Many people experience a decrease in their libido at some point in their lifetime. To increase your desire for sex again, you first have to determine why your drive decreased in the first place.
Here are 5 potential causes for your low libido, and how to fix it:
Your sex drive naturally changes as you age. Here’s what usually happens as we get older:
Men typically have both high levels of testosterone and a high sex drive. However, some men also deal with anxiety around sex due to inexperience or assumed expectations. Roughly 8% of men in their 20s report having erectile dysfunction, which can be due to a medical or mental health issue.
Women are usually most fertile in their teens to late 20s, which sometimes make them more choosy about if and when to have sex.
Pregnancy and childbirth also alters libido, but this is different for everyone. Some women have a stronger sexual desire during certain phases of their pregnancy, but not all.
Raising children can also have significant impact on libido for both men and women. Additional commitments to familial relationships and work can lead to increased stress and can reduce sexual desire.
Thirties and Forties
Men maintain a high libido throughout their thirties, but their testosterone begins to decrease around age 35 and continues to decline at a rate of roughly 1% per year.
Women’s libido increases in their thirties. Studies show that women between ages 27 and 45 have more frequent and more intense sexual fantasies than women of older or younger ages. This is often thought of as women’s sexual prime.
Fifties, Sixties, and Your Golden Years
Men often continue to enjoy sex as they get older as long as they remain is good mental and physical health. However, erectile dysfunction becomes more common with age. This is often associated with other health problems, such as obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and certain medications used to treat these issues.
When women enter menopause, their hormone levels alter, which usually lowers their libido. They may also experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness, anxiety, and weight gain – all of which can have an adverse effect on their sex drive.
For both men and women, there are medications to treat many of the issues that impact libido.
Low Libido in Relationships
Having a low libido while in a relationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re in a relationship for a long time, you may find yourself becoming less aroused because of the familiarity you’re experiencing with your partner. This can be fixed by exploring new sexual fantasies or finding other ways to “spice up” your love life.
If you and your partner(s) are experiencing emotional or sexual issues or if you’re unhappy for other reasons, you may experience a loss of libido. Every relationship is different, but talking about it often helps. If nothing else, you’re opening up the lines of communication that are often necessary when resolving a relationship problem.
Stress alters your body chemistry and can activate your fight-or-flight response, which prepares your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety. Some symptoms that you may experience include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Heavier breathing
- Diminished sexual function
The fight-or-flight response also triggers the release of hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol, which in high levels can lower your libido. To put another way, if you find yourself getting really nervous about performing, you can psychologically stress yourself to the point where you make it difficult to perform.
Stress can also lead to anxiety or depression – both of which will lower your libido. Luckily, there are several ways to manage your stress. Some of these include:
- Breathing exercises
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
If your hormone levels are off, they can impact your sexual desire.
For women, the main culprits are progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Progesterone naturally decreases production around the time women enter menopause. When this happens, estrogen becomes more prevalent and often causes low libido in women. While testosterone is more prevalent in men, it also serves to heighten sexual response and orgasms in women. If women are experiencing low testosterone levels, their sex drive also decreases.
Testosterone is most often the hormone that impact sexual arousal in men. Like women, if men are experiencing low testosterone levels, they are likely also experiencing a low libido.
Poor nutrition and/or exercise can throw off your hormones and be a cause of low libido in both men and women, so making improvements to both can help.
Another way to bring your hormones back into homeostasis is through bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Hormones have a unique shape that fits into receptor cells – much like a key fits into a lock. Bio-identical hormones are biologically, structurally, and chemically identical to the body’s normal hormones. Since their molecular shape is identical to the hormones made by the human body, they’re able to “fit” perfectly into receptor cells. With your body back in balance, you may experience an increase in your libido.
If you are experiencing a low libido, a new medication could be the culprit. Certain drugs create physical symptoms that make it difficult to have or enjoy sex, which indirectly impacts your libido. Medications that can affect your sex drive include (but are not limited to):
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Cancer treatments
- Hormonal contraceptives
There’s usually an alternative medication to treat whatever your condition may be. Talk to your doctor about switching to a different description. Do not just stop taking your medication altogether.
There are plenty of options out there for people who want to improve their low libido levels. If you’d like to learn more about men’s sexual health in Boston, send a message. We’re always happy to help.