13 Things That Can Affect Sex Drive

by Isadora Baum, CHC
Young couple in love on the balcony

There are several life factors that can contribute to a low libido, and it's important to get to the root of the problem to start feeling happier, sexier, and more energized. Not only can it lead to insecurities and a weakened connection to our own bodies, but a low sex drive can negatively affect our relationships with our partners.

As a certified health coach, I help my clients feel more confident and satisfied with their relationships. Making time for "date nights" and sexual activity on a regular basis can strengthen a relationship and maintain a spark, which may start to dwindle after a few years. While the quintessential "honeymoon" phase can be unrealistic, due to work, and interpersonal and scheduling conflicts, a regular physical desire for each other is often necessary for a successful relationship long-term.

While all couples differ, and some duos flourish from mere love, rather than physical interaction, research has found that couples who have regular sex are happier on a daily basis and feel better about both their personal selves and their significant others. Yet, regular does not mean more frequent. Doing the deed just once a week can create greater satisfaction, and anything more is just based on the couple's preferences. If your libido is too low to get you and your partner to once a week, look for these thirteen signs to better understand what's wrong and learn how to gain your mojo back.

1. You Feel Inadequate To Your Partner

"One of the major contributors to decreased sex drive is feelings of inadequacy," says licensed marriage and family therapist, Erika Fay, LMFT, over email with correspondence with Bustle. If you feel that you do not deserve your partner, it can hurt your relationship and kill a sex drive. "If feeling "less than" or believing that you are deserving is something that you struggle with, it is useful to talk with a therapist who can help you to identify faulty thought patterns and give you strategies for changing them," says Fay.

2. You Don't Feel Appreciated

"It is very difficult for humans to connect physically if they feel disconnected emotionally," says Fay. If you feel that your partner does not appreciate your efforts and and role in his or her life, then it may make you feel emotionally withdrawn and less interested in becoming intimate. Speak with your partner if you find that your efforts go unnoticed and ask for greater recognition.

3. Your Relationship Has Poor Communication

Tension and lack of communication can result in an unhappy relationship, filled with unwanted stress and lack of physical desire. "Talk to your partner about these feelings using 'I statements' and being careful not to sound blaming," recommends Fay. "If you need additional information about how to effectively communicate your feelings to your partner, a couples therapist is a great resource," she adds.

4. You Are Stressed

Studies show that heightened levels of cortisol can negatively affect your sex drive, making you too preoccupied with other worries to feel relaxed and in the mood. If you let work and social anxieties take hold of your being, it will be hard for you to find the urge to be intimate and connect with your partner.

5. You Are Going Through Menopause

According to experts, the drop in estrogen during menopause can result in low libido. Common symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, fatigue, and painful sex can cause women to lose interest in doing the deed and to feel less confident in their physical attractiveness and body comfort. If you are experiencing dryness, try lube, and engage in stimulating foreplay to rev up your drive.

6. You Have Poor Body Image

If you don't feel that comfortable naked, it might make you feel insecure about your sexual abilities and cause you to withdraw sexually. Instead of focusing on your flaws, focus on your desirability and how attracted your partner is to you, and your body, in the moment. Plus, sex should be either fun and frisky or romantic, rather than a body competition. Put negative thoughts away, and feel sexy in your own skin.

7. You Focus Solely On Your Partner's Pleasure

If you are only concerned with pleasuring your partner, rather than yourself, then you might have a lower sex drive than other couples who prioritize mutual benefits. If you pay more attention to your own needs, and perhaps even tell your partner what positions, role-play scenarios or fantasies you have, then you will be more excited to engage physically on a regular basis.

8. You Take Medications

Certain medications, such as beta blockers, birth control, antidepressants, and blood pressure prescriptions, can reduce sexual desire. While it might be hard to quit using these medications, it's important to note that the pills might contribute to your sex drive, and you will need to put in an extra effort to bring your libido up.

9. You Drink Too Much Alcohol

While having a drink or two might increase our libidos, making us more physically attracted to people and friskier, too much alcohol can impair our sexual tendencies. Be mindful of how many glasses you consume, and alternate each drink with a tall glass of water to prevent you from becoming too intoxicated to follow through on the deed. This also applies to drug use, such as marijuana, which can suppress testosterone and lower libido.

10. You Are Depressed

According to experts, feelings of depression can change our hormone responses in the body and can thus lower of desire for sex and intimacy within our relationships. If you are feeling depressed, it's best to see a therapist and decide if a medication might be beneficial for your conditions. That being said, such medications might also affect your libido in a negative aspect, so it's important to be mindful of such influences, as well.

11. You Are Chronically Tired

Not getting enough sleep can make us too fatigued to feel sexually interested in others. If you find yourself too tired to find the urge to make time for sex, try and go to bed earlier in order to attain seven or eight hours a sleep a night. Within time, the additional sleep should help your hormones adjust back to normal and will increase your sex drive. Plus if you are snoring or have sleep apnea, female testosterone will decrease, thus hindering libido.

12. You Are Dehydrated

If you are not drinking enough water or are consumed high-fat, salty, refined foods, you might have a lower libido. Experts suggest that lack of fluids and high salt intake can reduce sexual interest, and so it's important to keep yourself hydrated during the day and to stick with whole foods that are filled with herbs and spices, as opposed to added salts.

13. You Feel Pressured To Be "Sexy"

Feeling as though there are expectations from your partner in bed, regarding your thoughts, actions and tendency for dominance can negatively affect your ability to perform and to enjoy the process. When having sex, it's important to not overthink the deed and to feel relaxed and excited for what's ahead. Don't think about being "sexy;" instead, think about being yourself, because you're perfect as is.

By addressing these common triggers for low libido, you'll be better able to focus on increasing desire and excitement in your relationship. Whether you are dating someone or are just looking for something casual, a sexual drive relates to what is going on directly in your own life and within your own body. Remember to love your body, give yourself respect and feel confident, and a strong sex drive will follow suit.

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