Five common causes of a low libido

Our sexual satisfaction is often linked to our overall wellbeing, so it’s no surprise that when our libido runs low, we tend to feel low too.

Just like every other facet of life, our libidos often experience peaks and valleys. Some weeks we may be ready to spend entire days romping between the sheets; other times, we find sex to be the last thing on our lists.

A drop in libido can be concerning when you’re in a relationship, and severely mismatched sex drives can sometimes become a deal-breaker. While you couldn’t get enough of each other initially, this desire to rip your partner’s clothes off can wane over time, placing stress on both you and your partner.

Not to mention a low libidois often a sign of a larger problem such as declining mental health, low self-esteem and an overload of stress.

If you’ve hit a sexual speedbump, it might be down to one of these five common causes:

1. Stress

Stress is a major factor that impacts both our mental and physical health, so it’s no surprise that it can also affect our desire to get busy.

Everyday stressors such as financial hardship, work-related stress, strains in family relationships and even a lack of sleep can all throw our lives off-balance and leave us feeling too mentally exhausted and preoccupied to entertain the idea of sex.

If you think stress is affecting your libido, it can be worth talking to a health professional. Otherwise, there are a few things you can do to take matters into your own hands, such as getting enough sleep, spending time with friends and family, addressing issues in your social and family life, and doing what you can to maintain a work/life balance.

2. Side effects of birth control pills and other medications

Birth control pills can kill our sex drive; it’s one of the reasons why so many people are switching to alternative methods like the coil. But, it’s not just the pill that’s doing the damage. Hormonal forms of birth control like patches, rings and jabs can all reduce our levels of testosterone, progesterone and estrogen, leaving our downstairs feeling rather unenthusiastic.

But while not wanting to have sex is one way to avoid pregnancy, a low libido is no reason to forego birth control. If you’re on a new form of contraceptive, give it a few months for your body to adjust, or talk to your doctor about alternative methods.

Medication for anxiety, depression and ADHD can also mess with our sexual desire. Dr Rhianna McClymont, the lead GP at Livi, explained to The Metro:

SSRIs, which are used to treat depression, often reduce your libido. Corticosteroids, blood pressure medications — particularly diuretics — and antipsychotic drugs can all also affect libido.

If you’re experiencing a low sex drive or any other side effects from your medication, talking with your doctor can help out the issue to rest.

3. Mental health

We all have good days and bad days, but if you’re constantly feeling down, it could be having an impact on your sex drive.

Common mental health concerns such as a bout of low confidence and self-esteem can affect how we view ourselves and our body, making it hard to let go and enjoy sex. Meanwhile, a diminished sex drive can also be a symptom of mental health issues and trauma.

All of these factors can be remedied with the help of a therapist. But, if what you’re experiencing is more in line with a bad mental health day, psychologist Beatrice Lindéh explained that it could help to express intimacy with your partner in other ways:

Hugging, showering together, or just lying naked in bed together can be enough for a while, and will keep you feeling close until your libido returns.

4. Relationship issues

Relationship issues can sometimes present themselves in the bedroom, dampening our desire to get intimate with our partners. It makes sense that arguments and unhappiness in a relationship tend to reduce our desire for sex and act as a source of stress, but the problem is often resolvable.

Communicating openly with your partner about your concerns and working towards understanding and compromises can help resolve issues in the relationship. However, this isn’t always easy and can sometimes call for the help of relationship counselling.

But, if you’ve just got the ‘ick’, it could be a sign that it’s time to go your separate ways.

5. Injuries, illness or pain with intercourse

It’s no surprise that painful sex would put us off from the act. Those suffering from vaginal dryness, pelvic floor dysfunction and vaginismus often find it difficult to get intimate, leading to a low sex drive.

Additionally, illness and injuries often take their toll on the body, leaving us too exhausted to engage.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle can help keep our body and mind in top shape. However, physical problems often call for medical assistance.

Sex drive: What to do when you and your partner have unmatched libidos Sex drive: What to do when you and your partner have unmatched libidos