Hello dear friends!
Let’s talk libido. It’s one of the many things that seems to fly away when we fall into chronic illness, or simply as we get older. Some of us long for our days in our 20’s when we were raring to go, while some of us can’t remember ever feeling up for it. No matter where you are on the spectrum now, you may wish that you could reignite the flames, and enjoy being sexual again. But often, it takes a true detective to unravel the mystery of where our libido has gone! There are dozens of factors that play into our interest in sex, all working together to get us in the mood, or take us out of it.
If you’re alive on the planet today (I’m assuming you are, since you’re reading this) you’ve likely received the socially-conditioned message that a high sex drive is a good thing. We live in a sex-saturated culture. It’s everywhere we look. And this places a lot of pressure on people of all genders to be sexual, even when they may not want to. So, the first thing I recommend when someone comes to me with a low libido issue is to ask whether they’re actually unhappy with their sex life, or if they’re simply feeling pressured to change it. This is key.
But going beyond the social expectations of sexual behavior (we don’t have time to unpack that right now), if you’re wondering where the heck your libido has gone, I recommend going through this list. I almost guarantee that 2-3 of these apply to you! Sexuality is a sacred thing, a powerful energy that we all have access to. Whether you are single, partnered, or in between, it’s a great idea to address these factors, to make sure you’re giving yourself the best shot possible at a satisfying sex life.
Ready to dive in? Alright! Here are 13 things (in no particular order) that could be killing your sex drive:
I know, it’s a big fat “duh” for this one. But in all seriousness, if you are exhausted or fatigued, you’re likely not up for getting down. The adrenal glands are one of the most important spots for production of the hormones and neurotransmitters that sustain libido, and many of us suffer from adrenal fatigue or weakness. Getting more rest and reducing stress are imperative, but I also highly recommend incorporating adaptogen herbs into your daily routine, to help heal the adrenal glands.
There are dozens of meds out there that have proven effects on libido, and one of the biggest offenders is anti-depressants. All classes of antidepressants can cause loss of sexual interest and/or functioning, so if you’re one of the millions of people taking these medications, this could be the culprit. Some other meds like those for high blood pressure, birth control pills, or other synthetic hormones may interfere with sexual arousal or ability to orgasm as well.
3. Body image
When you’re down on yourself, and don’t like the way you look, you’re much less likely to want to get naked. This is a huge problem for many people! Having body image issues can seriously dampen your desire, and your ability to sexually connect with anyone else. I know it’s not as simple as having someone tell you that you’re gorgeous and sexy and attractive, but it’s a place to start.
Mood and stress are two of the biggest factors in whether someone will be interested in sex, and understandably so! Sexuality, and its biological reproductive drive, is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). So, when we’re anxious, worried, upset, depressed, apathetic, or lethargic, our bodies prioritize other survival-related things, and shut off the sex drive.
5. Poor diet
What you eat matters. Not just to your waistline and your arteries, but to your sexy bits as well. If you’re chowing down lots of junky, processed foods that are high in oils, additives, and fats, your body isn’t going to function well, and that includes everything below the belt. Diets high in animal products, especially dairy, are particularly hard on the libido. Try to cut out the junk, lower your fats, and bring in lots more colorful fruits and veggies.
A body that is dried out isn’t going to take well to playtime. Good sex requires fluid motions, lubrication, and a clear head, and you can’t have any of these if you’re dehydrated. Not drinking (or eating) enough living fluids like water, fruits, veggie juices, or coconut water will leave your cells parched. Adding in things like daily caffeine or boozing it up too often have also been shown to reduce sexual function.
7. Crappy partners
Let’s be honest- if your current partner is bad in bed, you’re probably not going to be in the mood much. Or, if you’ve had previous partners that gave you a lackluster bedroom experience, you may not have interest in trying again. It’s possible that your lagging libido could be from having too much bad sex! If this sounds like you, either try communicating with your current partner, or investing in your own self-lovin’ practice, to get things juiced up again.
8. Stored trauma
I see a LOT of stored trauma, stuck energy, and energy cords in the sacral chakra, especially in women. This chakra is the seat of our sexual power, and when things aren’t flowing here, it’s hard to be present to a positive sexual experience. These stored traumas can range from rape/sexual abuse, to body dysmorphia, bad past interactions with partners, and so much more. Addressing underlying trauma and stuck energy is an important part of the sexual healing process.
What happens if you continually train yourself to become aroused or reach orgasm through artificial visual stimulation? Your brain and body lose interest in “real life” sexual situations! Say what you want about pornography, but it’s all a fantasy. 99% of the time, these are actors, on sets, with lighting and makeup, with fake body parts and fake orgasms. And when this kind of media is a regular thing for you, real interactions with real people can’t compare, and thus, the sexual response is much weaker.
We’re talking about both routine, chronic pain (like fibromyalgia), and sex-related pain here. Both can blunt your libido. While orgasms can release pain-fighting chemicals in the body, getting there can be extremely uncomfortable for some (if you even get there at all). Body aches and pains, migraines, joint pain, etc...can reduce your interest in sex. And sex-related pain like vulvodynia is more common than you might think.
11. Endocrine disruptors
Of all the horrible things we humans have put into our environment, endocrine disrupting chemicals are some of the worst for your sex drive. These chemicals, like BPA, dioxin, phthalates, fire retardants, and heavy metals, interrupt normal hormonal signaling, and can cause changes in your reproductive function. We often come in contact with these through plastics, our water supply, cleaning products, and cosmetics/body products. Detoxing your home of these things may help your libido come back.
When it comes to sexual response, particularly for women, context is everything. If your lover is making a move on you, and you’re surrounded by clutter, trash, unpleasant smells, dirty dishes, etc...you may have a hard time getting in the mood. This isn’t to say you can’t have sex until your home is clean, but keep in mind that the more stuff you have around you, the more energetic clutter you’ll feel. This is especially true of items that hold difficult or complex memories.
13. Disconnection from pleasure
In case you missed it, sex is supposed to be pleasurable! It shouldn’t be a chore, or feel like an obligation. So if you’re cut off from pleasure in other areas of your life, you may not have much interest in sex. In this puritanical and productivity-obsessed culture we live in, we’ve been conditioned to think of play/pleasure as selfish, frivolous, childish, or immoral. And it’s hard not to absorb those messages to some degree. But pleasure is our birthright! Start finding it everywhere you can- in music, in food, in nature, in art, etc…
It’s perfectly normal for your sex drive to wax and wane throughout your life. There will be periods where you’re revved up and ready, and periods where you’re just not that into it. And that’s okay! Just make sure you address these 13 things, to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance possible at a satisfying sex life. Remember that sexuality, particularly for women, is a complex, mind/body/spirit experience. It’s usually not just one thing that’s factoring into a low libido.
So friends, what do you think? How many of these things resonated with you? If you need more personalized guidance to help you get your groove back, reach out. I’m happy to help!
Also, I highly recommend the book Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, if you’re curious about the science of sexual desire and function. I loved geeking out over this one!
Until next time,
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~