Loss of Libido
Loss of libido or the sex drive is far more common in women than men, however decreased sexual appetite does effect both sexes. The are many factors that can influence a loss of desire for both men and women. However no matter which partner is suffering from decreased interest in sex, loss of libido can wreck havoc on any intimate relationship.
Except in rare instances where it is the direct result of some kind of disease state such as certain cancers, or injury to the sex organs, loss of libido usually does not happen spontaneously or overnight. Loss of libido occurs gradually over time. Doctors describe loss of libido as loss of interest in sex for at least a few months out of the past year.
Recognizing Loss of Libido
You may be experiencing a loss of libido if you can answer “yes” to a majority of the following:
- Does you intimate touching only take place in the bedroom?
- Does sex no longer give you a feeling of connection and sharing?
- Is one partner in your relationship always the initiator and does the other feel pressured or obligated perform?
- Do you no longer look forward to having sex?
- Does your sex life feel mechanical, routine, or a like a chore
- Do you no longer ever have sexual thoughts or fantasies about your spouse, or anyone else for that matter?
- Do you no longer have sexually explicit dreams?
- Do you have sex only once or twice a month at most?
Loss of Libido in WomenLoss of libido is reported by women far more often then by men. In the United States the American Medical Association has estimated that several million US women suffer from the condition that doctors there have labeled “female sexual arousal disorder” or FSAD. In The UK no formal studies on the number of women suffering form FSAD have been done, but some estimates have said nearly half of the women in Britain report some level of lack of sexual desire. Yet that number seems more likely put out by the mates at the local pub. Based on estimates of women seeking help for lack of libido at family planning centers and Relate Clinics, it seems that at any given time there are at least several hundred thousand women in the UK that are experiencing loss of libido.
Loss of Libido in Men
Losing interest in sex may only effect about 15 –16% of men. Lack of libido is therefore far less common in men than women, but it can be also be far more embarrassing or devastating for the male in a relationship. In our society so much of a man’s masculinity is tied up in sexual prowess, that a loss of sexual desire can be very emasculating, and emotionally compromising for men.
Causes of Lack of Libido
For both men and women, lack of libido has either physical or emotional causes. Some physical and of course many of the emotional causes can over lap, but the specific physical causes for loss of sexual desire in women can be:
- Anemia - a lack of iron, very common in women because of iron loss during menstruation
- Post-baby issues – loss of libido often happens after childbirth. It is not only related to the hormonal changes that occur after giving birth. The general trauma of childbirth plays a role, and not to mention that after having a baby, the last thing on the minds of many women is having sex.
- Hyperprolactinaemia - a rare disorder in which the pituitary gland is overactive.
- Other Hormonal Issues - imbalance of the level of LH has been shown to cause lack of desire. Also, a lack of appropriate levels of androgenic (male) hormones has been reported in some women who have lost their libido
Contrary to popular belief menopause does not cause a lack of libido in most women. In fact many women report a much more satisfying sex life after menopause.
Again while there are certain emotional factors that can lead to decreased sexual desire in men or women there are some emotional or psychological issues more likely to cause women to experience a loss of libido. Such as:
- A past rape or incestuous relationship
- Problems in the relationship
- Problems in the household
- Self-esteem issues
MenAs with women there are “cross over” causes for lack of desire in males, but there are also specifically male causes for lack of libido.
- Erectile Dysfunction – ED or impotence is not the same thing as lack of libido, but the inability to perform can lead to a man’s lack of desire to have sex.
- Other forms of ED such as pre-mature ejaculation, or performance anxiety can have the same effect.
Factors That Can Effect Either Sex
- Drug abuse
- Major diseases such as diabetes or cancer
- Prescription drugs most notably tranquilizers and certain antidepressants
- Stress and Overwork
Treatments for Lack of Libido
Since the reasons for a reduced sex drive can be so varied for both men and women it is difficult to discuss the many effective treatments available. The good news is that once the cause is determined usually loss of libido can be reversed. For that reason it is advised that if you feel you are experiencing a loss of libido discuss the condition with your physician. Through diagnosis, cooperation by your partner, perhaps medication, and emotional counseling – you can likely return to an active and healthy sex life.