7 Habits That Affect The Female Sex Drive You Never Knew About

Share
Ad failed to load

If you've been wondering why your sex drive is low, it could be due to a number of lifestyle habits that are causing you to feel worn down in other areas of your life. These habits include things like skipping out on sleep and leading a stressful life — all of which experts say can add up to a lack of desire. And, when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.

When it comes to feelin' in the mood, there's a lot at play. "Female sexual drive is impacted by mental and physiological factors," Rhonda Mildrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and founder of the online relationship community, Relationup, tells Bustle. And, as a result, she tells me it can be difficult to treat

That doesn't mean, however, that it's impossible. By making sure that you're taking care of your physical and emotional well-being, you can start to feel an interest in sex again. But if you're checking all your well-being boxes, and things still aren't clicking, don't be afraid to reach out to a therapist who specializes in sexual health. They can help you get to the bottom of the issue, so you can get back out there and enjoy sex again. Here are a few factors experts say may play a role in lowering your sex drive.

Ad failed to load

1Maintaining A Way-Too-Stressful Schedule

Hannah Burton/Bustle

We all lead stressful lives, and finding that ideal work/life balance can be tricky. But if you're reaching your limit on the daily when it comes to work and stress and your social life, it can certainly impact your desire to have sex.

"Not leading a balanced life, and constantly feeling the stress and pressure of work, can alter the body’s hormone balance," says Milrad. "With stress, the hormone cortisol is released and elevated levels of cortisol can suppress the body’s natural sex hormones."

So, don't forget to schedule time into your life for yourself, maybe by partaking in activities that can help you de-stress — like yoga, meditation, walking outside, journaling, or whatever else helps you wind down. These habits can vastly improve your stress levels, and thus increase your sex drive.

2Skipping Out On Medical Checkups

bnenin/Fotolia

Since underlying health conditions can impact your sex drive, make sure you stay on top of those regular medical exams. And always speak to a doctor if you're feeling "off" in any way.

"Routine medical exams are an opportunity to check your hormone levels, discuss side effects of medications, or problems like vaginal dryness," says Milrad. "Medical issues and treatments can affect sexual desire and you may be missing an easy solution to your problem if you skip your routine medical checkups."

3Feeling Self-Conscious During Sex

Ashley Batz/Bustle

It's common to have a wide array of emotions during sex, from nervousness to self-consciousness to everything in between. And yet these thoughts, if not kept in check, can cause you to be too "in your head" during sex, which can lower your sex drive.

As Milrad says, being negatively preoccupied during sex can impact your desire levels. But by remembering that everyone has worries and hangups during sex, it can be possible to kick back, let it all go, and truly enjoy the moment.

Ad failed to load

4Not Getting Enough Sleep

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night will not only make you feel sluggish physically and mentally, but it might kill your sex drive.

And, again, it's all thanks to those pesky cortisol levels. "This can wreak havoc on some women's stress response and lead to a slow-down of reproductive activity as our bodies try to conserve energy for body systems that are necessary for life (like our lungs, heart and nervous system)," dietician Hannah Meier RD, LDN tells Bustle. When your body is fighting to stay awake, sex drive can be put on the back burner.

5Taking Antidepressants Or Other Medications

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If medication for anxiety or depression is helping you feel more like yourself, and enjoy life again, then it's totally worth it. But do keep in mind that some antidepressants do have side effects that can affect sex drive.

"We know that antidepressants, specifically those in the SSRI group ... are associated with a decrease in sexual desire," Dr. Michael Ingber, of The Center for Specialized Women’s Health, tells Bustle.

But that doesn't mean you should stop taking them, or adjust your dose without consulting your doctor. If you feel like your pills are preventing you from enjoying sex, talk with your doctor to see what you can do to even out your moods, and still enjoy sex.

6Drinking

Hannah Burton/Bustle

While it's certainly OK to have a few drinks in moderation, or a glass of wine before bed, studies have shown that chronic drinking can lower your sex drive. "Sexual desire and arousal is often a 'central' phenomenon in women, meaning it starts in the brain," says Ingber. Studies show that many women who chronically drink experience low sex drive, Ingber says, while many also experience a decrease in orgasms.

If you think this might be the reason why you're suddenly turned off sexually, speak with a doctor about your alcohol use, and how you might be able to cut back.

Ad failed to load

7Playing Video Games For Hours

nd3000/fotolia

Sexual desire has (eye roll) been studied more in men than in women. But because research has shown sexual desire may not be different in women than it is in men, despite the sexist stereotypes we're used to hearing, certain causes of low sex drives many not be gender-exclusive. "For example, one study showed that video game play for more than one hour per day was associated with a lower sexual desire in men," Ingber says. There is a chance this can apply to female sex drive as well, Ingber says.

Although low sex drive may be difficult discuss, you are not alone in feeling the way you do. Whether it be stress, or certain types of medication, there are many habits that can affect sex drive, and speaking with a loved one, doctor, or therapist specializing in sexual health can help.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

Bustle's Editors On Jennifer Aniston + Adam Rippon

We've made it to Friday! It's been a pretty hectic week, and the news that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are splitting up might have put a damper on your weekend. But, if like many people you have Monday off, hopefully you can sit back and enjo…
By Rachel Simon

This Timeline Of Justin Theroux & Jennifer Aniston's Relationship Will Break Your Heart All Over Again

Just one day after Valentine's Day, actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced their breakup after seven years together. The celebrity couple, who were married for two-and-half years, separated quietly at the end of last year. This week, th…
By Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

19 Things Your Parents Told You Were Illegal In The '90s

Kids say — and think — the darnedest things. We have overactive imaginations, adults like to mess with us, and we don't always understand everything we hear. That's why some kids call strawberries "straw babies" — a boo-boo so adorable, you don't eve…
By Megan Grant

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

I Never Want To Write This Essay Again

I don't know where you were when you heard about Wednesday's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I don't know what you were doing, or how you tried to process the news. I do know this: you thought to yourself, not again. And yet, again. Of cou…
By Jenny Hollander

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

A Study Suggests Drinking Soda Can Affect Your Fertility — But Don’t Freak Out Just Yet

An awful lot of things can affect fecundability — that is, the probability of conceiving within a single menstrual cycle — but can soda really decrease your chances of getting pregnant? A new study suggests that it might, although it turns out that t…
By Lucia Peters

Here Are All The Terms You Need To Know If You’re Watching Olympic Ski Events Right Now

Every four years the Winter Olympics rolls around to remind me that A) there are so many important Winter Olympic sports, and B) I know virtually nothing any of them. And I know for a fact, I'm not alone, I bet most people don't know what the differe…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

Money Actually CAN Buy Happiness — And Science Figured Out Exactly How Much It Costs

You’ve probably heard the saying “Money can’t buy happiness.” Personally, I’d be more than willing to test out that hypothesis myself, but researchers at Purdue University beat me to it. Researchers found that there is an actual amount of money it ta…
By Katie Mitchell

Kate Middleton Made Sales Of This $1 Secret Accessory Spike & She'll Turn You Into A Believer

There's a royal epidemic going on, people. It's one that causes any and everyone to obsess over the royal family's wardrobe and beauty routines, even if it means breaking the bank to look like them. So a frenzy was expected when Kate Middleton report…
By Summer Arlexis

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
via Romper

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale

These 10 Drugstore Red Lipsticks Are Under $10 & Actually *Amazing*

I adore makeup. There are few things I like more than getting myself fancied up in the mornings. It's a little ritual I get to do every day that makes me feel prettier and more put together. When my makeup is on, I'm ready to face the world — pun int…
via Romper

17 Moms Reveal The Most Disgusting Part Of Their Pregnancy

Pregnant bodies do weird-ass things. Weird-ass, gross things. I mean, my pregnant body did (twice), and I have long-suspected I'm not alone. So I asked other moms to share the most disgusting part of their pregnancy and I learned that, not only am I …
via Romper