What is Low Sex Drive?
Sexual drive and frequency in adults varies tremendously, depending on a variety of factors. While people may sometimes have less sex than they would like due to a lack of time or opportunity, it is not unusual for both men and women to experience a low sex drive or low libido, which leads to less frequent sex. While low sex drive is thought to be more common in women, more and more men are also encountering this type of sexual dysfunction.
Diagnosing Low Sex Drive
Sometimes libido is low due to factors related to lifestyle. Very often you may feel fatigued after a long day at work, have financial pressures, personal stress - or a legitimate headache. In addition, unresolved personal issues within a relationship may also escalate into a state where a low libido and a low sex drive becomes the norm. Research has shown that most men who experience a low sex drive can achieve erections, but have lost the sexual desire. Similarly many women can reach an orgasm, but have no real sexual desire.
What Causes Low Sex Drive?
There are various physical and psychological factors that may contribute to a low sex drive.
Alcoholism and binge drinking are quite common and can cause low libido. The abuse of drugs such as cocaine can also cause sexual dysfunction and loss of libido. Other prescribed drugs such as tranquilizers or antidepressants also contribute to causing a low sex drive and sexual desire.
Medical conditions can also cause sexual desire to wane, including:
Depression is an extremely common psychological factor contributing to a low sex drive. Other factors include stress, sexual hang-ups, and sexual identity crisis, past sexual abuse and relationship problems.
Physical and psychological factors may also contribute to a low sex drive in women. As in men, depression is a very common cause of low sex drive in women.
Manic depression, more commonly referred to as bipolar disorder, may also contribute to decreased sex drive in both men and women. This condition causes an individual to experience stark contrasts in emotions, alternating between depression and elation (mania). Opinions are mixed whether the condition is caused solely by environmental factors or biological factors, with most agreeing that certain experiences may trigger or exacerbate the underlying biological condition. Sufferers of this mood disorder vary, with some cases being more severe than others.
Other factors include anxiety, stress, and poor self image, past sexual abuse or rape, sexual identity crisis or relationship issues with partner or husband.
Other issues such as lack of time, sexual incompatibility and lack of privacy can affect low sex drive in both sexes.
If underlying psychological or relationship problems exist, seek help from a counselor or therapist to help you resolve these deep-seated issues. By addressing the problem, appropriate action may be taken to help you improve your sexual health.
Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, thrush, urinary tract infections, anemia and hyperprolactinemia may also decrease sex drive.
Gynecological problems such as vaginismus (involuntary clamping of vaginal muscles) and dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) may result in lack of interest or fear of sex.
Alcoholism, drug abuse as well as many prescribed drugs can cause low sex drive. While some medications are notoriously known for lessening libido such as anti-depressants and birth control pills, ulcer medications and blood thinners have been reported to lessen desire, cause impotence, or create difficulty having an orgasm as well.
Consult a doctor or gynecologist if you suspect that your low sex drive stems from a physical condition. Your doctor may also prescribe stimulants such as Viagra or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to enhance sexual sensation and pleasure (although these medications may have other side effects).
Low Sex Drive During and After Pregnancy
A decreased sex drive during pregnancy is very common, and may be a combination of physical and psychological factors. Especially during the first trimester, many women will experience morning sickness and fatigue, which can dampen "getting in the mood".
During later stages of pregnancy, psychological issues may come into play, with body image concerns surfacing from weight gain and new curves, leading to sexual hesitation. In addition, it’s not uncommon to worry about the safety of the baby, which can impact libido. Talk to your partner and your doctor to help alleviate these worries.
Following the childbirth, postpartum depression often causes loss of libido and, in varying degrees of severity. Generally, most women are so preoccupied with their newborn that they are too tired to have sex.
Breastfeeding may also release hormones that suppress the sex drive, while many women find that their libido decreases during menopause.
Help for Low Sex Drive
Natural and holistic treatments are also highly effective to increase sexual drive and can serve as natural aphrodisiacsto promote sexual arousal and bring passion back into your life. Herbs have been used as sexual stimulants for centuries and are not only gentle but can help benefit the entire body.
An excellent herb for both men and women is Smilax ornata (Sarsaparilla) and it doubles as a tonic for the reproductive organs. Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian Ginseng) is an overall system toner and improves performance and stamina.
In addition, Sabal serrulata is a strengthening remedy which has a stimulatory effect on sexual functioning, as well as male and female health. Tribulus terristis has powerful aphrodisiac properties that promote muscle strength and general prowess in the male body. There are even a number of natural ingredients to promote sexual desire and aid fertility!
Tips to Increase Low Sex Drive
- Eat a balance diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Regular exercise at least 30 minutes everyday to increase sexual drive and stamina
- Reconnect with your partner by touching – holding each other, massage or kissing
- Learn to relax and de-stress by meditating, listening to music or practicing yoga
- Communicate openly and honestly with each other about the sexual dysfunction
- Be supportive of each other and seek professional help
- Decrease your alcohol intake because it affects sexual desire and function
- Stop smoking naturally as it has a negative effect on male fertility
- Avoid illegal drugs as they destroy your health, including sexual desire in the long term
- Take appropriate steps to manage stress levels