Many folks with a sex drive that has declined often feel they’re they only ones. They’re not. Sexual desire disorders are quite common: analysis of data from the National Health and Social Life Survey found nearly a third of women and 15 percent of men lacked sexual interest for several months out of the year.
A low libido is also not an aging problem. Plenty of elderly folks are still sexually active, as evidenced by tales of mate swapping and sexually transmitted infections running rampant through nursing homes. No, low libido can strike anyone—at any age. Some common factors that can affect sex drive include:
- Side effects of prescription medication
- Low testosterone levels (both for men and women)
- Too much or too little exercise
- Depression or anxiety
- A lack of intimacy or other trouble in your relationship
- Alcohol and drug use
This list isn’t all-inclusive, and reasons differ for everybody. But these factors can be a good jumping off point for identifying potential causes of low libido and finding ways to improve your sex drive. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Talk to your partner. Men and women experiencing a lowered sex drive may be embarrassed and not want to talk about what’s happening. But avoiding sex may leave your partner feeling unwanted, leading to tension in your relationship. Open up to your partner. Have an honest conversation about your experience, your needs and how your partner can help. Sometimes, talking about what’s going on with your sex drive can release some of the shame.
Make intimacy the focus. Intimacy isn’t just being physical with your mate. Emotional intimacy is a crucial part of any healthy relationship. When that connection is missing, sex drive can decrease. Instead of focusing on having sex, be intentional about being intimate with your partner. This can be simple—snuggling on the couch while watching a movie—or more intense, such as conversations that go beyond a recitation of your activities that day. Don’t sleep on the way a romantic date can bring back the magic. Even if your intimacy doesn’t progress beyond hand holding, feeling close to one another can lessen the impact of a low libido on your relationship.
Make lifestyle changes. A diminished sex drive can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, poor eating habits or sitting too much. Healthy lifestyle choices—eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and managing your emotional well-being—can help help you feel healthier overall and balance the hormones that promote sexual desire. But if you suspect your lack of sex drive is being caused by underlying health issues, talk to your doctor.