Low Sex Drive? Here Are 11 Surprising Reasons Why

We’ve all been there—sometimes you’re just not in the mood for sex and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if your libido has taken a drastic dive and you’re wondering what’s going on, here are some possible explanations for what’s going on.

Sex drive varies from person-to-person and naturally fluctuates. You’re not defective because yours may be on the lower side—every person is different. Also, your libido changes based on what’s going on in your life. You probably already know that stress can hurt your sex life, but life events can do this too even if you don’t feel stressed out. For example, if you just moved, you have kids now, or you started a new job, you may just have too many other things on your mind. Once things settle, you may find your sex drive comes back. No need to panic.

The newness of sex with your partner has worn off. That initial excitement may be gone. This is completely normal and happens to a lot of couples. You might just need to spice things up a little in the bedroom. Try new positions, do some roleplaying, or buy new sex toys. There are non-sexual things you can do in the bedroom too to strengthen your connection, which may lead to more sex in your life.

You’re holding a grudge. If something has been bothering you about your relationship or you’re having trust issues, duh—you’re probably not as interested in sex with your partner. It’s a good idea to get it off your chest. If you have a talk and fix that damaged connection, you’re more likely to want to be intimate again.

You’re on birth control. Anything that alters your hormone levels can potentially affect your sex drive. Birth control pills may lower the amount of testosterone in your body, and testosterone is important for sexual desire in women and men. Simply switching the brand of pill you’re taking may help. You can try non-oral methods of birth control like the patch or vaginal rings like NuvaRing—it may do the trick. Talk to your doctor because it could be that simple.

You’re taking other medications that lower libido. Cold and allergy medications that contain antihistamines will dry out your sinuses but can dry out your vagina too. Certain antidepressants (SSRIs like Zoloft) can inhibit sexual function as well. Some blood pressure medications are known to lower libido in men (this isn’t yet proven in women). Anti-seizure pills increase the amount of prolactin in your body. Prolactin is important for nursing mothers but is a known sex drive killer. Prescription pain medications like Vicodin and Oxycontin can lower your libido because they reduce testosterone levels. There are even more medications that can affect sex drive, so it’s best to talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

You’re drinking too much alcohol. Sadly, this is true in men and women. A glass or two probably won’t hurt and may decrease your inhibitions, but alcohol isn’t actually an aphrodisiac like some people believe. Going overboard can inhibit your ability to get aroused because alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows down your body and dulls your senses, which can prevent satisfying sexual experiences. The dehydrating effects of alcohol can also dry out vaginas—not good for pleasurable sex and isn’t going to leave a woman wanting more. Additionally, excessive drinking causes heart disease because it prevents proper blood circulation. You need good blood flow for arousal and orgasm.

You have an unhealthy diet. Anything you put into your body can affect your sex drive, including food. Eating too many foods high in saturated fats, like fried or greasy foods, can clog your arteries and inhibit blood flow, which can decrease libido. Good fats like fish and avocado, however, can promote estrogen and testosterone production, which is important for a healthy sex life. Paying attention to what you’re eating can go a long way toward upping your sex game.

You’re not getting enough exercise. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, which means you’re probably more into sex with your partner because you feel physically good and you’re more confident. Physical activity also promotes proper blood circulation, so not getting enough could affect your ability to get aroused. And exercise increases serotonin and dopamine levels, feel-good chemicals that are important for a healthy libido.

You’re watching too much porn. If you’re expecting sex to be like a porno, no wonder you’re not satisfied. You’re comparing it to something that’s fake. Porn can certainly spice things up in the bedroom, but it can be bad for sex too. For example, there’s almost no foreplay, everyone has zero body hair, women are always ready and down for anything, men have penises larger than you ever thought possible, and the ending is always perfect. Porn also ignores the emotional connection that lots of people need to have great sex. It’s totally unrealistic; so don’t use porn as your sex manual.

You’re not having enough sex. Apparently, the more sex you have, the more you’ll be in the mood for it. While there’s no ideal amount of sex that you should be having, if you’re unhappy with your sex frequency, you might just have to do it more often. Sex increases blood flow and releases oxytocin and endorphins, pleasure chemicals that make you feel good, making you desire it more. Sex is a huge stress reliever, and the more relaxed you are, the more likely it is you’ll be looking for more. As Nike would say, just do it.

You may have a sexual desire disorder. The human sex drive is very complicated, so it’s hard to know sometimes exactly what’s wrong. If you’ve ruled out all of the above factors, it’s possible you could have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) or sexual aversion disorder (SAD). Both conditions are rare but also underdiagnosed. Treatment includes hormone replacement, psychotherapy, and sex therapy. Again, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor to hopefully determine any underlying problems. Don’t be afraid to do what it takes to get the sex life you want to have!

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