The 6 causes of low libido – according to the NHS
A LOW libido can be worrisome, but it’s a common problem that actually affects most men and women at some point in their lives.
In most cases, a sluggish libido isn’t cause for concern, but it might be worth looking into some of the possible triggers if you want to get your mojo back quickly.
According to research, up to one in three women and one in five men in the UK will experience a low libido in their lifetime.
The NHS says some of the main causes of low libido include:
1. Relationship issues
Relationship problems are among the most common causes of loss of libido.
If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy to become too familiar with your partner, which can prevent you from seeing them in a sexual way.
How to fix it
The NHS suggests relationship advice to help you reignite the fire.
Your GP can refer you both to psychosexual counseling or relationship therapy.
Both types of therapy can help you and your partner discuss any sexual and emotional issues that may be causing your lack of libido.
2. Mental Health
Any mental health issue, whether it’s stress, anxiety, or depression, can be all-consuming and impact every aspect of your life, including your libido.
How to fix it
Talk to your GP about your mental health, they can offer you treatment options, from talking therapies to medication, if needed.
If you have a partner, it’s also worth sharing your concerns with them, as they can provide you with comfort and support.
Once you feel better it is likely that your libido will return and if not it is worth seeing your GP again.
3. Pregnancy and having a baby
Having a baby or being pregnant can disrupt your hormones.
Taking care of a baby can also be very stressful and tiring, which can leave you less interested in sex.
How to fix it
Some studies show that most women are likely to be interested in sexual activity within six months of giving birth.
However, many women have lower levels of sexual pleasure and emotional satisfaction up to 18 months postpartum.
Having a newborn can be exhausting, which means sex might be the last thing on your mind.
Likewise, there can be physical setbacks. Your body heals from labor and delivery, and this process may be slower if you’ve had a perineal tear or are recovering from a C-section.
Some women may also fear that intercourse will be painful, and for many of them, the first intercourse after childbirth can be uncomfortable.
So there’s no pressure to get back to sex right away – give yourself time to heal and find your mojo.
During and after menopause, changes in levels of estrogen and testosterone, the sex hormones, can affect libido.
Testosterone, considered by some experts to be the hormone primarily responsible for libido, drops throughout a woman’s lifetime.
Fabulous Menopause Matters
It is estimated that one in five people in the UK currently suffer from it.
Yet menopause is still whispered in low tones as if it was something to be embarrassed about.
The stigma attached to the transition means that women have suffered in silence for centuries.
The Sun is determined to change that by launching the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign to give the taboo a long-awaited kick and give women the support they need.
The campaign has three objectives:
- Make HRT free in England
- Ensure that every workplace has a menopause policy to provide support
- To break taboos around menopause
The campaign has been backed by a host of influential figures including Baroness Karren Brady CBE, celebrities Lisa Snowdon, Jane Moore, Michelle Heaton, Zoe Hardman, Saira Khan, Trisha Goddard, as well as Dr Louise Newson, Carolyn Harris MP, Jess Phillips MP , MP Caroline Nokes and MP Rachel Maclean.
Exclusive research commissioned by Fabulous, which surveyed 2,000 British women aged 45-65 who are going through or have gone through menopause, found that 49% of women suffered from depression, while 7% felt suicidal during menopause.
50% of respondents said there is not enough support for postmenopausal women, which is simply not enough. It’s time to change that
At the same time, when a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen level drops sharply.
Falling estrogen not only affects libido, but can also reduce natural vaginal secretions that help make sex comfortable.
This can lead to dry vaginal tissues which can make intercourse painful.
Pain during sex is also a key sign of cervical cancer, so it’s important to get this checked out if you’re concerned.
How to fix it
It may be worth talking to your GP about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if you are going through menopause, as studies show that women who take HRT report higher sex drive.
Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, hormonal birth control, and antidepressants, can impact your libido.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the UK.
Antidepressants can make it difficult to wake up, maintain arousal, and achieve orgasm.
Some people taking SSRIs may not have an orgasm at all.
How to fix it
Speak to your GP about how your medications may affect your libido.
Your doctor may suggest that you change your medication or type of birth control.
However, it should be kept in mind that your low libido may be the result of the disease for which you are being treated.
For example, depression – which can be treated with SSRIs – can lead to low libido.
6. Drinking too much alcohol
While a cheeky glass of wine can get you in the mood, long-term drug and alcohol abuse can lead to low sex drive.
Indeed, alcohol has been proven to reduce testosterone levels, especially in men.
Current guidelines state that men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week and should abstain from drinking several days per week.
This quiz can help you identify whether or not you have a problem with alcohol.
How does it solve the problem
Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink is a good place to start.
If it’s a struggle and you feel you’re abusing drugs and alcohol, it’s worth seeing your GP for further help.