Do you or does your partner have a low libido?
While many people are embarrassed to admit it, a loss of libido (sex drive) is actually more common than you might imagine.
Research suggests that one in five men – and even more women – will experience a dip in their sex drive at some stage in their life.
Causes of a drop in libido in women
There are many reasons why women experience a problem with a low libido. Some of the most common include:
- Professional and personal stress
- Life changing events
- Pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
- Menopause when levels of the female hormone oestrogen fall
Causes of a drop in libido in men
Men too can experience some issues that lead to a drop off in libido. These can include:
- Professional and personal stress
- Life changing events
- Older men sometimes develop lower testosterone levels – causing fatigue, depression and a reduced sex drive.
Unexpected loss of libido
If you experience a sudden loss of libido it may be worth having a chat with a medical professional. This is particularly important if the loss lasts a long time or it is a recurring problem. In the meantime, there are some factors you can consider that may be at the heart of the problem.
Are you having relationship issues?
Are you happy in your relationship? If you do have concerns about your relationship with your partner, these doubts and worries can be the real reason for your loss of libido. Has there been infidelity in the relationship? If there is a lack of connection with your partner or a series of unresolved conflicts or fights, this can lead to a dampening of feelings. Similarly, you may need to work on better communication of sexual needs and preferences.
In many cases it can simply be that you have been in your relationship for a long time and you have become overfamiliar with your partner. This can lead to a certain amount of erotic dissatisfaction because you know what your partner will do and say and the excitement has been lost. This is very common.
Are there performance issues?
A low libido may also be the result of anxiety about performance. Is sex difficult? Can it be unfulfilling either for yourself or your partner? Are there ejaculation problems or erectile dysfunction? Or is the woman finding sex painful?
Another frequent cause of a lower libido is simply that you are getting older. We are biologically driven while we are at our peak, to procreate and this means we have a high sex drive. However, once the years of useful productivity start to pass us by, our libido slows down. Physiologically, men and women will see falling levels of sex hormones, while age-related health problems, or the side effects of medication can also take their toll.
Tiredness, stress, anxiety and depression
If one or both partners are suffering severe fatigue or has mental health issues that mean they are tired, they may well find it difficult to focus on their sex life. The answer to this issue is to make lifestyle changes so that you feel less stressed, and you have the time and energy to devote to your relationship. Depression is particularly serious as the feelings can last a long time, and some of the treatments involved can dampen libido.
There are many psychological causes of low sex drive, including mental health problems, but also poor body image and low self-esteem. It may be that a partner has suffered sexual abuse at some stage or has a previous negative sexual experience.
Drugs and alcohol
If you are overdoing certain substances, or drinking too much, then you need to be aware that these can have an effect on your libido.
While most women do not have a problem with contraception, some women have reported that their libido is affected when they use hormonal contraception such as a contraceptive patch, a progestogen-only pill, have a contraceptive implant or an injection. There are generally improvements after a few months of using these contraceptives.
Other medical conditions
Certain long-term (chronic) medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity can also have a negative effect on your libido as can a number of medications. If you are unsure, you should speak to a medical professional.
Is it something to worry about?
If you’re worried about a low libido the thing to consider is what is normal for you? If you’re not unhappy with the way things are going, then the chances are it’s all OK. Sometimes, you may be distressed because your partner wants sex more than you do, and this can be a problem. In many cases while the sex drive is weaker in a relationship than it once was, actually the relationship can be stronger than ever.
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