How to deal with a loss of libido
Sex drive taken a dive?
We all know our libido can ebb and flow from time to time. Sometimes sex is all you can think about, other times it might be the last thing on your mind.
A loss of libido is a common problem that affects many people at some point in their lives for lots of different reasons, from stress and anxiety to hormone patterns.
The important thing to remember is that everyone is different and there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ sex drive. But if you’re worried and looking to get things back on track, read on for some helpful info.
Causes of low libido
If you’re looking to boost your libido, the first thing to identify is why you might not be in the mood right now. And there are LOTS of reasons why your sexual motivation could be running low. Once you’ve established the cause, you’ll then be able to find ways to overcome it.
Some medications have side effects that impact your sex drive. SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, are notorious for reducing a person’s libido, along with some medicines for high blood pressure, seizures, cancer treatments and antipsychotics.
If you think that your medication could be a cause, speak to your doctor who may be able to switch you to a different medication.
Hormonal contraceptives such as the pill, implant or injection can (rather ironically) affect your sex drive due to the way they impact your hormone levels. If you feel your sex drive took a dive as a result of a new hormonal contraceptive, have a chat to your GP about changing to a different method of contraception.
A loss of sexual desire during menopause is very common due to changing estrogen and testosterone levels in the body. To help counteract this, speak to your doctor about HRT (hormone replacement therapy) that will replace the lost sex hormones.
If you’re struggling with ejaculation problems, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness or experience pain during sex, this can all have a psychological effect leading to a reduced sex drive.
Underlying health problems
Long-term medical conditions can affect your interest in sex, often due to the physical and emotional strain these conditions cause, but also the side effects of the treatment. Heart disease, diabetes, underactive thyroid, cancer and arthritis can all directly impact your sexual desire.
If you think any of the above medical conditions might be the cause of your lower libido, seek advice from a professional for some help. They may be able to switch your medications, treatments or seek counseling for you if needed.
Other common causes include;
Anxiety and stress can be all-consuming on the body as well as your mental health, having a major impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Some people experience headaches and muscle tension, others experience a decreased interest in sex.
Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding
A loss of interest in sex is very common during and after pregnancy. This can be down to changes in your hormone levels, changes to your body and lost confidence in your body image, pain during sex caused by tearing during childbirth, tiredness and a change in your priorities such as focussing on looking after your new baby.
Alcohol and drug use
We all know that a nice glass of wine can help you relax and get you in the mood before sex, but going too far the other way can have a detrimental effect. Excessive drinking on a regular basis and drug misuse are both linked to a loss of sex drive.
One of the key things to consider is your relationship itself. Being in a long-term relationship and becoming overfamiliar with your partner can result in a reduced sexual attraction or mean you forget to prioritise sex.
The effect of a loss of libido on a relationship
When one or both partners experience a reduced sexual interest, it can have a massive impact on your relationship. Very often, the other partner can think there’s something wrong with them, leading them to doubt their own attractiveness and confidence resulting in low self esteem themselves. But as listed above, there are plenty of reasons that someone can be experiencing a reduced libido that aren’t related to their partner or relationship at all.
For many people, sex is a vital part of a relationship. But by placing so much pressure on sex could make things worse. Communication is key. Before any negative tension or resentment builds up, it’s important to talk with your partner and let them know how you’re feeling.
How to boost your libido
Sleep on it
Burning the candle at both ends can be a real passion killer. Tiredness and a lack of sleep is a common cause for low sexual desire, especially when this is exacerbated with stress. We know it sounds a bit counterproductive, but if you want to be up all night (so to speak!), try and take the time to relax, calm your mind and body, and get some sleep.
Nothing makes you feel less sexy than being stressed out, and stress is one of the major causes of low libido. Making some lifestyle changes to reduce your stress and anxiety can help so perhaps try yoga, meditation, get a massage, or a workout. Jump in the bath and light some candles, better yet, invite your partner to join you!
Go it alone
Yeah, we know the idea is that you want to increase your desire to have sex with someone else. But start by having more sex with yourself to reawaken your sexual desire. Getting yourself in the mood, knowing what turns you on, what feels good, what makes you orgasm will help you when you’re with your partner. The more sexual activity you have, the more you’ll then want to have.
Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. Remember those first heady delights of a relationship when all you do is kiss and explore each other? Felt good, right? Relive those moments with lots of deep, intimate kissing which can have a direct impact on your arousal. Then when you’re ready, you can start moving things up a gear.
Make a date
If you’re in a long-term relationship, it's often easy to forget to find the time to keep the romance alive. Scheduling sex doesn’t exactly feel all that sexy, but planning date nights and time to focus on each other are really important.
Take the pressure off
Sex is more than just penetration or orgasms. Some of the best sex is just loads of foreplay, taking the time to explore each other's bodies. If you or your partner is experiencing sexual dysfunction or pain during sex, focussing on the end goal can be overwhelming. Instead, take that pressure off and out of the equation and focus on kissing, massaging each other, oral sex, and new ways to pleasure each other instead.
Dress for the occasion
Making yourself feel sexy is a key factor for increasing your sexual desire and getting in the mood so try slipping into some sexy lingerie. Not only is it visually stimulating for your partner, but dressing up in a racy outfit can be really liberating and arousing.
Try some toys
Sex should be about play, it should be fun and exciting. And there’s no better way to play than with a few toys. Start off small with a bullet or finger vibrator that you can trace over your partner’s erogenous zones. Tantalise and tease their nipples, perineum, and inner thighs, before directly stimulating their genitals.
Don't forget the lube
Women often experience a lack of interest in sex due to pain from vaginal dryness or vaginismus (tightening of the vagina). Adding some lube to your play makes everything so much more pleasurable and relaxed. You could even try a stimulating lube such as ID Pleasure which helps stimulate blood flow to the clitoris and vagina, increasing the body's natural lubrication and arousal.
Low sex drive is a common problem for people of all ages and genders. But it doesn’t have to be a curse or something you put up with. If you're concerned that an underlying health condition could be the cause, always seek advice from a medical professional. Talk to your partner and you’ll soon find ways to have a healthy, satisfying sex life that works for both of you.