Loss of Libido, Part 1: What is libido?

“Excuse me, have you seen my libido?”

If you find yourself wondering why you do not feel like engaging sexually, being intimate, or getting touchy-feely with your partner, you might have a dwindling or loss of libido. Our “libido” is our sexual desire and drive. Libido is something unique to the human that owns it and it changes daily. Biological factors, psychological factors, and social factors all affect the libido in humans. Biologically, our libido is controlled by our sex hormones like dopamine and testosterone. Psychological and social factors like relationships, life stressors, family and job stress, plus personality traits also affect the libido.

On top of those reasons, other things like medical illness and underlying conditions can be revealed with the first signs of loss of libido. Pharmaceuticals and other drugs can also dim your libido light, along with long-term treatment for many serious, life-long medical conditions, like cancer. Most people going through chemotherapy and radiation report having some loss of libido, either temporarily during treatment, or permanently after treatment. For this type of loss of libido, there are many things that help get your libido back on-board with you and working towards the end goal you do desire: being ready and wanting to get it on.

Loss of libido can happen in both men and women, with varying reasons and causes, including medication. Birth control has been noted of being a keen libido destroyer for women, due to the rush of hormones the pills contain. For men, beta blockers are reported to cause the most disruption, and certain hair-growth serums also have the same effect. Illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis, Scleroderma or Gastroparesis are also libido killers because they cause intense body pain and malnutrition, which disrupts our hormones and naturally occurring body systems and thought processes. Other types of medications also diminish your desire. Some of those being linked to loss of libido are SSRIs, antidepressants, antihistamines, street drugs, anti-seizure medication, opioids and benzodiazepines.

There are also reasons for loss of libido that just roll along with life. During pregnancy and menopause, women might not be as sexual or desire much extra touching. Depression and mental health are other very important factors when considering your sex drive. Mental health is often an overlooked aspect when someone first realizes they may have libido issues and one of the simpler to address and manage. If you are having issues with depression and loss of libido, please consult your physician for assistance. As adults, we need to make sure we are getting routine and the right amount of sleep per night. Lack of sleep is one of the more common issues facing many adults in our world, and one of the first things to throw our bodies into trouble when we do not get enough. Lack of sleep will eventually end with loss of libido because you will not have the energy needed to act out your desired sexual acts.

The loss of libido can be devastating to a person and might feel as if they have lost a part of themselves. Especially if their “old-self” was very sexual and interested in intimacy regularly, and now with the loss and lessening of desire, brings the feelings of loneliness and being a failure. Here are a few ways to help boost your libido and sex drive on your own.

  • Take time to work on your emotional connection with your partner. Make special time to reconnect, discuss desires, and stabilize your relationship. Continue to get to know each other as often as you need to, over and over if that is what it takes.
  • Freshen up your sexual routines. Take a class, learn new tips, try something completely new. Routines are great to have, until things fizzle. Introducing something new can ignite new and old feelings and open your world to entirely new ways of pleasure.
  • Medication Options: Talk to you doctor before making any major changes and stopping or starting any medication. Check into non-hormonal birth control methods and check in with your doctor about all of your prescribed medications, their side effects, and any other possible options.
  • Work on minimizing life’s stress and clean up your lifestyle. Smoking, eating poorly, drinking too much alcohol, taking street drugs, over-working oneself, and even worrying too much can offset our libido. It seems so easy, but that is not always true. Sometimes lifestyle changes are the hardest changes to make at all.
  • Communicate and prioritize intimate time with your partner. This might not include sexual intercourse immediately, but instead gentle massaging and touching. Communication is the lubrication in any relationship. Have you stayed up all night talking like you did when you were teenagers? Think of creative ways to communicate and give it a try!
  • Just do it! No, really. If you have scheduled or find yourself in an intimately charged situation with your partner, even if you’re not feeling one-hundred percent, stick with it, and give it a try. Sometimes all you need is a gentle start!

Remember, if at any time you become frustrated and feel stuck in this rut, please reach out to your health care providers or seek out help from your local adult education workshop classes to help you re-learn and find out what is out there to help when the libido sinks. Loss of libido is a very common problem across the globe and nothing to be ashamed of. Still curious about the specifics on libido? Check out our articles on libido and how to reignite the fire in your relationship and life!

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