Throughout life many things affect our sex drive including children, stress, body confidence, medical issues and the menopause. Midlife often sees a big decrease in libido, impacted by the reduction in oestrogen and testosterone. Sexual thoughts and desires may disappear, causing a lot problems with self-confidence and within your relationships.
There are so many lifestyle, medical and phycological reasons that your sex drive might be low. It is often a combination of a number of factors in our minds and bodies It’s often linked to menopause, relationship issues, stress, tiredness and mental health but it can also be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as reduced hormone levels. – all of which we can get support for.
Like everything sex drive is different for all of us, the key is to find the libido level that feels good for you – if low sex drive is distressing you can address this with self-care, medical and lifestyle changes. By doing this you can rebuild your desire for sex.
Hormones and Other Health Problems
Your estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels reduce in midlife which plays a big part in reducing desire, and many woman suffer with vaginal dryness. Although the amount of testosterone women have is smaller than men it still has a significant impact on libido. The hormonal changes affect your vagina and sexual performance. However you can get help from your doctor, they will perform a blood test and decide on the best hormone treatment with you. Estrogen patches, pills, sprays and gels may be helpful, or smaller doses are available in vaginal creams, or a slow releasing suppository.
Of course, it may not just be hormones, as there are many physical problems that can can interfere with your sex life. Don’t be embarrassed about going to your doctor – it’s an important issue in all our lives and should be addressed. Not only that, it can be a side effect of serious illness so it’s important to be fully checked out by a doctor.
Mental Health and Stress
The adrenal gland cortex produces stress hormones and are responsible for making adrenaline. When stressed, our heart rate increases, we can get nervous stomach, hot flashes, anxiety and insomnia, all of which impact sex. Finding was to reduce sex tension in the body and mind could help with libido – you may have found this when you are on holiday and relaxed in the past! Studies show that people feel more amorous when their stress levels are lower.
Depression is serious illness and it can affect every part of your life including your sex life. Low sex drive can also, unfortunately be a side effect of anti-depressants. If you are experiencing extreme low mood, make sure you talk to a doctor about how its affecting your life.
Healthy Diet Lifestyle Choices
Eating a healthier diet can help you reduce stress and help your body perform. Balancing your cholesterol levels will also help, as both low and high cholesterol can affect your sex hormones. Eating a healthy diet and lean protein can all help.
Getting the right vitamins can improve your libido, and supplements are a great way to ensure you are getting the vitamins you need. Try taking Vitamin C before bed, and Vitamin B5 supplements help with energy and sexual drive.
If you are really struggling, taking to a sex therapists or counsellor specialised in sexual concerns. It can help educate you about sexual response and techniques, as well as provide recommendations for reading materials or particular exercises. Couples counselling that addresses relationship issues also helps bring you clothes together and increase feelings of intimacy and desire. There are many issues in relationships that can cause problems with low libido such as:
- 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
There are also many relationship support services such as Relate, that provide advice and support services, or many sexual health charities and services. 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 and being generally happier.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a long period can reduce your sex drive. If you are struggling with your sex drive, it may be best to cut out alcohol altogether as part of a healthy lifestyle.