You may be the kind of person who does many things well when under stress. But feeling sexy isn’t likely to be one of them. Job stress, money troubles, caring for a sick family member, and other stressors can decrease libido. To keep your stress levels in check, learn helpful stress management techniques or seek the advice of a counselor or doctor.
Unresolved relationship problems are one of the most common killers of sex drive. For women in particular, emotional closeness is a major ingredient in sexual desire. Simmering arguments, poor communication, betrayal of trust, and other barriers to intimacy can steer your sex drive off the road.
A drink or two doesn’t always put you in the mood. Alcohol famously makes you feel less inhibited about sex. But it can also numb your sex drive. And even if it doesn’t numb your sex drive, inebriation can be a turn-off for your partner. All of this goes for recreational drugs, too.
Too Little Sleep
If your sexual get-up-and-go is gone, maybe you’re getting up too early or getting to bed too late. Or maybe you have insomnia or sleep apnea. Whatever it is that’s interfering with your sleep, it’s also interfering with your sex drive. Too little sleep creates fatigue. Fatigue saps sex drive.
Parenting itself doesn’t kill sex drive. But it can be hard to find time to be intimate when the kids are under foot. Hire a baby sitter for some time to nurture your relationship. New baby in the home? Try scheduling sex during the baby’s nap time.
Drugs commonly linked to libido loss include:
- Blood pressure medications
- Oral contraceptives (some studies show a link; others don’t)
- Anti-HIV drugs
It’s hard to feel sexy if your self-esteem suffers from poor body image. For example, feeling ashamed of being too heavy (even if you’re not) will douse your love light. If your partner has these feelings, it can really help to reassure him or her that you still find him/her sexy. And there’s a flip side to the equation: Working out not only enhances your self-esteem, but also ups your sex drive.
Being overweight or obese is linked to a lack of sexual enjoyment, desire, and difficulties with sexual performance. The reason isn’t clear, but may be linked to self-esteem, unsatisfactory relationships, social stigma, and other psychological issues.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a different kind of sexual disorder than loss of libido (a medical term for loss of sex drive). But men with ED worry about how they will be able to perform sexually. And that worry can drain their sex drive.
Testosterone increases sex drive. As men age, their testosterone levels may decline slightly. Not all men lose the desire for sex when their testosterone levels drop — but many do. Testosterone is linked to sex drive in women, too. But a woman’s hormonal balance is more complex than a man’s and many factors are at play. It’s not at all clear whether testosterone therapy is as safe and effective in boosting sex drive for women as it is for men.
It doesn’t seem fair. Many antidepressants can lower your sex drive — and so does depression. But if your sex drive has drooped, is might be a sign that you’re depressed. Clinical depression is a serious, but treatable condition.
About half of women report reduced sex drive around the time of menopause, even though they believe it important to maintain an active sex life. Menopausal symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex, may make sex less comfortable. But the hormonal changes of menopause are only part of the picture. An aging women concerned about her sex drive should also consider the quality of her relationship, her body image and self esteem, medications she is taking, and her physical health.
Too Little Intimacy
Sex without intimacy is a sex-drive killer. Intimacy isn’t just a code word for sex. If your sex life is in neutral, try spending more non-sexual intimate time together – alone. Talk, snuggle, trade massages. Learn to express affection without having to have sex. As intimacy builds, so does sex drive.