Five common reasons your sex drive is low and how to sort it out

A dip in your sex drive can be distressing.

Not only will you deal with a mismatch in libido, if you’re in a relationship, but you might also struggle with low self-esteem, increased stress, and a loss of your sense of self.

All that means that when your desire for sex drops, you’ll want to nail down a cause and sort it out, sharpish.

It’s worth talking to your doctor about a persistent decline, but if this is more of a momentary blip, it might be down to one of these five common causes, as explained by Dr Rhianna McClymont, the lead GP at Livi.

Ahead, Rhianna breaks down frequent triggers of a low libido, while psychologist Beatrice Lindéh talks us through how to cope with each one.

Your contraceptive pill

Dr McClymont says: ‘Any contraception that contains additional hormones, like the combined contraceptive pill and hormonal coil, can affect the natural balance of your own hormones and therefore affect libido.’

The answer is not to just ditch your contraception. Ensuring sex is safe is important, even if you’re having less of it.

If you’re on a new form of contraception, give it a few months to settle – you may find your sex drive issues sort themselves out.

But if they keep going, talk with your GP or gynaecologist about your options.

Relationship issues

‘The state of your relationship affects libido a lot,’ says Beatrice. ‘Sex drive has its origin in the mind, so if you’re feeling down, your libido may be lower.

‘A relationship where there are issues that are not dealt with can also cause the body to entirely lose libido, due to stress.’

The solution here isn’t a quick fix. If there are ongoing relationship issues, you’ll need to work through those to get your sex drive back on track.

It’s worth considering therapy to open up those lines of communication.

Poor mental health

Depression, anxiety, stress – all of these are major sex-drive-killers. Again, this cause doesn’t have a quick fix. Talk to a professional about therapy and medication options.

Beatrice also recommends keeping up with other forms of physical intimacy to keep your relationship strong while your sex drive takes a dive.

‘Hugging, showering together, or just lying naked in bed together can be enough for a while, and will keep you feeling close until your libido returns,’ she suggests.

You’ve just had a baby

‘After childbirth, it is natural for your libido to be lower as oestrogen levels drop,’ says Dr McClymont. “Libido can be particularly low in women who have had a difficult birth — for example, trauma or tears to the vagina — as sex may also be painful.’

In this case, Beatrice recommends: ‘Try spending time with your partner where you focus on being physically intimate without it necessarily ending in penetration. Read sexy stories to each other, or just lay close together in bed.

‘Don’t stress about it and just keep showing your partner that you love them.’

Medications

Some commonly prescribed medications can reduce your sex drive, so keep an eye on any changes in that area when you start a new treatment.

Dr Rhianna says: ‘SSRIs, which are used to treat depression, often reduce your libido. orticosteroids, blood pressure medications — particularly diuretics — and antipsychotic drugs can all also affect libido.’

If you’re experiencing any negative side effects, low sex drive included, from your medication, talk with your GP.

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice a happy, healthy sex life just to get on with everything else.

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