Low libido. It’s a buzz kill.
Sadly, low libido impacts men, women, and couples of all ages. And it’s one of the top complaints I hear from readers. Readers who suffer from a low sex drive and readers whose partners suffer from a low sex drive.
Many people think most of these low libido cases come from post-menopausal women. While many do, there are much younger women also suffering from no desire. It’s estimated that 26% of pre-menopausal women, that’s more than one in four, suffer from low libido. For post-menopausal women, those 55 and older, that number doubles, with 52% struggling with a low sex drive.
And it’s not just women!
Men, too, experience low libido. While it is more common as men age (that dang low T), between 13-28% of men complain of a diminished sex drive. And many of those cases result from the same issues that impact women.
That’s a lot of us.
And those of you with a low sex drive, I know most of you miss your libido. I know you want to be intimate with your partner. That you’d do just about anything to have the want and desire to wrap your hands in your lover’s shirt, pull them close to you, and whisper in their ear that you want to fuck them.
You want to have a better sex drive, but you just don’t know how to fix it.
Some days, it feels like your libido may never come back.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is hope. You can improve your low libido. You can increase your sex drive. And that with a little bit of effort, you can have desire, arousal, and pleasure back in your life.
In many cases, much sooner than you may think.
What Is Libido?
Your libido is your sex drive or the desire you have to engage in sexual activity. Libido ebbs and flows through the seasons of our lives and is influenced by a wide range of factors, including biological, hormonal, psychological, and social aspects.
People often talk about libido and sex drive as if it’s something you either have or you don’t have. Like it’s either there or it’s not. “My libido’s gone.” Or “I have no sex drive.”
But that’s not quite how it works.
Your sex drive is like other drives you have, from hunger and thirst to the drive to acquire or bond or defend. It doesn’t necessarily come and go. It’s more of a scale than something absent. Your sex drive can be high or low, but it is always present.
For instance, you may not be hungry, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a drive for food. You do. It’s just not strong at this specific moment. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that it’s left and is never coming back.
It simply means that it’s low. That right now, you’re not hungry. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be hungry tomorrow.
It’s the same with your libido. Right now, it’s low. You don’t desire sex. That doesn’t mean that you won’t, or can’t, desire sex tomorrow.
Because you can. Your libido can be nourished. And it can grow into something strong and fabulous.
Why Low Libido Matters
You may be asking why your low libido matters. Who cares that you have a low sex drive?
You care. Obviously, or you wouldn’t have made it this far.
And you SHOULD care.
You are a sexual being.
Your brain likes it when you have sex, with a partner or with yourself. Like legit, your brain wants you to have sex. When you engage in sexual pleasure, your brain puts out chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happier.
Not only does sex boost your happiness, but it also reduces your stress levels. Oxytocin, one of the hormones released when you’re intimate, basically eats cortisol, the stress hormone. Yep, it gobbles it up and, quite literally, reduces the stress of your body.
Those are huge bonuses, whether you have a partner who supports your journey to your best sexual self, a partner who doesn’t, or you don’t have a partner at all.
Hear what I’m saying.
Not having a partner does not mean that you should have a low libido.
I encourage you to work on your libido for YOU, not for your partner (although if your partner is your motivating factor, give them a giant fist bump from me).
One of the main reasons is the cortisol-eating ability of oxytocin. While reducing cortisol does reduce stress, it does much more. Cortisol helps you deal with your body’s stress response. In layman’s terms, it aids in your fight-or-flight response, giving you the necessary energy to either fight or run away.
But today’s stressors aren’t the same types of stressors that our ancient ancestors faced. Instead of lions and tigers and bears, it’s overdue bills, traffic jams, and slow internet bandwidth. Things that don’t use cortisol, allowing it to build up in the body.
And when cortisol levels get high, man, it fucks all sorts of things up.
High cortisol puts you at risk for:
- Digestive problems
- Increased pain
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Memory issues
- Sleep disturbances
What’s more, cortisol screws with your metabolism, telling it to slow down, which in turn leads to weight gain.
So. Yeah. If you reduce the cortisol in your body, then you make improvements to your health and wellness.
That’s just one reason sex is good for your health.
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces blood pressure post-orgasm
- Increases circulation
- Supports vaginal fitness (which is totally a real thing)
- Reduces the risk of prostate cancer
- Strengthens the pelvic floor
- Boosts the immune system
And much, much more.
Consequences of a Low Sex Drive
Now that you know why having low libido matters, let’s take a moment to discuss the consequences of having a low sex drive. Obviously, there’s a higher cortisol level, and therefore more stress, but a low libido has a bigger impact than that.
First, for those of you in relationships, a low libido can definitely impact your relationship. Because none of us goes into an intimate partnership with the idea that we want to stop having sex with our partner.
Hell, normally it’s the opposite.
We expect more love and intimacy as our relationship grows deeper. But that doesn’t always happen. When low libido raises its ugly head, the sex slows down, and, all too often, people end up in sexless relationships.
And very few good things come out of sexless relationships. All too often, they lead to resentment and anger. Or a person gets frustrated or feels so rejected, they end up turning to another person to get their intimate needs met.
Beyond the impact on your relationship, when you have low libido for an extended period, your vaginal walls lose their elasticity, especially as you get older. And this can lead to vaginal atrophy, which no one wants to deal with.
What Causes a Low Sex Drive?
The fact is a ton of adults have low libido, and many don’t even know why. This, in and of itself, is a problem. Because how can you fix the issue if you don’t even know what’s causing it?
To understand what’s causing your low sex drive, check out this video where you learn the eight most common issues that result in low libido (and if you want to do me a solid, go ahead and subscribe while you’re there!).
Here are libido killers you may not realize impact your desire:
- Hormonal changes, including low T, menopause, pregnancy, and nursing
- Pain with intercourse, which is common in women who experience vaginal dryness
- Stress and anxiety (You know what helps with stress? Sex and masturbation)
- Lack of sleep (Ahem… Sex also helps you sleep better, too. For real)
- Distractions, when your mind’s focused more on your to-do list than on what’s going on between your legs
- Shame and guilt about sex ,that shit sucks; talk to a therapist about it
- Relationship issues, like resentment, problems with trust, or general discontent
- Medical conditions like depression, PTSD, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, heart disease, anemia, and arthritis (If aches and pains keep you from enjoying sex, try out some positions that are easy on the joints!)
- Medications like anti-depressants (SSRIs specifically), hormonal contraceptives (yes, birth control pills can make you lose your libido, so can Depo, so much so that it’s used in some prisons to quell the sex drive of sex offenders; they call it chemical castration), opioids, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, medication for prostate cancer, and the acne medication Accutane
- Body confidence, lack of experience, or other self-conscious behaviors (if your partner suffers from low confidence in the bedroom, check out this post for a few ways you can help)
As you can see, there are a lot of things out there that can screw up your sex life. And this list isn’t even close to exhaustive. But now that you know what may be impacting your libido, you can start working to make it better.
Can a Low Libido Be Fixed?
Yes, low libido can be fixed!
It just takes a little bit of time and effort.
Review the list of influences on your sex drive. If there are items that could be impacting you, such as high-stress levels or medications, then start addressing those issues. Talk to your primary physician or OB/GYN and ask for their advice.
You must approach improving your low libido with an open mind. Stop thinking you can’t enjoy sex, and stop thinking it’s not worth the effort.
It totally is.
But you’ve also got to put in some work. I want you to think of having sex, either with a lover or alone, kind of like improving your fitness. When you first start, you may not want to work out. You just don’t feel like it. But you put on your sneakers and head to the gym anyway.
And then, after two or three weeks, it becomes easier. Suddenly, you’re looking forward to your workouts, and you have the internal motivation to continue them.
Low libido and sex are the same way. Like exercise is the tool that improves your fitness, sex and masturbation are the tools that improve low libido. And you have to engage in them, even when you don’t want to. And even when you just don’t feel like it.
Ways to Improve Your Low Sex Drive
Improving your sex drive starts with improving your overall health and wellness. That’s right, I’m talking about eating right and exercising and getting a good night’s sleep. Funny how those three things are so important to so many aspects of one’s life, isn’t it?
But seriously. If you’re unhealthy, if you just don’t feel good, or you’re tired all the time, then you’re not going to want to have sex. You’re not going to have the energy to get it on, or, hell, even rub one down.
So cover the basics. Make sure you’re giving your body the nutrients and the hydration it needs, that you’re keeping it active and stretched out, and that you’re getting a solid night’s sleep.
Work on Your Relationship
Working on it can boost your libido, even if it’s not what’s causing the dip in your sex drive. I mean, if it is what’s causing your issue with desire, then sure, absolutely address those issues in a positive and structured manner.
But even if your relationship’s amazing and awesome, intentionally focusing on making it better and doing things that bring your closer can boost your libido.
Not sure of what to do?
Here are a few ideas:
- Learn something together. Enroll in a cooking or art class and attend it together.
- Go on an adventure. Whether it’s a nature hike or an amusement park, exploring new things brings you closer.
- Plan a weekly date night. Write it on the calendar to make sure it happens.
- Take a vacation. Even if it’s only a weekend away, getting away from your everyday responsibilities can do wonders for a couple.
- Spend at least 15 minutes engaging with one another every day without distractions (including the television and your phone).
- Flirt with your lover. It doesn’t matter if you send cute texts or play footsie under the table, flirting lets your partner know you’re thinking of them.
When you put work into your relationship, it pays you back. It brings you closer to your lover, both physically and emotionally, which, thanks to our good friend oxytocin, can also work to increase your desire and counter your low libido.
Get Turned On
If you want any chance of improving your libido, then you must work on turning yourself on. You’re not a horney teenager anymore, where the right type of breeze could get your blood flowing.
Don’t rely on nature to flip your switch because, obviously, that’s not working for you. So put some effort into it and every day, do something to try to turn yourself on.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Fantasize more
- Watch some female-centric porn (and that recommendation is not just for the ladies)
- Read some erotica
- Sext with your partner
- Ask your partner to give you a massage
- Give your partner a massage
- Listen to some sexy audiobooks
- Dance sexy
- Touch your body, not sexually, but sensually
- Listen to music that sounds erotic to you
The fact is, my friend, no one is going to come along and fix your low libido. Not your lover. Not your friends. And not that sexy guy you met at the dry cleaner. It is on you. Your libido, much like your orgasm, is your own responsibility.
Add Something New
There’s something about humans that you should know. As a species, we really like novel things. New things. We find them exciting and shiny.
If that all seems too much for you right now, that’s okay. Even something like a shared dirty little secret can be enough to get your juices flowing.
Masturbate, masturbate, masturbate. Even when you don’t feel like it.
Masturbate in different ways. Masturbate with your hand and with sex toys.
And masturbate to make your body feel good, not necessarily to get off. I mean, sure, if you get off, that’s great, but don’t make that your goal.
Make pleasure your goal.
And explore your body to see the different ways you make your body feel pleasure. Don’t just focus on your genitalia. Bring all your bodily sensations into play.
I don’t want you just to masturbate. I want you to masturbate on a schedule. Legit, write it in your planner, set an alarm on your phone, or put a damn smiley face sticker on the family calendar.
Depending on your age and situation, strive to masturbate at least once a week, at a minimum. If you’re healthy and under the age of 65, schedule two to four self-pleasure appointments (and be amazed at how quick your libido returns).
Just like the gym, do it even when you’re not feeling it.
Meditation brings a range of health benefits, many of which may boost your libido, but more importantly, meditation aids you in becoming more mindful. And that mindfulness can do wonderful things for your stress levels, anxiety, and sex life.
Once you get a couple meditation sessions under your belt, I’d like to see you start practicing mindfulness in your intimate life. Practice mindful sex and practice mindful masturbation.
The number one key is not to strive for the end goal of orgasm (or an end goal at all) but just being in the present with the sensations and pleasure your body experiences with each touch and stroke.
Indulge with Caution
Certain recreational substances can improve your libido. Some can tank it. And some can do both!
Let’s start with cannabis. If you live in a state or country where cannabis is legal for recreational use, you may want to consider trying it as a libido enhancer. Many folks see a spike in libido when they’re high. Not only does the experience enhanced sensations, but it’s easier to stay present and just experience the moment.
If you’d like to steer clear of nature’s whacky tobaccy, you may want to consider having a glass of wine to help you relax, but don’t overdo it. Alcohol is a depressant and can screw with your libido and your orgasmic ability.
Recreational drugs, including opioids and cocaine, can increase your libido at times, but they can also make it more difficult to reach climax. If you’re going to use, use with caution and awareness.
Try an Aphrodisiac
There are all sorts of wives tales and home remedies for low libido. Some may actually have benefits, and some may only be the placebo effect. But hell, even if it’s a placebo effect, it’s still a boost to your sex drive, so it’s a win in my book.
- Oysters, which are rich in zinc, may support sexual health and sperm production
- Maca, a root vegetable from South America, enhances erectile function and has been nicknamed the Peruvian Viagra
- Figs, an ancient symbol of love and fertility, are filled with antioxidants
- Gingko Biloba increases blood flow and is used in ancient Chinese medicine as a libido booster
- Bindii, aka Tribulus, grows in dry climates and may raise testosterone levels; there is some evidence that it may also boost sexual function
- Red ginseng, another herb used by the ancient Chinese, may help erectile dysfunction in men and improve sexual arousal in menopausal women (but don’t take it if you’re on a blood thinner)
- Pistachios increase blood flow and may lead to firmer erections (ladies, don’t downplay firmer erections… Your clitoris is made of the same erectile tissue that a penis is made of and responds the same way)
- Fenugreek is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aid for low libido, which makes sense as it contains compounds that the body uses to create testosterone and estrogen
- Saffron, a relatively common spice, may enhance female sexual function, from arousal to vaginal lubrication
- Chocolate (like you need a reason to eat chocolate) increases brain chemicals that make us happy, and there’s anecdotal evidence that it aids those with low libido get in the mood
- Yohimbine, found in an African evergreen tree, increases blood flow and nerve impulses to the genitals; a form of it is used as a prescription medication, as it may counter some of the sexual side effects of anti-depressants
Work Toward Body Confidence
If you’re uncomfortable in your body, then there’s a good chance you’re uncomfortable engaging in sexual activities. If you’re uncomfortable, then you may be anxious or stressed. And then the whole experience becomes less and less fun. Over time, it’s easy to simply lose the desire for intimacy, all because of body confidence.
I get it.
My weight has gone up and down and up and down throughout the years of my marriage. Hell, we’re just coming out of COVID (hopefully) and I totally put on a COVID-19 or two (two, it was definitely two).
While I don’t like the added weight or how it makes me feel, that doesn’t mean I’ve lost confidence in my body and what it can do and how it responds sexually. And it definitely doesn’t mean I hide it from my Husband when we’re intimate.
I’m totally not judging those of you who are struggling here… Believe me when I say I understand. I was there for years. And it’s taken me a lot of work to understand that body confidence has way more to do with it than just my weight.
But if body confidence is holding you back from enjoying sex, if you’re more worried about your lover seeing the dimples on your ass than the pleasure they’re trying to give you, then it can, and will, impact your libido.
So… If body confidence manifests in a low sex drive, then now is the time to do something about it. Walk after work. Start a workout program. Pull your partner into it, and suddenly you’re spending more quality time together and getting healthier and becoming more confident in your body. All of it can come together to start allowing you feel more comfortable in your skin.
And when you’re more comfortable in your skin, you may suddenly find that your desire starts to return and that you may want to leave the lights on.
Improve Your Sex Education
Sometimes, learning more about sex education and how arousal and desire work can be enough to improve low libido. From learning where the G-spot is to improving your oral sex techniques, learning about sex can make you want more sex.
Sex education is also beneficial because it teaches you that most women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm , sometimes 20 minutes or more. Or you learn different masturbation methods that really improve your orgasms. Or you figure out how to squirt. Sex education can be really fun because the more you learn, the more pleasure you can experience.
And we all know that more pleasure, especially more sexual pleasure, can definitely increase low libido and make you want to be intimate with your partner.
So maybe you should improve your sex education and sign up for my newsletter already.
Make Sex a Priority
Sometimes desiring sex comes down to having more sex. After all, you don’t miss what you don’t know.
But when you make intimacy a priority, when you put it on the calendar to ensure that it happens, well, you may be surprised that your libido starts to improve as the amount of sex you have increases.
So stop putting sex on the back burner. Stop waiting for the stars to align before you’re willing to get it on.
Make sex a priority in your life, plan for it and look forward to it, and the more it happens, the more your sex drive increases. Hell, maybe consider even doing it every night to see what happens.
Consult Your Doctor
If you’ve tried all the things, or you think a medical condition or prescription medication may be causing your low libido, talk to your doctor, family physician, OB/GYN, or urologist.
Now, I’d like to tell you that when you brave the embarrassment (you have nothing to be embarrassed about, I promise) of bringing up sexual issues with your doctor, that they will listen with an open ear and give you advice that will fix the problem.
But that’s not always the case.
All too often, I hear of doctors play it off, saying things like, “Oh well, low libido after menopause is normal.”
Or “A lot of women have to deal with low libido. There’s not much you can do.”
Or they shrug and move on to the next topic.
So here’s my advice. If your doctor blows you off when you bring up your sexual health issues, keep pressing. If they can’t answer you, advocate for yourself and ask them for a recommendation of a physician who can.
Because your sexual health is important. Your libido is important. And, if your low sex drive feels like a big deal, then it is a big deal. Don’t let them make you feel like it’s not. Advocate for yourself. And your libido.
There Are Pharmaceutical Options
While I can’t necessarily recommend the pharmaceutical options (their clinical study results aren’t all that impressive), it’s only fair that I present them as an option for low libido.
There are currently two different prescription medications for low libido and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
Flibanserin, commonly known as Addyi, is a daily medication for women who have not yet gone through menopause but have a low libido that causes distress in their life. There are some significant side effects with the medication, especially concerning alcohol.
The second medication is bremelanotide, aka Vyleesi, given as an injection under the skin before sexual activity. So it’s basically a shot you give yourself if you want to be intimate with your lover.
Sounds sexy, right?
For post-menopausal women who have a decreased libido, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be an option. Using plant-based hormones that the body recognizes as its own, these medications can balance out the hormones and reduce the impacts of menopause on your libido.
Sadly, these are not an option for those at risk for breast cancer.
Although there are medications for sexual function in men, there are no medications to treat low libido in men other than testosterone supplements.
Want More Help with Low Libido?
If you want more help with your low libido, a personalized approach to help you improve your low sex drive and increase your desire, I’ve got you, friend.
I’m getting ready to launch a super-affordable, easy-to-follow course on naturally improving libido. My plan is to have it live by October 2021. If you’re interested in learning more and want to be in the loop, just fill out this form to be kept up-to-date. Of course, this does not obligate you to anything.