Libido is an important aspect of sexual health. When you think about it, it is our libido or sex drive, that drives that train we call sexual function. If we don’t feel interested in sex, we are less likely to initiate or respond to our partner in a positive manner. What can make libido a difficult subject is our own lack of understanding about the delicate nature of each individual’s sex drive. To resolve issues that stand in the way of a satisfying sex life first takes patience, then compassion, then knowledge. Let’s start there.
It’s Normal for Libido to Lower
Because libido is partially fueled by the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progestin, there is a natural rise and fall that will naturally occur through various stages in life. This variance in sex drive may affect women more than men due to the fact that a woman’s hormones change on a monthly basis. They also change with pregnancy, under stress, and through the decade or more of perimenopause that takes place at the tail end of the reproductive years.
Men are not immune to hormonal changes. Stress, weight, and age all play a part in the prevalence of low testosterone. When testosterone lowers, especially due to excess weight, there is a natural rise in estrogen, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as erectile dysfunction.
- What to do: First and foremost, understand that sex drive ebbs and flows. A dip does not indicate that something is wrong, or that the body is not working. A thorough hormone assessment can be performed to better understand if declining sex hormones are the cause of chronically low libido. This problem can be corrected with appropriate hormone therapy.
The Mood-Killer Called Stress
Where there is stress, there is most likely no satisfying sex to be found. Couples who are living with the effects of sexual dysfunction or infertility suffer corresponding stress. That stress, stemming from physical and emotional concerns, often rolls right over the desire for sex.
- What to do: If you can connect the dots between stress and a poor sex life caused by low libido, there is good reason to investigate techniques for stress reduction. Exercising, painting or coloring, and walking or sitting under a tree are all ways that one may better manage the stressors that affect quality of life. Depending on the situation, it may be beneficial to speak with a qualified therapist.