Picture it: You’re settled on the couch (or bed), blankets wrapped around you as you start playing your favorite movie — that is, the movie that has your all-time favorite sex scene it. It could be the infamous car scene in Titanic, or Jude Law and Nicole Kidman getting hot and heavy in Cold Mountain, or maybe it’s a wall-sex scene from Mr. and Mrs. Smith featuring the smoking hot Branjelina. Whatever it is, it’s about to start and you smile in anticipation. Only — nothing happens. No loin-tingling, sexy feelings of arousal. Zip. What gives? Usually this scene puts uou in a sweaty, hot frenzy and tonight it’s like someone numbed you down there with Orajel.
But not to worry! There are plenty of reasons that your sex drive could be lower than usual. It’s normal to go through periods of being really into sex, and then other times not so much. If you are one of many people who find that you aren’t as excited about getting it on as you used to, here’s a list of 5 potential culprits to explain what could be happening, and what you can do to fix it.
Of course everyone gets stressed from time to time — it’s the most common thing in the world and not too worrisome if it’s managed properly. That being said, it can have serious health consequences if it’s not dealt with properly. It can also lower your sex drive.
When you’re stressed, your fight or flight response is triggered which causes your body to act a little crazy to help you deal with a potentially dangerous situation. This means that a bunch of hormones gets released into your system — cortisol and epinephrine (which you know as adrenaline). Usually adrenaline fades soon after the “threat” disappears but there are times when it doesn’t. For example your hectic job or relationship issues or money problems keep your body in stress mode and hormones keep getting pumped into your system, your body can never go back into relaxation mode. And these elevated stress hormone levels can mess up the way your body responds sexually.
Reduce your stress by getting rid of the cause — for example quitting your terrible job, dumping a bad boyfriend) or switch up your lifestyle. Get into meditation, work on exercising more, and change your diet. Once you get your stress levels down you can get your libido back up!
As mentioned in number one, relationship problems cause a ton of stress. But it might not be that you’re fighting all the time, either — you might just not be turned on by your partner anymore. But it’s hard to know if this is the reason for your low libido or you and your partner are just going through a slump.
Sexual desire — especially in women — is directly linked to what’s going on in our brains so if your emotions are all screwy and you’re not feeling it in your head then you’re going to have a really hard time getting sexually aroused. And then there’s the case of mismatched libidos. Maybe your partner is super horny all the time and your desire level is normal but not as high as theirs, it can seem like you’re deficient in some way and cause significant stress. And then the repeated feelings of guilt whenever sexy time comes up create a vicious stress-loop that results in true lower desire.
If you’re truly not into your partner anymore, you might just not to be with them at all anymore. But if you really do want to work on your relationship, you can try couples counseling and sex therapy. They’re both good ways to figure out what the underlying causes of un-desire are and how to work through them.
You might be surprised to know that a lower libido is a definite side effect of being on birth control. Of course not everyone feels this who take the pill but a pretty big number — anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of women who are on it have complained about it. It’s a legit side effect.
You would think that more sex hormones released into your body would make you more horny, but it might be because it’s the wrong sex hormones. Researchers hypothesize that a lower libido could be because of a decrease in male sex hormones (testosterone for one) in the pill. These hormones (also known as androgens) are produced in the female body naturally and are linked to female sex drive, as they relate to blood flow that makes your downstairs sensitive and ready to go. Some birth control brands lower the androgen production in your body (specifically ones with estrogen — they are the ultimate androgen killers!).
If you’ve figured out that your lowered sex drive is because of the pill, you can try different birth control — not all of them have this side effect. Another thing you can do is talk to your doctor about the experimental use of androgens. Though it’s not FDA approved yet, it’s being used ‘off-label’ to kick up low sex drives into high gear.
If you’ve been struggling with depression, it’s likely that you’re really not feeling in the mood. Stats say that about five percent of us have depression, and around 70 percent of those with depression also have low libidos.
As mentioned before, sexual desire all starts in the brain. Your genitals rely on the chemicals in your brain to get your libido revved up and to start the blood flow that makes them swell and become ready for some loving. But depression, which is a form of mental illness, screws with these sexy chemicals. That can kill your excitement desire as well as actually doing the deed itself.
The first step in working on your sexual problems is to treat your depression, hands down. Luckilyn there are a bunch of different medications out there that can help pull you out of that dark place. But, it also isn’t so simple, which therefore leads us to …
It’s just a very cruel fact that while you’ve taken measures to treat your depression, the meds you take make your libido go down the drain. This is super common — it’s one of the main reasons that people stop taking their medication or change them (anywhere from 30 to 70 per cent of users do).
There’s still a lot of research going on in figuring out exactly what causes depression and how antidepressants work to fix it, so it’s still not exactly known how these meds affect sexual desire. But researchers do believe that it may have something do with multiple brain pathways being affected — specifically, an increase in seratonin and a decrease in dopamine. Seratonin is said to decrease both desire and the ability to orgasm (well that’s no fun). And many antidepressants nowadays affect the level of seratonin in your system (SSRIs) — so that’s probably why you’re libido is extra low when you’re taking these meds.
Fortunately, some antidepressants have a higher chance of causing a low libido than others, so you can talk to your doctor about changing up your meds. Even lowering the dosage can help, as awell as taking your meds after you have sex so that the levels in your body are lowest right as you’re getting hot and heavy. But just don’t try to mess with dosage levels and changing stuff up without talking to your doctor about it first. Doing that yourself without consultation from a professional could make things worse, and you don’t want that!