According to research conducted by La Trobe University, the University of New South Wales, and the University of Sydney, close to 25% of men and 55% of women lacked any interest in sex (1). This startling inequality in loss of libido between both sexes explains why there are so many frustrated partners.
So, if your relationship is suffering because of loss of sex drive, worry not, you aren’t alone. In contrast to the 70s and 80s, where despite the prevalence, lower libidos weren’t even acknowledged to exist, the 21st century sex therapists can attest that your lack of interest in sex is a very real and common problem that could be based on a myriad of emotional or clinical factors. Here are 7 common reasons:
1. Growing Old
No, hold up! Before you accuse us of, err whatever it is you were thinking of, we’d like to clarify that for some people, the loss of sexual desire with age is usually rooted in the physiology of their body. As men age, there is a fall in their testosterone levels, which would explain the loss of their libido. In the case of women, it is their estrogen levels that drop, which usually results in a loss of sexual desire due to the vaginal dryness that causes pain during sex. As you grow older, there is a higher probability of having some medical condition that is contributing to your lack of interest in sex.
2. Certain Medicines And Drugs
Your lack of sex drive could also be a result of new medication. There exist certain drugs whose common side effect is actually loss of libido. A typical example would be patients on anti-anxiety medication. They either experience a significantly reduced or completely dissipated libido. Other common medications that share this particular side effect are antihistamines, birth control pills, anti-depressants, anti-seizure medications, and medical marijuana.
3. Being Stressed Or Depressed (Or Both)
Depression or stress is a common cause for a non-permanent loss of sex drive. Usually, it may be due to career-related problems, financial dilemmas, the arrival of a new baby, deadlines, or even issues in your relationship. While it is a natural human tendency to have a bad mood, if you’ve been feeling down and low for more than two months, it would be classified as depression and requires proper treatment from a qualified doctor.
4. Loss Of Physical Attraction
There have been cases between couples where, either due to neglect or another reason, as one partner’s physical appearance declines, the other partner will have lost his/her physical attraction towards them. One of the most common complaints doctors receive from their patients is their grievance about their partner’s weight gain. There are also cases where, inversely, the more physically attractive partner will revel in their power on a subconscious level, and thereby become unsupportive.
5. Bad Hygiene
A poor sense of hygiene can rapidly lead to a decline and eventual loss of libido. It could be poor bathing practices, chafing beards, or even malodors like foul breath or reeking feet. Whatever the issue, it could come across as possibly trivial to you, but the impact it has on your partner’s sexual desire could be significant and may have escaped your notice. In this situation, communication and self-assessment is essential.
6. An Inconsiderate Lover
A common complaint lodged by women with their doctors is that their partners have ceased to spend time with them before and after intercourse. He may be inconsiderately using the ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ approach. It is essential that a man invests time in foreplay. Otherwise, he is unfairly neglecting his partner. On the other end of the spectrum, doctors also can, at times, receive complaints about overenthusiastic men, who can be too aggressive during sex, thereby unintentionally hurting their partners.
7. Being A Widow Or Widower
For men and women who have lost their spouses, being overwhelmed at the prospect of having sex for the first time after a long gap is quite common. This seems to be particularly common for widowers who have sustained a long abstinence. They seem to struggle with a sense of guilt for what they believe is a betrayal to their former spouse and the emotional stress of facing the unfamiliar. In these cases, therapists use the old maxim, ‘use it or lose it.’ Some widows and widowers can also feel that their departed spouse is watching them from above during sex. This can produce a horrible sexual experience that may even lead to a widower losing his erection. Having faced one terrible experience, a few men can develop performance anxiety and resolve to avoid sex totally.
So, what is the solution?
For most people, if you’re suffering from a loss of libido due to any of the reasons described above, you can be treated by a sex therapist and your dilemma will be resolved in 10 sessions. You can approach a sex therapist either by yourself and work on your conflicts alone, or you could bring in your partner and work as a team. However, it is of great importance that we also mention that sometimes, loss of libido could be due to a deeper, more complex emotional conflict, such as having experienced sexual abuse, gender identity issues, being raised in an atmosphere where sex was considered sinful, or rape. In these cases, the treatment plan is longer, more complex, and requires tremendous support.
So, if you find yourself saying, ‘I don’t feel up to it’ way too often, you might want to delve deeper into the problem. Physical intimacy, like any other intimate emotion, works on extreme levels. And all we wish is you fall on the positive extreme of this blissful journey.