Low Sex Drive
Dr. Britney Blair, Psy.D., CBSM
Last Medically Reviewed 11.21.22
Almost every man or woman will experience low libido at one time or another. The ebb and flow of sexual desire is part of what makes us human. But when decreased libido starts to cause stress and frustration for you or between you and your partner, it’s time to look into it more closely.
What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder?
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) - otherwise known as the loss of libido or reduced sexual desire - is a common problem that affects many men and women. Put simply, it describes a decreased interest in sex over a period of six months or more.
If you are someone who is experiencing low sexual desire, it can be helpful to identify what type of desire has dropped. Is it Situational Low Desire, where you lack sexual desire for your partner? Or is it HSDD, where you lack any desire for sex at all - including solo sex (or masturbation)?
When left unaddressed, HSDD in women or men can cause what is sometimes called a “dead bedroom”. I prefer to avoid this phrase however. Because while our disinterest in sex, unresponsiveness to our partner’s sexual suggestions, or avoidance of sex altogether can leave your partner feeling frustrated and depressed - these situations are often reversible with the correct treatment.
Fortunately, there are a number of options available on the market. Namely, the Lover app which the FDA has stated is a safe side-effect-free treatment option for low desire. Private, pill-free and developed by myself and my team of expert Doctors.
What Causes Low Libido in Men and Women?
So what causes low sexual desire? There are actually a number of potential causes:
Learning about the cause of your low libido is the first step to finding a solution.
Let’s focus on the psychological factors that may contribute to HSDD in women and men.
Stress & anxiety can impact your sex drive
Our mental health has a massive impact on our sex drive. Feelings of stress and anxiety alert your brain to danger, which puts it into fight or flight mode. Not only does this make it harder to want sex, but it also diverts blood away from your genitals and makes it harder to get aroused. This same reaction can lead to Erectile Dysfunction, Anorgasmia and even pain during sex.
Stress & anxiety are often part of everyday life, but by putting in place coping mechanisms and buffers between our stressful personal or work lives and our sex lives, we can better manage the impact. The Lover app has a number of exercises to help you do just that.
If body image or self-esteem is something you occasionally experience, keep in mind that this could be having an impact on your sexual appetite.
Feelings of self-doubt can create anxiety about rejection during partnered sex, which in turn can shut down our natural sexual response cycle.
These fears can also make it difficult to drop out of your head and into your body during sex itself, making it hard to enjoy yourself. By practicing mindfulness exercises, you can instead ensure you’re being present for pleasure.
More common in people experiencing Situational Desire, relationship factors can have a huge impact on your sex drive. These relationship factors falls into three main buckets.
Firstly, the stage of your relationship. It is normal for spontaneous desire between a monogamous couple to dissipate within 6 to 18 months of their relationship. This is nothing to do with the relationship “match”, and everything to do with the sexual side of your brain being hardwired to novelty.
While this isn’t in itself a drop in sex drive, it can often cause a very common problem called desire discrepancy, where one partner desires sex more or less frequently than the other. Left unaddressed, this can eventually cause issues that contribute to a lowered sex drive.
Secondly, there are relationship stressors. Every relationship has its highs and lows, and it is completely normal during the lows for this to create stress - which impacts your sex drive.
Finally, there is the quality of the sex you’re having. Often, people don’t lose their desire for sex. They just lose their desire for the sex they’re having.
Substance abuse, drugs, or alcohol can also impair your nervous system and lead to physical fatigue. This can often impact, and significantly subdue, your desire for sex.
Lack of sleep is another common cause for a decreased sex drive. When your body is tired, it may prioritize recovery over sex!
And of course, aging is also a significant libido inhibitor. Menopause in women causes vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse, which can make sex less pleasurable and therefore desirable. Men may also experience hormonal changes that may cause a drop in libido.
Some chronic illnesses may also cause low libido and sexual arousal disorder.
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Chronic organ failure (lung, heart, kidney, and liver)
Certain medications may directly cause low libido. For example, anti-depressants can result in a suppressed sex drive in both men and women.
These are other medications that may lower libido:
Opioid pain relievers
Chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer
Antifungal medication called ketoconazole
GERD medicine cimetidine
Birth control pills show some evidence of reducing sex drive
Whatever the cause of your low libido, addressing the issue is always advisable. You don’t have to suffer through a sexless relationship. Help is available for you.
What are the Symptoms of Low Libido?
Fluctuations in sexual desire are pretty normal. However, when there is a noticeable drop in your sex drive for a period of six months or more, it is time to take action. Acknowledging your symptoms is often the first step of the recovery process for low libido in men and women.
Here are the symptoms to watch out for:
Very little to zero interest in sexual activity
No sexual thoughts or fantasies, whether you are alone or with your partner
A lack of interest or excitement at sexual material which would have previously got you aroused (e.g. sex scenes in movies, books or online)
An unusual lack of pleasure when you do have sex
Treatment Options for Low Libido
There are a number of things you can do to boost your libido and get your sexual relationship back on track.
Simply living a healthier lifestyle can have a big impact - not only on your level of sexual desire, but also on the quality of the sex you’re having. Eating healthy and doing regular exercise are both known to be natural and significant libido boosters.
However in many cases, you may need more targeted treatment solutions. When your sexual desire has been low for some time, you may want to consider sex therapy or relationship therapy.
This is normally done face-to-face with a qualified professional and can be highly effective. However, it can also be costly. Some people also struggle with the embarrassment of talking to another person about their sexual problems - which is why I and my team of Doctors created the Lover app.
Download Lover Today
If you’re looking for an easy & effective approach, without the cost or embarrassment of traditional sex therapy, you might want to consider the Lover app.
Built by Doctors in San Francisco, Lover creates a personalized journey of highly effective exercises to complete over 8-12 weeks.
These are exactly the same exercises that sex therapists, relationship counselors, and clinical psychologists have used for decades. And they work. 94% of people who start our Driving Up Desire or Passion For Your Partner courses, report feeling better about their sex drive within one week.
You can complete the courses from the privacy of your own bedroom, and there is no medication involved. Even better, you’ll not only learn how to Drive Up Desire, but also how to become a better Lover in the process.
Described by the national press as both an on-demand sex therapist in your pocket - and a “personal trainer for your sex life” - Lover is the new way to get your sex life back on track, without breaking the bank.
How does the course work?Your course is a series of exercises and lessons, based on the science of Cognititve Behavioural Psychology, Clinical Psychology and traditional Sex Therapy. It works by training your mind & body with new behavioural patterns, which allow you to leave anxiety behind and focus on pleasure during partnered sex. Not only will you find your erections improving, you'll also become a much better Lover in the process.
How long does it take?There are 11 levels, and we recommend completing a maximum of two levels per week. So it is possible to complete the course in six weeks. However most students go slower than this. After each level you'll be asked to assess your progress, and to only move on if you're ready. This is to ensure you're getting the maximum benefit from the course.
When will my erections start to improve?This could take anything from one to seven weeks, depending on your situation. As long as you stick with the activities and complete them at the recommended pace, 94% of men will see an improvement before the end of the course.
What changes can I expect to see?First and foremost, you'll enjoy more consistent, stronger and long-lasting erections during partnered sex. You can also expect to feel more positive about sex, and be better at managing anxiety (or that internal monologue!) both before and during sex. And finally, you'll also learn how to become a better lover to your partner, with new tips & techniques designed to drive up pleasure for you both.
What if it doesn't work?As long as you've completed every activity, if you haven't seen the changes you wanted then we'll be happy to refund you 100% of your money. Just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.
How can I contact you?We're always available via email at email@example.com We always aim to respond within 24 hours on weekdays, but often much faster.
What's Lover?Lover is one of the world's leading sexual wellness companies, founded by Dr. Britney Blair, Jas Bagniewski and Nick Pendle. Our iOS app launched in 2020 and has since been downloaded more than 250,000 times across 170 countries. We are backed by some of the leading VCs in America, including Lerer Hippeau.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ty Canning.
Written by Dr. Britney Blair, Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Lover CSO on February 15th 2022.
Next review date: July 15th 2023.
Lover App Inc used strict sourcing guidelines and only draws from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. Links are to primary sources - including studies, scientific references, and statistics - within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles.