There are a lot of misconceptions about sex drive that can impact individuals as well as couples. When sex drive is low, it can produce a number of questions and even potential relational conflicts, but at Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, we want you to be well-informed about this completely natural and dynamic facet of human sexuality. So, if you’re asking yourself why your sex drive is low, we’re here to help give you some answers.
What Affects Sex Drive?
Sex drive, also called libido, refers to a person’s overall interest in sexual activity during a given period. It’s complex— impacted by biological, psychological, and social elements— and crucial in many intimate relationships. Sex drive can be especially critical for those who might be planning for a family at some point or who have had issues conceiving.
Low sex drive is also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). A “normal” level can vary significantly from person to person and can be determined through discussions with your doctor. It is both subjective and personal and fluctuates throughout life due to multiple factors.
Causes of Low Sex Drive
- Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels can impact libido. This manifests, for example, in lower testosterone in aging males. For females, changes during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, the postpartum period, or menopause can all cause irregularities.
- Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety in one or both partners can directly impact sexual motivation. Pressures at work concerns with finances, and relationship issues are all relatively common factors that can have negative effects.
- Depression: Depression is often connected with reduced interest in activity across life in general. The effects of depression on neurotransmitters can be associated with a lower sex drive.
- Relationship Issues: Conflict, unresolved issues, or lack of emotional intimacy can all affect sexual desire. Communication problems or a breakdown in emotional connection are other factors to consider.
- Medications: Some medications can significantly impact libido. Common culprits are antidepressants, anti-hypersensitive medications, and hormonal contraceptives.
- Fatigue and Lack of Sleep: Physical fatigue and lack of proper sleep cycles diminish energy levels.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and chronic pain are often responsible. This extends to other conditions that affect things like blood flow, nerve function, or hormonal balance.
- Life Changes: Major life events or trauma can affect a person’s sex drive.
- Substance Abuse: Excessive use of alcohol or illicit drugs can result in declined sexual function. It’s important to be transparent about any usage with your doctor during consultations.
Treating Low Sex Drive
It’s crucial to meet with professionals on our team to address low sex drive in order to find a healthy and effective solution. Working with us can allow you to discover underlying causes and determine the best possible course of treatment. Here are a few of the ways we might approach a patient wishing to adjust their libido.
- Medical evaluation will be a general first step, including blood tests to check hormone levels, such as testosterone and thyroid hormones.
- Hormone therapy is a way to address hormonal imbalances. Since testosterone is commonly associated with sexual desire in men and women, hormone replacement therapy can be administered to restore levels to a normal range; in women, estrogen will often be an additional focus. Hormones can be administered in oral medications, patches, gels, and injections, depending on the one in question.
- Addressing medications that often have a role in a shift in sex drive might be a good idea. If your doctor finds it to be the principal cause, they may consider adjusting the dosage or switching to an alternative medication.
- Therapy addresses psychological factors like anxiety and depression, which can affect sex drive. This can be individual or collaborative, and in some cases, might be conducted by a specialist like a sex therapist.
- Relationship counseling is another verbal form of treatment, focusing on the connection between partners to help resolve mental and emotional conflicts that might exist. Intentional communication can take place with or without professional meditation, though it is always recommended to help keep discussions in balance.
- Lifestyle changes can make a massive impact. Regular exercise improves overall health and affects libido; adequate sleep is essential for hormonal balance and well-being. You can also assume routines like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
Our doctors know that this can be a serious problem for a lot of our patients, and it’s one that we take seriously. Sexual health and happiness are an important part of most relationships, and they should be carefully considered when there are obstructions of any kind. We’re committed to providing thoughtful, personalized treatment to anyone who walks through our doors. You’re welcome to schedule an appointment with a member of our team at any of our Mid-south offices: Germantown, Bartlett, Memphis, Collierville, or Southaven.