A chronic aversion to having sex is a serious issue and may require expert intervention, but an occasional dry spell is quite normal and usually isn’t something to worry about. However, healthy sex life is one of the important factors in keeping a relationship going strong and happy – so you may want to figure out what is causing you your loss of appetite for sex. Once you figure out what the problem is, finding a solution is fairly easy and life in between the sheets can go back to normal!
Here are 6 common causes that could be killing your sexual appetite.
1. You’re Stressed Out
The word “stress” is flung around so often, people begin to roll their eyes at the very mention of it. However, the consequences of sex are very, very real and over time, it can do some serious damage to your health if you don’t try to nip it in the bud soon. In fact, 83 percent of Americans agree that stress can have a strong negative impact on personal health.1 Likewise, stress can also make you lose interest in sex.
Stress pushes your body to go into overdrive to help you respond to what your brain considers a potentially dangerous situation. Your body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and will go on releasing these hormones until your situation gets better. So if you’re battling sudden pressure at work or are facing financial problems which take a while to sort out, you could end up with an elevated level of stress hormones. This, in turn, can interfere with the functionality of your sex hormones that are responsible for igniting your sexual response.
2. You’re Not Into Your Partner
Consistent sexual arousal is largely associated with emotions. Intimacy and closeness are an important part of a healthy love life. If your feelings for your significant other are fading in your head and your heart, it is definitely going to lower your desire to have sex with him or her. Sometimes, you may start feeling less excited about sex with your partner even though your levels of desire are normal; this may be because you feel your significant other is lacking in the desire to have sex. This differential in sex drives can cause you added stress as it may make you feel deficient or lacking in certain desirable qualities and that leads to a whole set of problems altogether.
3. You’re On Antidepressants
It is indeed a very cruel twist of fate, but antidepressants are a very common culprit when it comes to a lowered sex drive. Sexual dysfunction is one of the main side effects of most antidepressant medications.2
Researchers are still trying to figure out how and why depression happens and how antidepressants fix this mental illness. Therefore, they are still not sure as to how antidepressants affect sexual function. However, it is believed that the increase in serotonin levels triggered by taking antidepressants decreases not just your sexual appetite, but also your ability to reach an orgasm. This is because serotoninergic nerve terminals target and affect dopamine and norepinephrine pathways inside the brain, inhibiting their activity. These two neurotransmitters play a huge role in the sexual desire and arousal phases of a human being’s sexual response cycle.3
And because most of the antidepressants you find in the market are known to affect your serotonin levels, it is no surprise that your sexual desire will take the blow.
4. You Have Low Body Image
In order to enjoy having sex, you need to be confident of your own body. This is often one of the biggest hurdles that come in the way of a person developing a healthy sense of sexuality. Feeling uncomfortable about your body will result in lowered self-esteem and you feeling that your partner deserves much better. It will also lead you to want to hide your body from your partner, and this, in turn, can not just lead to a decrease in sexual activity, but also a lowered sex drive.
5. You’re On Birth Control
There are, of course, conflicting conclusions regarding this particular subject – where some women actually report an increase in sexual desire, while some think nothing has changed at all. There are many women who are convinced that going on the pill has zapped them of all sexual desire and energy.
Birth control pills work by triggering the release of hormones that stop you from ovulating which basically means no more babies. However, during the menstrual cycle, the ovaries release testosterone – an important hormone that plays a huge role in fueling the desire to have sex (this is why so many women feel extra frisky when they’re ovulating). Some of this testosterone binds itself to a protein known as serum hormone binding globulin (SHBG) that is released by birth control pills. This process of binding to SHBG makes testosterone inactive. Studies have found that birth control pill users displayed four times the amount of SHBG than those women who had never used the pill. An increase in SHBG means more testosterone will bind to it, thus rendering this important sex hormone, and your sex drive inactive.
6. You’re Aging
Although some studies declare that sexual responses get better as you age, certain age-related changes can affect your libido. In women, it is largely perimenopause and menopause that lead to a decreased sex drive because of the dramatic levels of hormonal imbalance. Over time, age makes a woman’s vagina lose its ability to lubricate itself because of a drop in estrogen levels – and this can make sex horribly painful for many aging women.
In the case of men, aging comes with a significant decrease in testosterone levels – which causes a loss of sexual appetite. Erectile dysfunction is also very common in aging men. This is a huge blow to a man’s confidence levels as he is no longer able to perform well in bed. Therefore, his libido decides to shut down altogether simply so that he may protect his self-confidence.