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Loss of libido (sex drive) – Illnesses & conditions

Loss of libido (sex drive) is a common problem affecting up to one in five men – and even more women – at some point in their life.

It’s often linked to professional and personal stress, or important life-changing events such as pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

However, an unexpected loss of libido – especially when it lasts for a long time or keeps returning – can also indicate an underlying personal, medical or lifestyle problem, which can be upsetting to both partners in a relationship.

If you’re concerned about your libido, especially if your diminished sex drive distresses you or affects your relationship, make an appointment to see your GP to discuss any underlying causes and possible medical or psychological treatments.

Doctors at your nearest family planning clinic, Integrated Sexual Health clinic, or Contraceptive and Sexual Health (CASH) clinic may also be able to help.

In the meantime, you may find the following information useful. It explains some of the most common reasons for loss of libido.

Relationship problems

The first thing you should consider is whether you’re happy in your relationship. Do you have any doubts or worries that may be the real reason for your loss of sexual desire?

If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you may have become overfamiliar with your partner and feel a degree of erotic dissatisfaction. This is quite common and can have a negative effect on your sex drive.

Relationship problems are among the most common causes of loss of libido. For help and advice, you may find it useful to contact the relationship support charity Relationships Scotland.

Another thing to consider is whether the problem is a performance issue that makes sex difficult or unfulfilling. For example, many men experience ejaculation problems or erectile dysfunction, and women can experience painful sex or vaginismus (when the muscles around the vagina tighten involuntarily before penetration). See your GP if these problems are an issue, as they’re often treatable.

Your GP may feel you will benefit from psychosexual counselling. This is a form of relationship therapy where you and your partner can discuss any sexual or emotional issues that may be contributing to your loss of libido. 

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion can be all-consuming and have a major impact on your happiness. If you feel you’re constantly tired, stressed or anxious, you may need to make some lifestyle changes or speak to your GP for advice.

For more information and advice read about beating stress at work and 10 stress busters


Depression is very different from simply feeling unhappy, miserable or fed up for a short while. It’s a serious illness where you may have feelings of extreme sadness that can last for a long time. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, including your sex life.

You’re probably depressed if you’re feeling low or hopeless, or you’ve lost interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy. In this case it’s really important to see your GP. They may feel you’ll benefit from antidepressants.

However, low sex drive can also be a side effect of many antidepressants. Speak to your GP if you’re already taking antidepressants and think they may be causing your problems, as you may be able to switch to a different medication.

Drugs and alcohol

Drinking excess amounts of alcohol can reduce your sex drive, so it’s a good idea to moderate your intake to no more than three to four units a day if you’re a man, and no more than two to three units a day if you’re a woman.

Read more about alcohol misuse and find out how to get support for a drinking problem.

Drug misuse is also linked to a loss of sex drive. Read more about drugs for information and advice.

Getting older

Many people lose some interest in sex as they get older, mainly as a result of falling levels of sex hormones, age-related health problems, or the side effects of medication.

Older men especially can develop low testosterone levels, which can cause fatigue, depression and a reduced sex drive.

Speak to your GP if you’re concerned about this. They may carry out a blood test to check your testosterone level and can tell you about treatments if your level is low.

As women start to approach the menopause, levels of the female hormone oestrogen begin to fall, which can affect libido. Women can also suffer from low testosterone levels, especially after a hysterectomy. Testosterone is another hormone that can affect sex drive.

Speak to your GP if you’re concerned the menopause may be having an effect on your libido. They may be able to offer you a trial of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if it’s suitable for you.

Hormonal problems

Less commonly, low libido may be caused by an underactive thyroid. This is where your thyroid gland (located in the neck) doesn’t produce enough hormones. Common signs of an underactive thyroid are tiredness, weight gain and feeling depressed.

An underactive thyroid is easily treated by taking hormone tablets to replace the hormones your thyroid isn’t making. Learn more about treating underactive thyroid.

A hormonal problem called hyperprolactinaemia can also have a negative effect on your sex drive. This is where you have a raised level of a substance called prolactin in your blood.


Some women have reported a decreased sex drive while using some types of hormonal contraception, such as:

However, side effects of these contraceptives tend to improve within a few months and they’re generally well tolerated.

Speak to your GP or local contraceptive (or family planning) clinic if you’re worried your contraception is causing a loss of libido. They may suggest trying an alternative method.

Read more about choosing a method of contraception

Other medical conditions

Long-term (chronic) medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity can also have a negative effect on your libido.


Certain medications can sometimes reduce libido, such as:

  • medication for high blood pressure, including diuretics
  • medications for depression, including SSRI antidepressants
  • medications for seizures (fits)
  • medications commonly used to treat psychosis (a mental condition where a person can’t distinguish between reality and their imagination), such as haloperidol, as well as many other conditions
  • medicines such as cimetidine, finasteride and cyproterone, which block the effects or reduce the production of testosterone

See your GP if you’re worried that medication you’re taking is responsible for your reduced sex drive. They can review your medication and switch your prescription to something less likely to affect your libido if necessary.

Loss of libido (reduced sex drive)

Loss of libido (sex drive) is a common problem that affects many men and women at some point in their life.

It’s often linked to relationship issues, stress or tiredness, but can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as reduced hormone levels.

Everyone’s sex drive is different and there’s no such thing as a “normal” libido. But if you find your lack of desire for sex is distressing or it’s affecting your relationship, it’s a good idea to get help.

This page explains where you can get help and some common causes of a low libido.

Where to get help and advice

Try to not feel embarrassed about getting help. Lots of people experience problems with their sex drive and seeking advice can be the first step towards resolving the issue.

Common causes of a low libido

Relationship problems

One of the first things to consider is whether you’re happy in your relationship. Do you have any doubts or worries that could be behind your loss of sexual desire?

A low libido can be the result of:

  • being in a long-term relationship and becoming overfamiliar with your partner
  • loss of sexual attraction
  • unresolved conflict and frequent arguments
  • poor communication
  • difficulty trusting each other
  • physical sexual problems

A GP may be able to refer you and your partner for relationship counselling if you’re having persistent problems, or you may wish to contact Relate for support and advice.

Sexual problems

Another thing to consider is whether the problem is a physical issue that makes sex difficult or unfulfilling.

For example, a low sex drive can be the result of:

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion can be all-consuming and have a major impact on your happiness, including your sex drive.

If you feel you’re constantly tired, stressed or anxious, you may need to make some lifestyle changes or speak to a GP for advice.

You may find some of the following information and advice useful:


Depression is very different from simply feeling unhappy, miserable or fed up for a short time. It’s a serious illness that interferes with all aspects of your life, including your sex life.

In addition to low libido, signs of depression can include:

  • feelings of extreme sadness that don’t go away
  • feeling low or hopeless
  • losing interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy

It’s important to see a GP if you think you might be depressed. They can advise you about the main treatments for depression, such as talking therapies or antidepressants.

A low sex drive can also be a side effect of antidepressants. Speak to a GP if you think this may be causing your problems.

Getting older and the menopause

A reduced sex drive is not an inevitable part of ageing, but it’s something many men and women experience as they get older.

There can be many reasons for this, including:

  • lower levels of sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone) just before, during and after the menopause in women
  • lower levels of sex hormone (testosterone) in men
  • age-related health problems, including mobility problems
  • side effects of medicine

Speak to a GP if you’re concerned about this. They may ask about any other symptoms you have, and sometimes they may arrange for a blood test to check your hormone levels.

There are treatments to increase hormone levels if low levels are causing problems, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with or without testosterone treatment for women going through the menopause.

Read more about sex as you get older.

Pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding

Loss of interest in sex is common during pregnancy, after giving birth and while breastfeeding.

This can be because of:

  • changes to your hormone levels
  • changes to your body and issues with your body image
  • exhaustion
  • painful sex caused by an injury, such as a cut or tear, during childbirth
  • changed priorities, such as focusing on looking after your baby

These issues may improve over time. Speak to a GP if your sex drive does not return and it’s a problem for you.

It may also help to read about sex in pregnancy and sex after giving birth.

Underlying health problems

Any long-term medical condition can affect your sex drive. This may be a result of the physical and emotional strain these conditions can cause, or it may be a side effect of treatment.

For example, a low libido can be associated with:

Speak to a GP or specialist if you think your low libido may be the result of an underlying medical condition or treatment.

Medicine and contraception

Certain medicines can sometimes reduce libido, including:

Check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if low libido is listed as a possible side effect.

See a GP if you think a medicine is affecting your sex drive. They may be able to switch you to a different medicine.

Alcohol and drugs

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a long period can reduce your sex drive, so it’s a good idea to not drink excessive amounts.

Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 alcohol units a week on a regular basis.

Read some tips on cutting down on alcohol and find out where to get support for a drinking problem if you think you need it.

Drug misuse is also linked to a loss of sex drive. Find out where to get help for drug addiction.

Page last reviewed: 06 January 2020
Next review due: 06 January 2023

Causes Of Low Sex Drive In Women — And How To Increase Your Libido – OBGYN Associates Of Birmingham Alabama

None of us want to admit we’ve lost that lovin’ feeling or that we’ve started to notice a low sex drive. We may have the best partner on earth and feel closer than ever, and yet … libido can be an elusive thing as we age. Stress, hormonal imbalances, weight gain — these are all issues for women of a certain age — and they don’t just affect the way we feel, they can affect our relationships with the ones we love.

You may be going through a low point in your sex life, and that’s ok. It happens to the best of us. But, that doesn’t mean you have to live with it! Low sex drive in women is often the result of underlying health issues that can be identified and corrected with the right combination of lifestyle changes and medical intervention. Continue reading to find out why you may have lost your cravings for sex and what you can do to get them back.

Causes of low sex drive in women

For most women, hormones are at the heart of a lackluster libido. In fact, hormonal imbalances are the cause of 70% of low-libido cases. Our hormones change as we age — especially during perimenopause and menopause. Hormones are constantly changing, and when they do, your libido changes, too. The good thing is that if hormones are behind your low libido, there are ways to balance them and make them work for you and your sex life.

The following are some of the hormones that could be to blame for a lackluster sex drive.


Cortisol is the stress hormone. When stress levels spike, so does cortisol. When you’re chronically stressed out, cortisol is chronically elevated, and this can lead to low libido. This particular scenario can happen at any age. Elevated stress happens to most modern women before perimenopause, and often so does a low sex drive. If you’ve been running yourself ragged, and feel fried all the time, chances are your cortisol is too high. Other signs of chronically elevated cortisol include:

  • More cravings for carbs and sugar than normal
  • Running on overdrive and feeling overwhelmed in the process
  • Gaining belly fat and weight
  • Sleep issues
  • Skin breakouts
  • Blood sugar instability
  • Feeling exhausted


Estrogen is the female hormone. When estrogen is balanced, all is good. Your period arrives like clockwork, your sex drive is fluid and stable, and you glow in rosy femininity. Your moods are also relatively stable. But estrogen can rise and fall, and in the process, cause fluctuations in sexual fervor. If your estrogen levels are out of whack, you might experience:

  • Bloating
  • Migraine headaches
  • Rosacea
  • PMS
  • Moodiness
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal atrophy


While testosterone is primarily known as the male hormone, women have this hormone, too. It can rise, fall and become imbalanced — especially if you’re taking the pill for birth control. Taking oral contraception decreases testosterone in the body, and this decrease often leads to a lower sex drive. It’s ironic that taking the pill causes low sex drive in women, but that’s the case. If your testosterone levels are out of balance, you’re bound to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Acne or more skin breakouts than usual
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Facial hair
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Irregular periods
  • Extreme muscular soreness after weight training
  • Low self-confidence

Low thyroid function

The little thyroid gland located in the neck area is responsible for a lot of functions in the body — sex drive included. When it’s low functioning, you’re bound to experience a decreased drive in just about everything you do, including making love to your partner.

Low thyroid levels are often a result of chronically high cortisol. They may also be linked to autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s. Endocrine disruptors that get into the bloodstream may also be responsible for  low thyroid. If low thyroid function is the cause of a decreased libido for you, the following symptoms might arise:

  • Depression and mood swings
  • Dry, thinning, tangly hair
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning eyelashes
  • Loss of hair around the outer part of the eyebrow
  • Poor circulation in your hands and feet
  • Morning fatigue
  • Headaches

How to increase your libido

Now that you know the possible causes of low sex drive in women, let’s take a look at how to increase your libido. A less than enthusiastic sex drive does not need to be the norm as we age. You can take control of your hormonal health and work to decrease stress levels.

To decrease cortisol in the body, it’s important to make time for self-care. This doesn’t necessarily mean bubble baths and pedicures. Self care is whatever relaxes you and makes you feel most like yourself. This could be a daily walk on a nature trail or it could be regularly devoting time to a creative project or a hobby. Yoga and meditation are really good for releasing tension, while a regular exercise routine is essential for a healthy libido as well.

Herbal remedies may help as well. If your cortisol levels are abnormally high or low, you can try taking an herb called ashwagandha, which helps reduce cortisol in the body and improve resistance to stress.

If low estrogen is the issue, you can add maca powder to your smoothies. Maca has been shown to boost libido in both men and women.

Hormone replacement therapy

It’s possible that hormone replacement therapy is the best bet for your hormones if you’re in the perimenopausal or menopausal phase of life. HRT has helped many women balance their hormones and get back in the sexual swing of things. Consult with your doctor or OBGYN to see if this might be the best course of action for you.

Your sexual pleasure is important, and it’s vital for living a truly healthy, happy life. If you’re experiencing low sex drive, your hormones probably need balancing. To pinpoint exactly how to do this, contact us to schedule an appointment today. Not only will your sex life benefit, so will your overall health and well-being!


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Hormones That Affect Sexual Desire

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are hormones that affect a woman’s sexual desire and functioning.

When it comes to sexual desire, the most influential hormone is testosterone. Though it’s often considered a male hormone, testosterone — like estrogen– is present in both men and women, though the proportions differ between the sexes.

In women, testosterone is produced through the operation of the adrenals glands — two small glands near the kidneys — and the ovaries.

who moved my hormones?

Hormonal changes don’t necessarily indicate that there’s a problem. Menstrual and menopausal changes, for example, are a normal part of development.

Read: What’s the “Right” Amount of Sexual Desire? That Depends On You ->However, if a hormonal change leads to a drop in desire or sexual pleasure, and you feel dissatisfied with this, you may want to explore options such as changing your method of birth control or changing/altering your medications.

Here’s a look at factors that can affect hormone levels:

Menstrual cycle

Hormone levels fluctuate throughout our cycles. A peak of sexual desire (libido) before and around ovulation, with a second, less intense peak during menstruation, is common. The lowest level of libido is often prior to menstruation, although there is much variation from this pattern.

Postmenopausal women, and many women using hormonal birth control methods, have less variation in sexual desire.

The Pill and other hormonal birth control methods

Some hormonal birth control methods including the Pill, the patch (e.g., Ortho Evra), injectable contraceptives (e.g., Depo-Provera), and the vaginal ring (NuvaRing), suppress the usual cyclical nature of hormones and may affect desire and sexual functioning.

Some women have more desire, while other women experience less desire, orgasm less easily, and/or experience vaginal dryness. The specific effects of these methods vary greatly among individual women.


Estrogen and progesterone levels are higher during pregnancy, and blood flow to the genitals increases. These changes, along with other physical and psychological effects of pregnancy, can lead to increased desire.

On the flip side, however, fatigue, nausea, pain, fears, or issues with changing body size and self-image may squelch desire.


Breastfeeding can suppress ovulation for months after birth, as a result of the high levels of the hormone prolactin and reduced levels of estrogen.

Many women report a drop in sexual desire while nursing. Some have no libido at all and become non-orgasmic. This is normal; sexual desire usually returns when the baby is weaned or nursing much less.


During perimenopause — the years leading up to menopause — estrogen levels spike and fall erratically while progesterone levels decline. After menopause — which occurs when menstrual periods have stopped for a full year — both progesterone and estrogen steady out at low levels.

During these years, women may experience less desire and increased vaginal dryness. Using a lubricant can help. (See How to Choose a Lubricant for Pleasure and Safety.) Hormonal supplements such as estrogen or estrogen/progestin pills and patches, or estrogen cream or rings applied topically in the vagina, are also sometimes used to address dryness.

Some women report that the relief from the fear of pregnancy encourages new-found sexual freedom.

Adrenal or ovary removal 

Either adrenal or ovary removal (oophorectomy) surgery may result in a dramatic decrease in sexual interest and frequency of orgasm, in part due to a reduction of testosterone. This is one of many reasons for avoiding unnecessary removal of the ovaries or adrenals.

Why Do I Have Low Libido?: Christopher J. Riegel, M.D.: Hormone Replacement Specialist

The World Health Organization recognizes the importance of libido, or sex drive, as being a key indicator in your health and quality of life. Sex drive in both men and women is linked to androgen hormones, specifically testosterone. Men have much higher testosterone than women which is why their sex drive tends to be more intense. Although there is not a numeric way to measure your sex drive, it often decreases as you age (even for men!). A change in hormone levels can decrease your sex drive, but other underlying conditions such as the following can also contribute:

  • Medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines and even some blood pressure medications.
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid and pituitary disorders, endocrine disorders, obesity, sleep apnea, heart conditions, etc.
  • Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse or a history of sexual abuse.
  • Drinking, smoking, unhealthy diet, or lack of exercise.

The most common libido complaints in relationships stem from there being a disparity in sexual desire between partners. While the underlying conditions above can affect the libido of both men and women, there are specific differences between the genders.

Causes of Low Libido in Women

Hormonal changes for women that are a normal part of aging include reduced energy, hot flashes, sleep difficulty, weight gain and a change in sexual desire. The three hormones that affect sexual desire are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

In the years leading up to menopause, or perimenopause, estrogen levels bounce up and down while progesterone levels typically decrease. After a full year without a menstrual period, you are considered to have gone through menopause. At this point ovulation has ended and your estrogen and progesterone levels are typically at their lowest levels.

Testosterone levels in women peak during the mid-20s and then steadily decrease with age until the levels drop dramatically during menopause. In addition to a decrease in sex drive, low testosterone can cause sluggishness, weight gain, fatigue, loss of bone density and vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness also contributes to discomfort during sexual intercourse that leads to a reduced libido.

Many women report, “feeling broken down there,” which is why I developed a vaginal product called Juvanesse that melts without residue and was nicknamed “Animal Juice” by one of my patients. If you are able to use it every day for three weeks then your vagina, clitoris and labia will become as sensitive as when you were seventeen.

Causes of Low Libido in Men

Testosterone is the male hormone essential to strength and sex drive. Testosterone levels for men are highest during the late teen years and then steadily decline as men age. Additionally, testosterone levels tend to be higher in the morning and lower at night. Just like women, the decrease in testosterone contributes to a lower sex drive. Chronic pain and chronic illness also contribute to a lower libido in aging men.

Low libido in men is also tied to sexual dysfunction in the form of premature ejaculation and/or erectile dysfunction (ED). Low libido isn’t the same thing as erectile dysfunction (ED), although the two conditions can co-exist. ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection.

Even though 40% of women report experiencing sexual dysfunction, the number one complaint from women is the decreased desire for sex. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to complain about ED than they are a low libido because they want to have sex but physically can’t. A long-term struggle with ED leads to increased anxiety and stress around the sex act which further decreases libido.

Male menopause is sometimes called andropause. In addition to low libido and ED, sexual symptoms of andropause include reduced orgasm intensity, small or shrinking testes, muscle loss, and loss of pubic and underarm hair. Other symptoms are similar to female menopause such as weight gain, difficulty sleeping, low energy, agitated or depressed mood, and difficulty concentrating.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Can Help Your Low Libido

A decrease in your sex drive isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when your low libido begins to affect your relationships and quality of life then it’s time to talk your doctor.

Bioidentical hormone therapy has been shown to increase the libido of men and women. Approximately 70% of low libido in both men and women can be attributed to hormonal imbalance. While men tend to experience sexual dysfunction as the result of hormonal imbalance, women are more likely to experience a lack of arousal and desire.

Wondering if you can benefit from bioidentical hormone therapy? Take our Hormone Balance Quiz to find out if you are a candidate for bioidentical hormone therapy.

The Riegel Center focuses on therapies for women and men who are thirty plus years of age with symptoms of age-related hormonal changes such as a low libido. The Riegel Center offers customized therapies in all 50 states that are developed and available only through Dr. Riegel.

Low Libido in Women due to Hormonal Imbalance

The hormonal imbalances found in menopause, perimenopause and post menopause, commonly result in the decline in sexual drive or low libido in women. The main hormone culprits are progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen.

Progesterone and Estrogen

Progesterone naturally decreases production during perimenopause; this can result in an estrogen dominance, which effectively causes low libido in women. This imbalance often causes vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy (a loss of muscle tension), and decreased clitoral sensitivity. The other consequences of estrogen dominance, including mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue, add to the problem. Too little estrogen causes similar vaginal problems.


Reduced ovarian function, caused by hormonal imbalance or a hysterectomy, lessens the amount of testosterone a woman produces, especially in post menopause. While testosterone is mainly considered a hormone for men, it also serves important purposes for women. In terms of libido, testosterone for women serves to heighten sexual response and orgasms. As a result, low testosterone causes a loss of libido.

Experts say that loss of desire and low sex drive may be directly related to lower estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone levels, which often happens during menopause. Low libido in women is the most common sexual complaint made by women – up to 30 to 40 percent of them. Even younger women can feel the effect of a hormonal imbalance as it relates to their sex life.

The Solution

Even an unhealthy diet can cause symptoms, like fatigue, which contribute to low libido in women. This makes it important to value nutrition and exercise. The BodyLogicMD programs include guidelines for a healthy lifestyle that will optimize your natural hormone therapy.

Essentially, to avoid a low sex drive, hormonal balance is crucial. Bioidentical hormone therapy repairs the damage caused by a hysterectomy or menopause by finding the hormone equilibrium your body needs. This means that the symptoms that caused the loss of libido, such as those named above, are often relieved, resulting in an increased sexual drive.

Your BodyLogicMD affiliated doctor treats each patient’s situation uniquely. Hormone levels are evaluated using comprehensive saliva and blood testing. We use bioidentical hormone therapy with proper nutrition, supplement and fitness to correct any imbalance. Bioidentical hormone therapy helps balance out women’s hormone levels making them feel “sexy” again without any adverse side effects.

Contact the BodyLogicMD bioidentical hormone doctor nearest you to schedule an appointment and learn more about how hormone therapy can correct low sex drive or low libido in women.

How to boost libido and increase sex drive – Blog

Medically reviewed by William Ross Perlman, PhD, CMPP on December 16, 2019. Written by Libby Pellegrini. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Your libido, otherwise known as your sex drive, can significantly affect your overall quality of life and sexual well-being. For some people, having a decreased interest in sexual activity can not only cause personal distress, but can also strain relationships with romantic partners. The good news is that there’s a wealth of research around low and high libido, and (for many cases) medical professionals now know how to increase libido in women and men, with many options and treatments available to help with sex drive and sexual satisfaction.

If you’re regularly experiencing a low sex drive (and you don’t know why), read on to learn what affects libido in women and men—as well as what can help increase libido—giving you a better idea of how to boost sex drive and enhance overall sexual health.

What is libido?

Libido refers to someone’s sex drive—the level of sexual desire and sexual motivation they have. When someone experiences a lower libido, they have decreased sexual interest (low sexual desire). Low libido is part of a larger medical category of sexual dysfunction, which also includes the physical loss of sexual function—which isn’t the same as a loss of libido.

A common cause of low sex drive: hormone imbalances

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that play many key roles, and can affect sleep quality, metabolism, mood, and more—including your sex life. Certain hormone imbalances in women as well as men—like the ones mentioned below—can result in a low libido.

Testosterone deficiency

Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in the sex drive of both men and women. Testosterone also affects many other crucial body processes, such as muscle strength, bone density, and fat storage. Having a testosterone level that is too low, also known as a testosterone deficiency, can cause low sexual desire. Low testosterone levels in men is a condition known as “hypogonadism.”

Testing testosterone levels can help you make sure you don’t have an imbalance in this key hormone. You can check your testosterone level to see if you’re producing an adequate amount of testosterone with the Everlywell Testosterone Test. This test only requires a simple saliva sample and comes with everything you need to collect your sample from the convenience of home.

Estradiol levels

Estradiol is the main form of estrogen in women. It’s a sex hormone responsible for the health and function of the female sexual organs. Estradiol levels tend to decrease in women during menopause and in women who are postmenopausal, which can lead to a loss of libido.

Check your estradiol level and levels of two other hormones related to the menopausal transition with the Everlywell at-home Perimenopause Test. This simple finger-prick blood test can detect abnormalities in these hormone levels so you can better understand if hormones might be behind the low libido you experience. Other possible symptoms to look for may include perimenopause sleep problems, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, mental fatigue, and more.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress can elevate the body’s stress hormone, cortisol, which can increase inflammation throughout the body and, in turn, decrease libido. High cortisol levels can also contribute to a decreased quality of sleep, which can also negatively affect libido.

Check your level of the main hormones related to stress and sleep with an at-home cortisol test. By collecting a urine sample at four points throughout the day, you’ll be able to measure your cortisol (stress hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) levels and see how they fluctuate over a 24-hour period. This can help you understand if you may be experiencing chronic stress or why you may have low sleep quality.

In some men, erectile dysfunction—a kind of male sexual dysfunction—can ultimately lead to an eventual loss of libido. Common factors associated with erectile dysfunction include aging, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, thyroid conditions, cigarette smoking, diabetes, restless leg syndrome, prostate cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, and heart disease. In fact, some research shows that among men with low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and decreased frequency of having sex correlate with a high 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease.

In women, female sexual dysfunction can also result in lowered libido, which may be connected to uterine fibroids, endometriosis, obesity, high blood pressure, or menopause. Taking certain medications, such as hormonal birth control pills (a form hormone therapy) and those used to treat mood disorders, can also decrease libido in some women.

What to do about low libido

If you’re experiencing low or unpredictable libido levels and don’t know why, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider to help narrow down possible causes. Your healthcare provider can conduct a thorough health history and screen for medical conditions that could be contributing to decreased libido. Managing or treating an underlying medical condition may alleviate the symptom of reduced libido.

Also, improving your sleep quality and reducing stress may help increase libido. Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on libido.

If you’re wondering how to increase libido, read on for other ways to potentially improve libido.

How to increase sex drive in women and men

The methods to increase libido often differ in men and women, and many require collaboration with a healthcare provider.

How to increase male libido

If a man’s reduced sex drive is caused by a testosterone deficiency, or hypogonadism, testosterone replacement therapy can restore sex drive. Testosterone can be replaced in a variety of forms, including injections, topical gels, or oral formulations.

If the decrease in male libido stems from an initial decrease in erectile function, methods to restore sexual function—such as oral medications—can lift libido.

How to increase female libido

For women, a decreased libido may be diagnosed as a symptom of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). This condition can be improved with a specific form of counseling therapy known as sex therapy. Medication is sometimes prescribed for HSDD.

If a woman’s low libido results from the body’s lack of natural vaginal lubrication, a topical estrogen medication may help improve symptoms.

Hormone levels can contribute to low libido in both men and women. Take the Everlywell at-home Testosterone Test, Men’s Health Test, Perimenopause Test, or hormonal imbalance test for women to check key hormones that affect sex drive and sexual health.

Related content

Unhealthy Testosterone Levels in Men: Causes and Symptoms

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What this women’s hormone test can reveal about your health


Ho CH, Wu CC, Chen KC, Jaw FS, Yu HJ, Liu SP. Erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and low sexual frequency increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in men with low testosterone. Aging Male. 2016 Jun;19(2):96-101. Epub 2016 Jan 11. PMID: 26755067.

90,000 “You Can Hack Libido Through the Body”: Researcher Sarah Hill – About Hormones and Female Sexuality

A couple of months ago, the publishing house “MYTH” published a book by the researcher in the field of evolutionary psychology Sarah Hill – “You and Your Hormones.” In it, Hill explains in detail how hormones – both natural and in birth control pills – affect women’s lives. At a meeting with the publishing house, Forbes Woman author Daria Shipacheva interviewed Sarah Hill. We publish the most interesting excerpts from it: about sexuality, gender, the difference between arousal and desire, and the effect of contraceptives on relationships.

Do birth control pills kill sex?

Many believe that oral contraceptives (OCs) can greatly reduce libido. On the other hand, I have come across this figure: only 2% of women surveyed say that their sex life has become worse after they started taking hormonal contraceptives. How does this compare with what your research shows?

– Indeed, many women complain of a decrease in libido under the influence of hormonal contraceptives – in particular, OK.Of course, other side effects are also complained about. What is the reason for this?

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When you use hormonal contraception, your body begins to more actively produce globulins – special proteins that bind sex hormones. This traps and becomes inaccessible to your body, for example, some of the testosterone it produces. If your libido is sensitive to testosterone levels – and women can vary quite a lot in this parameter – then, most likely, libido will decrease.

The second reason is directly related to how contraceptives generally work. This is due to the suppression of the increase in estrogen levels, which in the natural cycle occurs before ovulation – and then ovulation does not occur, and pregnancy becomes impossible. But many years of research show that at the stage of the cycle when the level of estrogen is higher, usually the libido is stronger – and women have more sex. If contraceptives suppress estrogen levels, it is understandable why this can lead to a decrease in libido.And if, in parallel with this, the available testosterone level also decreases, the case may end up with the complete disappearance of sexual desire.

In terms of numbers – indeed, there is evidence of a drop in libido by 2% or so, and this is true very little. I would say that it is difficult to generalize here, because everything very much depends on the particular woman, as well as on what kind of hormonal contraception she uses. Fourth-generation progestins generally have fewer side effects compared to second- and third-generation progestins.More research is needed: at the current stage, it is difficult to give any definite recommendations about which pills are best for a particular woman and minimize the risk of decreased libido.

– I know of a study in which scientists came to the conclusion that pills containing more progesterone and less estrogen have less effect on libido, which sounds counterintuitive to me. From what you said above and what is written in your book, we can conclude: it is the high level of progesterone in the OC that should primarily “kill” libido.How would you comment on such observations?

– Honestly, I am not familiar with the research you are talking about. I would be very curious to look at these findings of scientists. When choosing pills together with a doctor, you should pay attention to what kind of progesterone is used there. The fact is that there are progestins that have a pronounced antiandrogenic effect. About them, we know for sure that they are very, very harmful to libido: not only do they suppress estrogen, they also block a woman’s access to her own testosterone.

We know that hormonal contraception is extremely effective when used correctly. At the same time, some women complain of a significant decrease in libido and therefore do not even want to think about OK, although their bad experience may be associated with the fact that they used second or third generation pills. And now they are generally afraid to use hormonal contraception. This applies not only to pills, but also to hormonal implants and coils. What advice would you give such women?

– I would recommend not giving up this opportunity after one bad experience.It is worth conducting different experiments – after all, hormonal contraception has almost 100 different types: different progestins are used, dosages of progesterone and estrogen, delivery methods differ. Sometimes the method of delivery of the active substance alone makes a big difference: a certain type of progesterone supplied by the coil may not act exactly the same as the same substance from the tablet.

Therefore, please consult with your doctor and try different options under his supervision if you are not yet ready to give up the idea of ​​hormonal contraception completely.

It is also very important to keep a diary – in order to accurately track changes in your well-being, including libido. Then it will be possible to respond to specific deviations and change or cancel the drug in time.

The physiological processes that trigger the stress response block the part of the brain that is responsible for sexual desire. We can say that stress and libido are antagonists

Sexual “brake” and “gas” – in the head

Since we started talking about sexual attraction: I heard the opinion that this term is out of date.It cannot be said about a woman that she has a strong or weak libido in general – all these are very subtle matters, very dependent on the influences of various internal and external stimuli. For example, Emily Nagoski, in her book How a Woman Wants, writes about the gas pedal and the brake pedal – this is her metaphor, with which she explains how female arousal and desire appear. The context is important: stress, of course, hits the “brake pedal” and kills l ibido, and a high level of intimacy, on the contrary, acts as a “gas pedal” and starts.How could you explain these two processes from a neurobiological point of view? [[{“fid”: “364349”, “view_mode”: “default”, “fields”: {“format”: “default”, “alignment”: “”, “field_file_image_alt_text [und] [0] [value ] “:” Sarah Hill “,” field_file_image_title_text [und] [0] [value] “: false,” external_url “:” “},” type “:” media “,” field_deltas “: {” 1 “: {” format “:” default “,” alignment “:” “,” field_file_image_alt_text [und] [0] [value] “:” Sarah Hill “,” field_file_image_title_text [und] [0] [value] “: false,” external_url ” : “”}}, “attributes”: {“alt”: “Sarah Hill”, “class”: “media-element fancyboxed file-default”, “data-delta”: “1”}}]]

– A very interesting question.What does stress look like in terms of brain function? The physiological processes that trigger the stress response essentially “block” the part of the brain that is responsible for sexual desire. We can say that stress and libido are antagonists.

The sexual desire of a woman, as you quite rightly noted, is very, very contextual. In men, this mechanism is more primitive: there is a sexually attractive person next to them – great, we turn on all sexual processes in the body. And for a long time it was believed that the male-type attraction is “correct.”

But you need to understand: the woman bears the burden of pregnancy and all the additional risks associated with sex. That is why evolution has provided for our brains to turn on the sexual response only in the right situations: low stress, favorable conditions, a potential partner is being tested for “worthiness” for the role of a potential father. Of course, all these things happen on a subconscious level – the head knows that we are using various contraceptives, this is generally not important, and in general, maybe this is one night’s sex, sex without penetration or with a partner of our floor.However, the process of arousal is triggered outside of consciousness: the female brain reacts to a huge number of signals from the external and internal world, and these signals are associated with the fact that, from the point of view of evolution, should increase the chances of survival of the offspring.

– How can this program be hacked? For example, what if a woman is experiencing a low level of arousal but wants to increase it?

– You can think of a lot of life hacks here. You can work, for example, directly with relationships – doing something with your partners that will generally increase the level of intimacy and trust.Because there is a linear connection between the deepening of the spiritual connection between partners and the growth of female libido – Emily Nagoski talks about this in her book.

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Moreover, a woman’s body, even in a state of stress and the “brake pedal” is pressed, can turn on the “gas pedal” – in the event that a sexual context appears: touching, kissing, and so on. Of course, this should all happen by mutual agreement. That is, it is possible to enter through physiology – even if initially the brain is not very attuned to sex, you can hack the libido through the body, and then the brain will eventually “catch up” with the body.

You can also try to influence testosterone. For example, victories in competitive sports – and even in board games – usually lead to an increase in testosterone levels in women, and, accordingly, an increase in desire.

Desire and arousal are never synonymous. A woman may encounter a dissonance between desire and arousal – and begin to doubt herself

Nagoski draws a distinction between desire and arousal – they say, these are different processes and they may not occur in a woman at the same time.What can you say about this from the point of view of neuroscience?

– Indeed, it happens that we experience arousal at moments when we do not want sex – that is, low desire can be combined with high arousal. The opposite happens: there is a strong desire for sex, and in terms of the response of the body, little happens.

And here it is very important for women to learn this difference: desire and arousal are never synonymous. A woman may encounter a dissonance between desire and arousal – and begin to doubt herself.Her partner may also question their attractiveness to a woman. But in fact, such dissonance for female sexuality is normal, this phenomenon is called non-concordance. Non-concordance occurs in most women. Therefore, it seems to me, it is worth rejoicing in both processes – excitement and desire – and managing them as far as possible.

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And yet, it seems, there is a difference between a spontaneous desire and a response desire – and the latter is more pronounced in women.How does it work?

– Spontaneous desire is directly related to estrogen. It happens like this: you hang out the laundry or vacuum there, and suddenly – “oh, it seems, I want sex!” And obviously it was not the vacuum cleaner that turned you on. This is a spontaneous desire: when it arises, you start thinking about sex, fantasizing about it out of the blue.

For men, this happens quite often – spontaneous thoughts about sex – and therefore it seems to them that women, too, “should” think about sex all the time.It seems like it’s “normal”. But in women, this actually happens much less often – usually somewhere in the middle of the cycle, near ovulation, when there is a high probability of getting pregnant.

Male-type excitement and desire have long been considered the norm of sexuality.

Much more often women have a reciprocal desire. This is when you hang up your underwear, and then your partner comes up and starts touching, kissing and saying that it would be nice to have sex right now. The woman’s body was more likely to wash, but in principle, desire appears in response to stimulation – why not?

Particularly active response desire is included in the second half of the cycle – in the luteal phase, when the own level of estrogen subsides and spontaneous attraction becomes small.Men often do not understand this – it seems to them that a woman’s interest in spontaneous sex should always be on the same level as theirs, but this does not work for us.

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Male-type excitement and desire have long been considered the norm of sexuality. But now science has advanced, and we understand that all types of sexual response are good in their own way, none should be considered any less valuable than others.

It turns out that women who take hormonal contraceptives will be more likely to encounter a response desire – all due to a drop in estrogen, right?

– Yes, that’s right.I write about this in my book – and you just need to accept it as a kind of temporary phenomenon. There is nothing wrong with that – and it is absolutely unnecessary to build self-identification around this change, God forbid, to consider yourself “frigid”.

Let’s talk a little about asexual people here. Some of them say that they get aroused, they just do not feel attracted to people and the desire to have sex with them. How does asexuality work from a biological point of view?

– This is a wonderful question – it’s a pity that I don’t have an answer to it.Asexuality strikes me as a strikingly interesting phenomenon, but I do not fully understand how it works. What guesses do I have?

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It is clear that everything connected with sexual arousal and desire originates in the brain – and for sure what happens there among asexual people also has a hormonal component. We can see this in research on OK as well: after all, some women lose their sexual desire after starting contraceptive use.

The effect of hormones on sexuality, attraction and even orientation is generally amazing. I have seen stories of women who identified themselves as lesbians, but after they started taking OK, they began to consider men as sexually attractive! Conversely, heterosexual women, against the background of OK, aroused interest in girls. Yes, these are rare cases – but such exceptions give us a very interesting opportunity to trace how certain hormones can shape sexuality.

There is no doubt that hormones play a role in the development of asexuality. Another thing is that asexuality is a very subtle and complex relationship between the biological and the psychological, and we have not yet precisely defined the role of biology.

I remember the story of a transgender person – she was a nee woman who felt asexual and gender non-binary. She had a very low libido, she did not experience any sex drive.Then she began to take very small doses of testosterone, her libido began to rise – and she even began to experience sexual desire. So there is no doubt that hormones are a very, very powerful thing.

– This is certainly true. Transgender transition today can be considered such a natural experiment in the field of how the attraction of men and women to the opposite or same sex works – and what role hormones play in all this.

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– D I think, I can sum it up like this: if you feel like an asexual person, but it does not cause you discomfort, then great, you can do nothing about it at all.And if you want your libido to grow, you can go to the doctor and try, for example, hormone therapy.

– I think this is very wise and good advice.

How Hormones Affect Mate Choice

In your book, you describe how hormone pills affect the kind of people we find attractive. For example, heterosexual women who start taking OCs often find less masculine men more attractive than those who do not use pills.What other interesting observations do you have?

This is indeed a very interesting area of ​​research. If this is how things work, then taking hormones can make a huge difference in your relationship.

For several decades, studies have been conducted that show that during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, when women produce a lot of estrogen, they find masculine men more attractive – a lower voice, a square jaw, and so on.This applies to women with a natural cycle. But women who take hormonal pills find men who have less masculine features more attractive – for them, other characteristics of a potential partner come to the fore. Some studies say that women on OK are more aroused by a man’s ability to financially support his family, empathy, and his ability to maintain a stable relationship. That is, they want to find in a man, first of all, such a stereotypical “good father”, a safe partner.

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Pills can affect which partners you choose – and this, in turn, can even affect the frequency of divorces

So, hormonal pills can help you choose the “right” person for a relationship?

– It turns out that yes, pills can affect which partners you choose – and this, in turn, can even affect the frequency of divorce. Actually, there are already studies showing that women who choose partners while taking hormonal pills are less likely to get divorced – after all, they choose not so much “males” as “fathers”.And here, of course, the effect of estrogen is easily traced.

Again, there is scientific work showing that if you choose a partner using pills and then stop taking OK, then you are likely to have difficulties in the relationship. And vice versa: if you did not take pills before, but started in marriage, this can also lead to problems in a couple.

So if you are worried about hormonal contraception, already being a couple, it can reduce the attraction to your partner.

And what to do then? Throw pills (or start taking them again), get divorced? Or maybe try to see a family therapist?

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– If you have a generally very good relationship with your partner, then other factors – even as strong as the influence of hormones – will be less important. So don’t be discouraged: remember that by investing in the quality of your relationship, you can achieve a lot. You are not a hostage to contraceptives.

90,000 Stages of female sexuality: 20 to 50

One of the questions asked at the reception by the patients: Doctor, I have a decreased libido, is it somehow connected with a change in hormonal levels?

Hormones play an important role in the formation of sexuality and libido: estrogen and testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone responsible for libido, but an excess of it affects hormonal function, metabolic changes in the body. often causing cosmetic problems.
Estrogens are hormones that determine our femininity and sexuality.

Progesterone is a pregnancy hormone, with a decrease in estrogen levels in phase 2, it reduces libido. The increase in prolactin also lowers libido.

Oxytocin – an attachment hormone that reduces anxiety and causes satisfaction. Endorphins – cause euphoria, and serotonin – hormones of happiness and joy.

Sexual attraction and sexuality are individual in nature, depend on many factors: hormonal, age, physiological, social, as well as heredity.

20 years:
20 years – the time of searching for oneself and self-expression. The more stable the relationship a woman is in, the greater her sexual desire.
Research also shows that if a woman has sex less than once a week, she is more likely to have menstrual and ovulatory problems than those who make love regularly.

In addition, fear of sexually transmitted diseases suppresses sex drive. Although the “leader” in reducing sex drive is, of course, fear of an unplanned pregnancy.In addition, the sexuality of many young women depends on the phase of the menstrual cycle. On the days of ovulation, the desire of women is at their peak, and they have an orgasm faster than during other periods of the cycle, during this period the most likely to become pregnant.

Taking hormonal contraceptives also affects libido.

In some women, they suppress the production of testosterone, the hormone responsible for sexual desire, and because of this, it decreases dramatically. For some, on the contrary, their sexual desire increases due to the absence of fear of an unplanned pregnancy.

30 years:
By the age of 30, libido reaches its maximum level and it can only be temporarily reduced by the birth of a child. By the age of 30, women reach orgasm more easily and more often. From thirty to forty years old, women are at their peak of sexuality. After 35 years, the level of hormones begins to decline, but this does not affect sexuality and libido. During a woman’s pregnancy, against the background of an increase in hormone levels, especially in the second trimester, an increase in sexuality occurs. After the baby is born, libido decreases.Overwork, a decrease in hormone levels against the background of an increased level of prolactin, vaginal dryness – these problems are experienced by 70% of women during the first six months after giving birth.
After the restoration of hormonal levels, the woman’s sexual desires are restored.

40 years:
Although after forty years of age the level of hormones decreases, the sexuality of many women at this age is quite high, which can be explained by the rather high level of testosterone from the point of view of medicine and social stability.

45-50 years is the age at which women enter perimenopause, when estrogen and testosterone levels begin to decline.
Most women begin to experience decreased sex drive, irregular periods, and vaginal dryness.
Hormone replacement therapy is recommended for many women to eliminate these symptoms and improve the quality of life.
During this period, the function of the thyroid gland decreases, which also affects sexual desire.
The ability to achieve orgasm after forty practically does not decrease.

50 years:
Characterized mainly by the onset of menopause.
The most common problem is reduced elasticity and insufficient hydration during intercourse.
Harder to achieve a state of sexual arousal and orgasm.
Hormone replacement therapy and lubricants will help to cope with this problem.
The problem of sexual attraction and satisfaction is a delicate problem, but like any problem it should be discussed with specialists: gynecologists, psychologists, sex therapists.

Do not be alone with your problems, be always healthy and happy!

Doctor of the Clinic of Doctor Medvedev, obstetrician-gynecologist Galich Svetlana Alexandrovna

Find out all our news and a lot of useful information on Telegram Public Accaunt: https://t.me/klinika_medvedev

90,000 What hormones affect female libido and why it goes down

Hormones are the leaders of our life


It’s no secret that hormones have a close influence not only on our health, but also on sexual desire.”Divoglyad” has compiled a list of the main hormones that affect female libido.

What affects the decrease in female libido

Doctors identify the following factors to reduce sexual desire:

  • chronic fatigue;
  • dissatisfaction with one’s own body;
  • Fear of unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection;
  • disharmony with a sexual partner.

However, sometimes a decrease in desire occurs due to hormone problems.In particular, hormones such as estradiol, testosterone, luteinizing hormone, progesterone and TSH affect sexual desire.

Why desire disappears

In the event that prolactin is increased, this reduces the production of sex hormones, suppresses ovulation – as a result, it negatively affects libido.

In addition, the use of oral contraceptives can affect sexual desire. They lower testosterone, which is responsible for craving, and lead to a deficiency of essential vitamins for libido.

Vitamins that affect sexual desire in women: D, B1, B2, B6, B9, B12, E, A.

See also: Perfect sex: 7 tips that will bring pleasure.

If you are tired of serious news and want to relax a little, subscribe to our Telegram channel. Divoglyad 5.UA – it can be scary here, but fun!


90,000 Decreased libido in women | Family Clinic A-Media

Intimacy brings partners an incredible range of sensations – perhaps the most pleasant of all available to a person.Both the pleasure of intimacy and the craving for it are equally experienced by women and men. And in the same way, regardless of gender, there may be a decrease in sexual desire.

Moreover, if the disappearance of desire in a man, as a rule, indicates that love for a partner has passed, then with a woman’s attraction everything is much more complicated: it can also fade away to a beloved partner. Female libido depends on many factors – both psychological and physiological. In many ways, it is associated with the behavior of a sexual partner, but one should not blame the extinction of desire exclusively on the man.A woman is able to eliminate some problems on her own, but in some cases she may need the help of a specialist.

Doctors believe that libido, the desire for sexual intimacy, manifests itself in full in women after 20-22 years, and in some cases even a little later. It happens that a woman begins to feel a “taste” for sex, to experience true pleasure from it only after the birth of a child. Consequently, one should not attribute sexual coldness to a young girl – it is quite possible that her libido simply has not yet been fully revealed: the process is individual and depends both on the woman’s body and on the behavior of her partner.
However, if the desire for sex was and disappeared – it is worth thinking about what happened. As mentioned above, two groups of reasons can contribute to this:

Reasons for a decrease in libido in a woman

Physiological causes

Changes in hormonal balance
The hormone responsible for the presence of sexual desire in both women and men is male sex hormone testosterone. Normally, it is produced in both the male and female body. If its amount for some reason decreases – for example, due to the intake of hormonal drugs, then libido also declines.

The same mechanism of decreasing libido in some women immediately after the birth of a child or during lactation – at this time there is an increase in the concentration of the hormone prolactin in the blood, literally neutralizing the effect of testosterone. It is so conceived by nature – for some time to give the mother the opportunity to fully devote herself to the newborn. After a while, the concentration of prolactin decreases, and the sexual desire returns.

Age and Menopause
The years are unforgiving, and with the onset of menopause, the functioning of the ovaries gradually fades away.The level of female sex hormones – estrogens – in the blood gradually decreases, which is manifested, among other things, by vaginal dryness. Sexual intercourse becomes unpleasant, painful, and women refuse intimate relationships altogether, while not experiencing discomfort – either physical or psychological.

Various diseases can affect the strength of sexual desire: both gynecological and general somatic. So, inflammation of the female genital area, urinary system, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus can reduce a woman’s sex drive to naught.

Bad habits
Alcoholism, drug addiction and even smoking suppress libido not only psychologically, but also neurophysiologically – they reduce the activity of the brain centers associated with arousal and sexual desire. The dubious pleasure of addiction becomes more intense and replaces the pleasure of physical love.

Infectious diseases of the reproductive system
Many genital infections are accompanied by severe inflammation of the external genital organs.For example, severe inflammation of the vagina – colpitis – turns sexual intercourse into a real torment. It is not surprising that during an exacerbation of such an illness, a woman does not feel attraction.

Vaginismus is a painful spasm of the muscles in the vagina. As a rule, its reasons are mainly psychological – sexual abuse in the past, severe fear during intercourse, etc. Sexual intercourse in such cases is almost impossible, and the woman begins to experience a real disgust for intimate relationships.

Psychological causes

The psychological factor leading to decreased libido can be anything from fatigue and chronic stress to inexperience and fear of getting pregnant. The female psyche is extremely delicate, and the partner’s joking hint of being overweight or small breasts, and the woman’s exhaustion by household chores and responsibility for family and children, and stereotypes, including religious ones, inherent in childhood, can literally “kill” desire. Even inappropriate, according to a woman, for an intimate environment can play a fatal role! Not to mention the untidiness or carelessness, sexual selfishness of the partner.

How to treat decreased libido in a woman?

The principles of treatment are directly dependent on the causes of this condition. So, if the cause is a medical condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, it is necessary to treat it, and, as the symptoms subside, the sexual desire will become stronger.

It is important to study the level of testosterone in the blood, and if it is below 20ng / dl – it must be replenished by hormone replacement therapy. Antidepressants, homeopathic remedies, and psychotherapy are well established.However, it must be remembered that the key to the success of such treatment is its versatile, comprehensive approach. In addition, it should not be ruled out that the emerging coldness of a woman towards a recently desired partner may be a sign of an impending break in relations.

In any case, you should not close your eyes to the problem that has arisen, pretend to be in bed, or, on the contrary, avoid sexual contact, motivating it with fatigue and the fact that your head hurts. So you will only aggravate the situation and introduce discord in the relationship.

Make an appointment with a gynecologist, do not postpone your health until later.

What is libido: an endocrinologist answers

Hormonal levels are not something abstract that should be taken care of closer to menopause. By the way, menopause has also become younger today, women, pay attention to this fact and be on the lookout! The hormonal background, our “waltz of hormones”, is a very important thing, and already from the age of twenty it begins to change. DHEA (adrenal androgen) and testosterone levels begin to drop.In contrast, cortisol can rise, causing a decrease in the concentration of other hormones responsible for sexuality. Or, high testosterone leads to PCOS. Some experience decreased levels of estrogen and / or progesterone, leading to estrogen dominance or PMS. And how many women have thyroid gland ! .. And in each case, hormonal problems lead to a decrease in sexual desire.


One of the most important factors affecting libido is stress.Not a short-term, instantaneous release of adrenaline, but a constant, habitual, background, leading first to an increase in the level of cortisol, and then to a sharp drop, which indicates depletion of the adrenal glands. Everything is simple here: if there is stress, there is hardly any sex.

Combined oral contraceptives (COCs), which often cause low testosterone, can hit your libido. The imbalance of estrogens is also dangerous: lack of sexual desire, coupled with pronounced PMS and constant fatigue, by the way, is one of the symptoms of estrogen dominance, which ultimately leads to such formidable diseases as infertility, endometriosis, PCOS and even breast, uterine, ovarian cancer …And vaginal dryness may not mean that your body does not want sex, because you and your husband have become almost relatives for so many years, but about the arrival of premenopause, the first stage of menopause.

Still from the film “50 Shades of Freedom”


The first thing you should do to maintain your libido at the proper level is to live according to your circadian rhythms. It’s very simple: hang up at 22:30, get up at 7:00. Try to live in this mode for a couple of weeks and you will see that your strength has increased.Try to minimize stressors. Identify the reason for the decrease in sexual desire: your libido is at zero, because the body spends all its resources for other purposes, or is it an indicator of your hormonal levels, the result of taking medications or COCs?

I would also like to recommend you my favorite adaptogens. The first on the list is Peruvian Maca , an adaptogen, antioxidant, antiaginger, which gives energy, increases libido, harmonizes the endocrine system.It contains a lot of useful trace elements and substances that stimulate blood flow in the genitals, which enhances the potency of men and the libido of women. Rhodiola rosea also helps with chronic stress: it improves overall well-being and eliminates stress-related problems in the sexual sphere.

To stabilize cortisol levels, you can take Ashwagandha – a popular Indian adaptogen.

It is worth paying attention to your diet, more precisely, the presence of healthy fats in it: 2-3 times a week eat fatty sea fish of wild origin, every day – unrefined oils, raw nuts, avocados, coconut oil.Finally, bring variety, romance and freshness to your intimate life. How? You and your partner will decide this.

What is libido and how to awaken it :: Health :: RBC Style

Libido – sexual desire, desire for any sexual activity. These can be thoughts, fantasies of a sexual nature and desire for sex. It can precede sexual intercourse or occur during the process.

Often people who have difficulties with a lack or an overabundance of libido find themselves face to face with a problem and do not dare to start solving it. We asked an endocrinologist and a psychotherapist to talk about libido so that it was clear how to approach this issue.


Georgy Mskhalaya,

endocrinologist, andrologist of the European Medical Center

Natalia Rivkina,

psychiatrist, psychotherapist, head of the clinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy of the European Medical Center

Natalia Rivkina: The term “libido” itself is one of the basic concepts of the dualistic theory proposed by Sigmund Freud.According to Freud, libido is an attraction to life, an attraction to change and continuation, it is the very manifestation of life. The second concept of this theory is mortido. Mortido is a force that limits libido, an attraction to a static state, to death as to the primary state, from which the inanimate was introduced into the state of life.

The main idea of ​​the theory is that a person has energy, which is primarily and naturally realized through libido, that is, a person strives for life and its continuation.But if you do not realize this energy through libido, then it turns into mortido and the opposite effect begins, the desire for death. Later, the mechanisms of destrudo were described – patterns of behavior that realize the desire for death and destroy a person.

How to measure libido

Georgiy Mskhalaya: As such, there is no libido test in endocrinology. Usually we ask at the reception of our patients how often they have sexual intercourse, whether there is a sexual desire, how often a person initiates sexual intercourse.For example, it may be that a person has sexual contact regularly three times a week, but in 100% of cases the partner is the initiator. This is important. Another essential aspect when we talk about libido is getting an orgasm. We ask whether there are orgasms in principle, how often, whether a person considers his orgasms to be bright, whether there is a decrease in the brightness of orgasms. The answers to these questions help us understand whether we are dealing with endocrinological disorders.

Natalia Rivkina: In our practice, we use clinical conversation to assess libido, collect the patient’s history and analyze it.

From the methods for assessing female libido and sexuality in psychotherapy can be used:

  • scale of vector definition of sexual constitution, developed and tested for women by Irina Botneva from the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry;
  • questionnaire of attitudes towards sex psychologist Hans Eysenck;
  • Sexual Temperament Questionnaire by Eric Jansen and John Bancroft of the Kinsey Institute;
  • Sexual Addiction Test by Patrick Carnes, Sexually Addicted Behavior Researcher.

For men:

  • scale of vector definition of sexual constitution, developed and tested for men by one of the first domestic sexologists Georgy Vasilchenko from the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry;
  • questionnaire of attitudes towards sex psychologist Hans Eysenck;
  • test for detecting sexual addiction by Patrick Carnes.

What affects libido

Georgy Mskhalaya: Sex drive is a multifactorial process: hormones, lifestyle and psychology are involved here.Of course, the role of hormones in the formation of desire is great: first of all, it is testosterone and estrogens. Both of these hormones are important for both men and women. It is necessary to understand the mechanism of synthesis of these hormones: all female sex hormones (estrogens) are formed in our body from male hormones (androgens).

Female hormones are not directly synthesized in the body. Therefore, if the synthesis of male hormones is disrupted, then the synthesis of female hormones is automatically disrupted, since they have nothing to form from.It is a mistake to believe that testosterone alone is responsible for attraction. There are studies and data that show that if we artificially block the transition of male sex hormones to female hormones, then this negatively affects libido. That is, testosterone is high, estrogens are low, and against this background, a decrease in libido is observed. Therefore, we always assess the level of all sex hormones, regardless of the gender of the patients.

Prolactin, a pituitary hormone, is also extremely important: its increase above the reference values ​​will reduce libido.In addition, we measure the level of thyroid hormones. Lack of thyroid hormones provokes an increase in prolactin levels, which in turn will negatively affect libido.

We will definitely look to see if there is any general somatic pathology: for example, iron deficiency anemia, which can give poor health, chronic fatigue, fatigue, loss of energy, which will definitely also affect libido.

Natalia Rivkina: A person’s psychological well-being and comfort have a strong influence on libido. We understand well-being as a complex of factors of human interaction with himself, the world around him and people. For example, men may be fine with hormones and erections, but sex drive is reduced or even absent because he has severe stress at work or personality problems with his current partner. Or, with absolutely normal organic indicators, a girl may have a reduced libido as a result of a depressive state.

Here is a list of psychological reasons leading to decreased libido that I meet in my practice:

  • mental and physical fatigue;
  • prolonged sexual abstinence;
  • depressive or depressed emotional state;
  • Failure to meet key human needs;
  • avoidance, tabooing of topics of sex and intimacy during a person’s growing up by his parents;
  • distrust of a partner;
  • disappointment in a partner;
  • low self-esteem;
  • fear of not giving pleasure to the partner;
  • bad sexual experience;
  • overestimated expectations from sexual contact, which are not met;
  • negative experience of past relationships, fear of emotional attachment to a partner;
  • Loss of sensation from sex is typical for couples who have been together for a long time;
  • acute conflict situations with a partner.

How to increase libido

George Mskhalaya: First of all, you need to consult a specialist to exclude the natural causes of decreased libido. For example, a chronic sleep disorder that prevents a person from recovering will have an extremely negative effect on libido. Working at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm of hormone production, which can also cause complaints. There are no folk methods for raising sex drive. From what does not require a doctor’s prescription, the recommendations will be quite standard: get enough sleep, reduce stress levels, increase physical activity.

Natalya Rivkina: Decreased desire can become a symptom of depression, stress, mental and physical strain, intrapersonal problems, interpersonal conflicts. To correct decreased libido caused by psychological factors, the psychotherapist can use the methods of cognitive-behavioral therapy, systemic psychotherapy, body-oriented therapy, psychoanalysis and emotionally focused therapy.

Are there any products that increase libido

George Mskhalaya: This is pure myth.There is no proven efficacy for reducing libido from any product. Eat oysters, avocados and ginger for pleasure, but if there is a task to adjust the level of sexual desire, then it is better to immediately consult a specialist.

How to reduce libido

Georgiy Mskhalaya: If a person has a consistently high libido, he is happy with this and finds ways to realize his sexual desire, then nothing needs to be reduced. This is not a pathology. If a person has a hypertrophied sexual desire, which he cannot control, this gives him discomfort and reduces the quality of life, then he should consult a psychiatrist.

Natalya Rivkina: An abnormally increased libido may indicate some mental disorders and conditions, for example:

  • inferiority complex, neurotic experiences;
  • manic syndrome;
  • hidden homosexuality;
  • brain pathologies: craniocerebral trauma, tumors of the hypothalamic region, damage to diencephalic structures;
  • hormonal dysfunction.

It is important to note that a decrease or increase in desire must be viewed in dynamics and take into account episodes of sudden changes in drive and their context.If a person is prone to a low temperament, then this does not mean the presence of symptoms of depression or problems, and vice versa. Loss of attraction to a particular partner is not considered a problem, but the retention of attraction in general. Normally, libido does not cause inconvenience to the person and his partner, does not have sharp rises or falls and corresponds to the external situation.

Can libido go away forever

Georgiy Mskhalaya: No, we can almost always return it and correct it.The main thing is to act not with oysters, but with scientific methods.

When libido returns after childbirth

George Mskhalaya: Everything is very individual. Not all libido decreases after childbirth. But this is not uncommon. During pregnancy and after childbirth, there is an active production of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates lactation in mothers. At the same time, prolactin suppresses libido, as I described above. Therefore, libido can be reduced during breastfeeding.

In addition, with the appearance of a child, parents, as a rule, stop getting enough sleep, women may have iron deficiency anemia or vitamin D deficiency, the consequences of delivery are not uncommon – all this in combination will reduce libido against the background of general fatigue and fatigue. But I can definitely say that libido will not disappear anywhere and will definitely return. As a rule, this happens with the restoration of the menstrual cycle and the normalization of prolactin levels. Moreover, if a pregnant or lactating woman is still worried about a reduced libido, she can turn to a competent endocrinologist.There are many ways to stimulate your libido without affecting your hormones.

90,000 Where does libido go and how to get it back?

Explains Irina Vyatkina, gynecologist-endocrinologist of the Marina Ryabus Clinic.

Out of ten women who come to see me, only 2-3 are satisfied with their sex life. And only a few people experience an orgasm during intimacy. We will talk about the reasons for such statistics in a separate article, and here I cite these numbers to say: the presence or absence of orgasm has almost no effect on your libido.Quite frankly, even the presence or absence of your sex life has little effect on your libido. On what, then, does it depend, why is it needed and why does it disappear? Let’s figure it out.

Libido is a sexual attraction that appears in a woman at the beginning of puberty and can (and normally should) persist even up to 120 years: there is no upper age limit here. It can arise without the presence of a partner, and in his presence, and already in the process of foreplay: this is individual.Libido is a companion of good physical and psychological condition, general vitality, “burning eyes” and interest in life. But its absence or decline at any age is a reason to be wary. It just cannot disappear: there is a reason in any case, and it is possible that it is serious.


The main reasons are divided into two groups: psychological and medical. True, most often they are intertwined, and in order to help the patient, the doctor must first unravel this tangle.For example, after childbirth in some women, the pelvic floor muscles weaken, the vagina loses its elasticity, stretches, friction during intercourse becomes insufficient, and characteristic sounds may appear. As a result, the woman begins to feel shy, avoid contact, and her libido decreases. In this case, several sessions of intimate rejuvenation can correct the situation. But in general, psychological problems are more correct to solve, at least with the participation of a specialized specialist, so let’s focus on the medical side of the issue.

There are many medical reasons for a decrease in sexual desire, from trivial overwork to serious hormonal problems. Women’s libido directly depends on the level of testosterone and magnesium: the lower these indicators, the less desire. What causes magnesium to fall? One of the most common causes is overwork or stress. In this case, along with magnesium, the level of cortisol (the so-called stress hormone) also changes, which inflicts an additional blow on libido. In addition, magnesium levels can decrease if you overuse alcohol, coffee and fatty foods, if you are on a strict diet, or if you take antibiotics.By the way, magnesium is one of the most important trace elements and affects not only the level of sexual desire, so it would be good to check it at least once a year.

Moving on to testosterone. Strictly speaking, any change in hormonal levels can lead to a decrease in libido, but it is directly related to a lack of testosterone. Testosterone deficiency can occur if you are on a strict diet, vegetarian or raw food diet, if you have too many carbohydrates on your diet. The next items on the list are lack or excess of physical activity, obesity, neoplasms in the ovaries, stress and alcohol that we are already familiar with, and, of course, any, even minor hormonal disruptions.

Do not forget about the natural reason for the drop in testosterone and other sex hormones – menopause. Decreased libido in this case is just the beginning. It is often followed by a change in fat metabolism, rapid weight gain, rapid aging of the skin – in a word, age-related changes. Therefore, if you notice a decrease in libido with age and think that this is inevitable – forget it. Firstly, with age, libido falls by no means in everyone, and age itself cannot reduce libido in a healthy person: as I said, it can and should remain at 80 and 90.Secondly, the most youthful, best looking and feeling older women are those who are genetically fortunate to have high and stable levels of sex hormones even during menopause. Thirdly, today’s medicine can easily balance hormones, mitigate the manifestations of menopause, or even delay its onset. It is possible, necessary, easy and not dangerous to do this, but it is a real crime not to use modern scientific achievements for the benefit of your own body. You don’t give up on antibiotics, do you? Therefore, contact a competent endocrinologist at the first sign of menopause: I guarantee that you will not regret this decision.

Another common cause of decreased libido is hormonal contraceptives. We talked in detail about why they should not be afraid in the previous article, but nevertheless, for some people, against the background of taking HA, libido really drops. And here you need to understand a few things. First, this decline is temporary. Secondly, this can often be corrected by a banal course of micronutrients. Thirdly, drugs are different, and not all affect libido, so it will not be difficult for a good doctor to choose the right one for you.

Well, as a separate item I will mention the decrease in libido after childbirth: this happens quite often. One of the reasons is an increase in prolactin levels. The timing is very individual, but if the attraction has not recovered in a year, it is worth consulting with a specialist.


I don’t know if this information will make you happy or sad, but there are no medical pathologies that increase libido. The so-called “rabies of the uterus” or nymphomania is a mental disorder, not an endocrine disorder.As for the phenomenon of “women after 35”, when, as is commonly believed, we reach the peak of sexuality, the explanation is quite simple. By about 30-35 years, a woman’s hormones finally level out and become stable: childbirth often contributes to this. In addition, at this age, a woman becomes more stable emotionally. Most often, she already has a career behind her, her views on the world have been formed, she accepted herself, her body and does not think about how her breasts look during sex and whether cellulite is visible.This means that she can simply get more pleasure from the process. This is the explanation.

As for the ways to artificially increase libido (both female and male), I have to upset: they do not exist yet. Even Viagra does not increase libido, but only solves problems with potency. It is assumed that if the patient wants to solve them, then he still has a libido. Of course, there are aphrodisiac foods that affect dopamine production. These are, for example, oysters, pumpkin, persimmon.But for at least some noticeable effect, you will have to eat so many of them that after that you will only want a Mezim pill and lie down.

Therefore, if your libido has increased by itself – rejoice. This may mean that your hormonal balance has stabilized, that you have recovered from stress or overwork, or that a loved one has appeared next to you


1. Decreased libido is always a symptom of something more. If you feel it, go to an endocrinologist rather.At least, it will definitely not hurt to get tested, but it can help to identify hormonal problems, early menopause, incorrectly selected blood glucose, an inappropriate lifestyle, ovarian diseases and much more.

2. Libido is not only about sex. In a broad sense, it is synonymous with youth. Take care of its restoration, and it is very likely that after a banal course of vitamins and minerals, you will feel a completely different quality of life, both physically and emotionally.

3. Decrease in desire with age – a myth.In a healthy person, libido persists at any age.

4. If you think that your libido has always been low, or if it seems to you that it has decreased because your partner has become boring, make an appointment with a good endocrinologist. It is very likely that you will be in for a lot of surprises.

5. Ways to correct hormones and return libido – mass. These are drugs with testosterone and drugs that affect its production, as well as dietary supplements with magnesium and much more. But only a doctor can prescribe them and only after tests for hormones and trace elements.And please, never try to interpret your test results yourself. The boundaries of the so-called “norm” are very conditional, individual and depend on the ratio of different indicators.