If you’d met me two years ago, you would have never believed I would end up suffering from a low sex drive. I loved sex. I was adventurous – liked anal, bondage, S&M, women and men, and more. My then boyfriend and I had sex twice a day, and I enjoyed it every time. But things change… I broke up with said boyfriend after 5 years of an on again, off again relationship. Bummer. Then, I met someone I felt good about. Four months later, they dumped me via text. Bummer. And finally, I met someone who changed my life for the better. Good news, right? Yes, but it also coincided with me turning 40 and my sex drive plummeting. Major bummer. It’s not that I don’t want to have sex with my partner. I do. I really do. It’s that my age, body, and more have ganged up against me to crush my once amazing sex drive.
Turns out I’m normal and that low libido is a common issue in men and women my age or older. So what causes low sex drive? It can vary from person to person, but here are the most common reasons…
For both women and men, there are many physical issues that can cause low libido. These include prescription medicines, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, too little sleep, too little or too much exercise, and alcohol and drug use. There are also many psychological issues, including depression, stress, changes in relationship status, and relationship problems. For women, pregnancy, menopause or illness can decrease sex drive. For men, low testosterone can affect the sex drive.
So what can you do about a low sex drive?
1. See a doctor – The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your doctor. Ruling out any health issues is absolutely the first step! There are so many underlying physical reasons for a low libido. It’s best to check with your doctor to make sure everything is running smoothly and that you are in good health.
2. Talk to your partner – Opening up to your partner about your low sex drive is important for maintaining healthy sexual communication. Let them know you are feeling this way. If it’s not because of relationship issues, it’s important to let them know. This can decrease insecurities and create understanding. If it IS because of relationship issues, this is the first step in talking things out. How can someone help you if they don’t know what the problem is?
3. Keep a journal – If your low libido is definitely NOT health related, then what is it? Start keeping a sex journal. When you are not in the mood, jot it down. When you are in the mood, jot it down. Notice a pattern? Maybe lack of sleep, stressful days at work, or not enough alone time without the kids are causing the decrease in desire. Maybe the weeks you exercise more, the less sex you want. Getting to know yourself and your habits can help you create a plan to maximizing your sex drive.
4. Try something different – If things just aren’t working, it’s time to try something different. Relationship problems? Maybe it’s time to break-up or seek counseling. Not enough time? Maybe it’s time to schedule a mini getaway. Stressed? Maybe it’s time to cut back on work or extra activities. Bored? Maybe it’s time to try some new toys or sex positions. Whatever it is that isn’t working, get rid of it, even if just for a little while.
5. Get healthier – Taking care of your mental and physical well-being are keys to a healthy sex life, with or without low libido. So take care of yourself! Low-stress exercise such as yoga has been known to help with libido. Supplements such as DHEA and the Mediterranean diet have also been known to help with libido. Even drinking enough water and getting enough sleep have been shown to help with libido.
6. Make time for intimacy – Even if you are not in the mood for sex, make time for intimacy. Carve out time with your partner every day for closeness – snuggling on the couch, showering together, spooning in bed, enjoying a cup of coffee or wine without distractions. Sex is important in a relationship, but it isn’t everything. Intimacy is what keeps you together. And with increased intimacy, there’s usually an increase in sex drive.
It’s important to remember you are not alone. As many as 66% of women over 45, and 40% of men over 45, report suffering from a low sex drive. Definitely seek out the help of your doctor, no matter how embarrassing the conversation may be. And remember that where there is a will, there is a way. Don’t give up on your sex life!