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What's the Connection Between Libido and Hormones?

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have an insatiable sex drive, and others can go without sex for weeks, or even months? According to several studies, including one conducted by the University of Chicago, sexual desire depends on many factors, including how you feel about your partner and the overall quality of your relationship with them. Your hormones, however, may also play a role in how often you want to have sex, and your interest in sex. The key is to understand your endocrine system and how it regulates your sex drive.

Sex Drive is Not Just Physical

Let's get this out of the way first: desire isn’t just about hormones. It also involves our thoughts and emotions. When we feel emotionally secure with a partner or feel like we can trust them, we feel better about ourselves and therefore become more open to sexual activity. This is why intimacy and the erotic is so important to maintain a sexual connection, and keep up your desire levels. If you’re feeling anxiety or stress related to your relationship, it may be difficult for you to want to make love with your partner and reignite desire even if you are physically attracted to them.

How Testosterone Affects Men's Sex Drive

Testosterone is considered one of many hormones responsible for stimulating libido, or sex drive. The idea that taking testosterone-boosting supplements will boost your sex drive is partially true: this also depends on your natural aging process, underlying health issues, and medications.

Research shows that, for men, testosterone can lower by up to 2% every year after the age of 40. In men, testosterone levels tend to peak around age 20 and then slowly decline as they age. But if those levels dip too low—which often happens as men enter middle age—it can result in reduced bone density, depression, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, difficulty concentrating on work tasks, loss of muscle mass and strength, mood swings, reduced sexual desire and function (including a reduced amount of semen volume), weight gain around abdominal area instead of hips/buttocks/thighs due to visceral fat accumulation related to insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Your sexual functioning and endocrine system are also supported by exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management. There are many ways to try hormone therapy: by injection, medications, If you want to increase your libido, make sure to consult a medical professional before starting hormone therapy.

How Estrogen Affects Women's Sex Drive

Estrogen is a hormone that plays a role in regulating female sex drive. For women, understanding fluctuations in libido can be complicated. Sexual satisfaction is extremely important to sexual desire: are you enjoying the sex you're having? Does your partner care about your orgasms as much as their own, and spend enough time focusing on you? Make sure to address this aspect of desire as well. Now, back to hormones: estrogen plays a critical role in female sexual desire, and estrogen levels fluctuate through all phases of life (especially pregnancy and menopause).

On days when estrogen levels are higher, women tend to have more desire for sex. This can happen as early as puberty, which means it’s crucial to understand how changes in hormones can affect your libido as you age. In postmenopausal women, estrogen levels drop precipitously, which often leads to a reduction in sexual desire. Estrogen also naturally fluctuates throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, and when estrogen is low, it can lead to symptoms like vaginal dryness or thinning, which can cause pain during intercourse. A study in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society found that women with lower estrogen levels had decreased desire for sexual activity, masturbation, genital stimulation, and fantasy. If you think your hormones might be affecting your libido, talk to your doctor about what types of natural options are available to help bring things back into balance.

What to Know About Hormones and Desire

Hormones play a big role in your day-to-day desire levels, but remember that a hormonal imbalance isn’t always the culprit of a low libido: For both men and women with normal hormone production, there are plenty of factors beyond physiology that play roles in sex drive. Stress, depression or anxiety can all take their tolls on libido through increased stress or lack of sleep—and often people don't realize they're experiencing them until they try to get busy one night only to find themselves totally uninterested. If something doesn't feel right inside or out, paying attention can be key in regaining or maintaining your interest in physical intimacy.


Did you know that the Lover app is a part of the FDA's Safer Technologies Program as a medication-free way to treat issues like low libido? With live 1:1 coaching and therapeutic courses designed by real doctors, the path to a better sex life is easier than ever. Download it here.


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