Missing your sex drive? Here’s some clues where to look
The most common sexual issue that gets brought up by clients in my office is low sexual desire, commonly referred to as low libido. It happens in people of all ages and can be caused by one or many factors.
Hormone imbalance, particularly low testosterone in men and women can lead to low levels of sexual desire. Typically, to determine if this is a factor, a visit to a family doctor, OB/GYN, or urologist is the first step. They can test your hormone levels and, if there is an imbalance, recommend appropriate treatment. Some of the treatments include hormone patches, creams, or pellets.
Another factor that can contribute to low sexual desire, particularly in females, is low levels of sexual activity. When women don’t have sex or masturbate for long periods of time, the drive to have sex usually goes down. For this, I often recommend that women find a way to “jump start” their desire. This could be done through activities like masturbation, sensual massage, imagining themselves having sex, watching movies with sexual content, or reading steamy stories or books. Often these activities can wake up previously dormant sexual feelings. To address these factors, it is best to consult with a sex therapist, clinical sexologist, or counselor with specific training in sexual issues.
Feeling detached or unsupported by a partner can also lead to low sexual desire. In order for many people to become physically aroused, they need to have sexual thoughts about another person. If a person has negative feelings toward their partner, such as resentment, anger, or frustration, this can frequently overshadow any possibility of feeling sexual about another person. To work on these types of issues, someone should consult, individually or as a couple, with a counselor or psychologist.
If the person experiencing low libido is in a relationship with a person who has higher levels of sexual desire, this can cause a range of issues without open communication. I have worked with people who have concluded that the lack of sex in their relationship meant that their partner was no longer in love with or attracted to them. This is frequently an inaccurate and harmful conclusion that can damage a relationship. Communication with open ended questions like, “How do you feel about our sex life?” may be a good way to start this conversation.