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November 13, 2020 • read
Six reasons for low sex drive, and how to fix them
Sex drive can be an indicator of your general health. It’s normal to occasionally feel unmotivated when it comes to sex. However, if your libido is consistently lower than you’d like it to be, it’s worth investigating the cause. There are mental and physical reasons for fluctuations in sex drive, so low libido can be a sign that something is awry with your health.
Libido and mental health
Your mental health has an impact on your physical body. If your sex drive isn’t feeling particularly revved, it may be because of mental stressors.
Living with depression is more than just feeling sad. It’s a prolonged period of low mood. Feeling chronically down can affect your personal relationships. Understandably, it’s harder to connect with other people when you’re feeling withdrawn, tired, and worried. Intimacy is all about interpersonal connection, so depression can decrease your motivation for sex.
It’s common for people with depression to stop enjoying things that used to make them happy, including sex. Yet, 49% of people with depression don’t go to see their doctor. Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling deeply sad, close to tears or hopeless every day for two weeks or more.
- Slower body movements, speech, and thinking.
- Changes in your sleep patterns, either sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia.
- Unexplained physical aches and pains.
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
If you notice your sex drive is low and you have other symptoms of depression, your doctor can help. They can give a thorough assessment to figure out the root physical and mental causes of low libido. They may also order blood work.
With anxiety, your worries are stuck in overdrive. It’s natural to be stressed when you’ve moved cities, are giving a speech, or have a close call while driving. But when you have ongoing anxiety, it can be hard to stay in the moment and enjoy yourself during sex.
Your body is in a state of stress when you’re anxious, triggering the release of adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause your blood vessels to dilate. When it comes to sex, this especially affects men. The restricted blood flow can make it difficult to maintain an erection.
Lots of people who have had trouble becoming aroused with a partner feel discouraged. This can turn sex into one of many triggers for anxious feelings. Embarrassment leads to a repeated cycle of unwanted outcomes, where nerves cause your body to tense up, which stops you from getting turned on. To break the cycle, try breathing techniques to calm anxiety. They can help you get out of your head and into a state of relaxation — both inside and outside the bedroom.
Hormones, age, and your sex drive
Hormones play an essential role in your sexual health, from your teenage years to late in life. As you get older it’s natural for your sex drive to fluctuate, and even decrease. Hormone levels do the same thing, and their fluctuation affects your libido.
Estrogen and testosterone are the main hormones that impact your ability to become aroused. In women, estrogen is responsible for sexual desire as well as the physical effects that follow, like vaginal lubrication. When estrogen levels are low, sex drive can decrease. Low estrogen can also lead to painful sex because your body isn’t producing lubricant. Naturally, both of these things can make sex less appealing.
In men, testosterone plays an important role in sex drive and the ability to maintain erections. If you’re feeling unmotivated when it comes to sex or you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, it could be a sign your testosterone levels are too low.
Even if your hormones are shifting, it’s absolutely natural to want to enjoy sex in your older years. There are lots of ways to rebalance your hormones, from hormone therapy to lifestyle changes in areas like diet or exercise.
Libido and lifestyle choices
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional treat. A glass of wine with friends or a sweet dessert once in a while won’t impact your long-term health. However, some habitual lifestyle choices do have lasting effects on the body, and lower libido is one of them. If your sex drive is sluggish, these habits might be the culprit.
Over time, the nicotine in cigarettes causes your blood vessels to constrict and become less elastic. This makes it harder for blood to circulate around your body. For both men and women, blood flow to sexual organs is an essential part of arousal. Especially for men, poor circulation lowers libido by causing erectile dysfunction.
Excessive drinking can cause long-term erectile dysfunction in men. Drinking alcohol causes nerve damage that results in decreased sensitivity. In women, dehydration from excessive drinking can make it difficult to produce vaginal lubricant.
Lack of exercise
There are a host of ways exercise benefits physical wellness, including libido. Exercise improves your general mood through releasing endorphins, leaving you feeling happier and more playful. Exercise also helps maintain hormonal balance. Plus, staying in shape boosts confidence in your physical appearance.
Trouble with sex can be a frustrating experience. No matter what is preventing you from having the sex life you want, there are lots of ways to boost your sex drive. However, getting to the root of the issue will help you better understand your overall health.
If you’re having challenges with your libido, speak to one of our doctors. You can see a physician in under two minutes from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.