- Use “shock therapy.” Sometimes, a spontaneous trip, a new hairstyle, or a new place to make love can make a difference. The key is to break away from routine to get the passion back.
- Try to talk about sex more often. Tell each other what fulfills you and what is not satisfying, and try to please each other. Explore new strokes and positions and devote more time to foreplay.
- Use lubricants to fight vaginal dryness. Or maybe a massage would help you relax before making love.
- Pay attention to your diet. Make the necessary changes so you both lose any excess weight. If you also include some kind of physical activity, you’ll have more energy for sex.
- Finally, remember that sex doesn’t happen in a void. Plan the encounter with your partner; take time off from your daily responsibilities and dedicate it to each other. Don’t leave it for when you both just happen to be available, or the flame will start to flicker and die out.
Once again, I want to urge you to seek professional help if your loss of sexual interest is due to a medical condition or if you think it might be. The sooner you seek help, the better. A stimulating sexual relationship plays a very important part in a fulfilling life. It’s worth fighting for!