Why Is My Sex Drive Low?
Uwe Porters – Mid-wife/Pregnancy & Postpartum Expert
Let's talk about something that's often whispered about in hushed tones but deserves to be discussed openly and honestly: your sex drive. We all know that feeling when our desire for intimacy seems to have taken an extended vacation, leaving us feeling a little lost and wondering what's going on. Whether it's due to stress, relationship challenges, or simply the ebb and flow of life, experiencing a dip in your sex drive is more common than you might think.
The truth is, low sex drive affects both men and women, and it's nothing to be alarmed about in most cases. It's important to remember that each person's journey with their libido is unique, and it's perfectly normal to have times where our desires come and go.
However, if a lack of interest in sex is causing you distress, it's important to explore the possible reasons behind it and discover the support available to help reignite that flame.
In this post, we'll dive into the potential causes of a low sex drive and shed light on the things that can assist you in reclaiming your sensual self. So, grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and let's get into this topic with empathy, understanding, and a sprinkle of hope. Because when it comes to our bodies and our desires, it's all about empowering ourselves and embracing our unique experiences.
What Is Sex Drive?
So what exactly is your ses drive, anyway? Your sex drive, also known as your libido, is essentially your appetite for sex. Just like we crave our favorite snacks or meals when hunger strikes, our bodies have a natural inclination for sexual intimacy. Now, here's where things get interesting: some experts in the field of sexual health like to categorise sexual desire into two types: spontaneous and responsive. Spontaneous desire is when the urge for sex pops up out of nowhere, like a sudden craving for chocolate at midnight. A lot of experts in the field state that this is non-existing and very different for men and women to say the least.
On the other hand, responsive desire is more like when you start feeling desire after being sexually stimulated, such as during foreplay or engaging in intimate activities with your partner. It's important to remember that everyone's experience with desire is unique, and understanding these different types can help us navigate our own desires with a little more clarity.
We often associate this kind of desire with those hormone-fueled teenage years or our wild and carefree 20s. You know, that moment when you feel an intense craving for intimacy that seemingly comes out of the blue? But here's the thing: not everyone experiences spontaneous desire throughout their lives. For some amazing women out there, that spontaneous fire starts to fade after their teenage and 20s adventures. And guess what? Some women never really feel that spontaneous desire at all. Their desires lean more towards the responsive side. They're all about experiencing desire in response to sexual stimulation. So, if you're wondering where your spontaneous cravings went or if you never really had them to begin with, fear not! You're not alone, and there's a whole world of responsive desire waiting to be explored.
Now let's talk about the fascinating world of responsive desire. As the name suggests, this type of desire comes to life in response to external stimuli. Imagine getting all hot and bothered while watching a steamy movie or feeling that electrifying touch from someone you're deeply attracted to. That's where responsive desire shows its enchanting presence.
Here's an interesting revelation: some women who believe they have low sexual desire might simply have shifted from spontaneous desire to this more responsive kind. And you know what? That's absolutely okay! Realizing this can be a game-changer, as it helps many women understand that they're not broken or lacking in any way. If you fall into the realm of responsive desire, you have the power to seek out the things that make your body respond! So, embrace the wonders of your responsive desire and embark on a journey of exploring what truly ignites your passion.
Symptoms Of Low Sex Drive
When it comes to low sex drive, there can be a variety of causes. Low sex drive is a personal experience, and there's no magical symptom that defines it. However, if you find yourself lacking any interest in sexual activities, including solo sessions of self-love, or if those steamy fantasies and thoughts are few and far between, it's completely valid to be concerned. Your feelings matter, and acknowledging your desire for more satisfaction is the first step towards addressing the issue. So, take a deep breath, and let's explore the possibilities together. Remember, knowledge is power, and we're here to empower you every step of the way.
What Drives Sex Drive?
Let’s explore the mysterious forces that drive our sex drive. Brace yourself, because the list of factors that can either boost it or wipe it out is almost endless.
Let's start by diving into the exhilarating phase known as limerance, where desire for each other reaches its peak in the early stages of a relationship. You know that time when you can't keep your hands off each other? Well, here's the secret: it's perfectly natural for that passionate frenzy to last only around 6 months to 2 years. So, what happens when the limerance phase fades? Enter: responsive sex drive. Instead of waiting around for spontaneous desire to strike, you can rely on the power of responsiveness to awaken your desires.
Here's a little nugget of wisdom backed by research: reading about sex works wonders. In a study involving around 50 married women aged 30 to 55 who reported a diminished sex drive, half of them had the opportunity to read a sexual self-help book for women, while the other half indulged in an erotica book written specifically for women. And guess what? Across both groups, women who completed the study reported increased sexual satisfaction, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and overall sexual function, with a decrease in sexual pain. It turns out that the subject matter of these books, especially the erotic ones, has a magical effect of turning readers on and triggering their responsive desire.
Simply educating yourself about the nuances of spontaneous versus responsive desire, the limerent phase of relationships, and women's sexual pleasure can be a game-changer. It can open your eyes to the fact that you might not have a sexual problem at all.
Possible Reasons For Low Sex Drive
Now, let's address the elephant in the room. While a steamy book or an adult film might do wonders for some, we understand that it might not be the magic solution for everyone.
Did you know that 1 in 10 women experience a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). This condition involves an ongoing and bothersome lack of interest or desire for sex without any apparent reason. Remember, it's only considered a problem if it genuinely bothers you. However, before jumping to conclusions and attributing your concerns to HSDD, it's important for doctors to rule out some of the other common reasons for the loss of sexual desire. They'll want to explore all possible avenues to ensure they uncover the underlying factors and provide you with the support you need.
Understanding the reasons behind your low sex drive is the first step toward finding the right solutions and reclaiming your sexual vitality.
First up, let's talk about sexual problems. If you experience pain during sex or struggle to reach orgasm, it's only natural for your desire to take a hit. Your body deserves pleasure without discomfort or limitations.
Various medical conditions beyond the realm of sexuality can also affect your sex drive. Conditions like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and neurological diseases can all play a role in dampening your desire. Our bodies are interconnected, and when one part is affected, it can have a ripple effect on other aspects of our well-being, including our sexual vitality.
Oh, and let's not forget about medications. Some prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are known culprits when it comes to lowering the sex drive. It's a tough balancing act between managing your overall health and the potential impact on your desire for intimacy. And, did you know that the birth control pill can also impact your libido? To read more about the side effects of the pill, check out our blog post here.
And if you are on the birth control pill and you’ve noticed that your sex drive is in the gutter, read our post called Support Your Sex Drive: Tips for Women on the Pill.
Surgery can also have a significant impact on your body image, sexual function, and desire for sex. Procedures related to your breasts or genital tract can stir up a whirlwind of emotions and physical changes that may affect your self-esteem and overall sexual well-being.
And last but not least, fatigue and stress can be sneaky contributors to a low sex drive. Exhaustion from caring for young children or aging parents can leave you feeling drained and devoid of energy for intimacy. Similarly, fatigue stemming from illness or surgery can take its toll on your desire for sex.
Remember, your body goes through various changes and challenges throughout life, and it's completely normal for these factors to affect your sex drive. The important thing is to recognize and acknowledge the impact these physical changes may have, and to seek the support and guidance you need to navigate through them. Your sexual well-being matters, and together, we can find ways to enhance it despite these physical hurdles.
Hormones can work wonders or throw a curveball into our sex drive. Let's start with the infamous transition to menopause. As estrogen levels drop during this phase, it's not uncommon for your interest in sex to take a temporary dip. Alongside this, you may experience dryness in vaginal tissues, which can make sex painful or uncomfortable. But don’t worry because many women continue to have satisfying sex during menopause and beyond and it's completely valid if you notice a lagging libido during this hormonal shift.
Want to know more about menopause and perimenopause - the stage where your body is preparing for menopause? We’ll tell you what it is, what to expect and some things you can do in our post: Let’s Talk About Perimenopause.
Now, let's talk about the joys of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Hormone changes during these phases can certainly put a damper on your sex drive. The fatigue that comes with growing a tiny human, the ever-changing body image, and the pressures of pregnancy or caring for a newborn can all contribute to shifts in your sexual desire. It's like a perfect storm of hormonal fluctuations and life adjustments that can make intimacy take a backseat for a while.
Remember that your cycle can also affect your sex drive. It’s linked to hormones too, after all. That’s why you might feel your sex drive ramp up during certain points in the month. To learn more about how your cycle impacts your sex drive, read up about it in our blog post here.
Let's talk about the fascinating connection between your mind and your sex drive. Your psychological well-being can have a significant impact on your desire for intimacy. Factors such as mental health problems (think anxiety or depression), stress (both financial and work-related), poor body image, low self-esteem, and a history of physical or sexual abuse can all contribute to a decrease in your sexual desire. Understanding these psychological influences is essential to address and nurture your sexual well-being. Remember, you're not alone, and there is support available to help you navigate these challenges and rediscover your sexual vitality.
Let's talk about the connection between your relationships and your libido. For many women, emotional closeness serves as the foundation for sexual intimacy. That's why relationship issues can cast a shadow on your sex drive. When there's a lack of connection with your partner, unresolved conflicts or fights simmering in the background, poor communication about your sexual needs and preferences, or trust issues lurking in the shadows, it's no wonder that your interest in sex might take a dip.
Your desire for intimacy is intertwined with the health of your relationship, and addressing these underlying issues can pave the way for a more fulfilling and satisfying sexual connection. Remember, open and honest communication, seeking professional guidance if needed, and fostering emotional closeness can work wonders in reigniting the flame of desire within your relationship.
For more on how to naturally boost your sex drive, check out our blog post here.
How Can I Get Back in the Mood?
How can you reignite that spark and get back in the mood? It might be easier than you think.
Desire for sex is a complex interplay of various factors, from your physical and emotional well-being to your experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and the state of your current relationship. So, if any of these areas are throwing a wrench in the works, it's no wonder your desire for intimacy may take a backseat.
Before rushing to your doctor in search of a diagnosable medical problem, take a moment to embark on a journey of self-education. Understanding more about your own body and desires can work wonders. And don't underestimate the power of a steamy book or a tantalizing movie to put you in the mood. Exploring different sources of arousal can help awaken your senses and reignite that fire within.
It’s important to think about your stress levels too. Stress is a sneaky little libido thief that can destroy your desire for intimacy. Consider adopting better stress management techniques to improve the situation. Whether it's meditation, exercise, or seeking support from a therapist, finding healthy ways to alleviate stress can work wonders for your sexual well-being.
Here’s a thought to consider: sometimes, what you think is a sex problem might just be a misconception. Embracing the uniqueness of your own sex drive and understanding that everyone's libido is different can be liberating. There's no such thing as a "normal" libido.
However, if your lack of sex drive is causing distress in your relationship or causing you to worry, seeking professional help can be a game-changer. Remember, you don't have to face this journey alone. We're here for you, offering discrete, expert support and guidance. Your journey is unique, and we're here to support you every step of the way.
Head over to our Support page to find out how you can get in touch with our experts. We can help you find ways to liven up your libido, whether it’s directing you to resources, recommending some natural, top-notch supplements to support your cycle and your sex drive, or just helping you feel heard and understood. We’ve got your back.