What’s Causing Your Low Sex Drive?

What’s Causing Your Low Sex Drive?

Low sex drive can be puzzling. Sex is supposed be pleasurable, so why would anyone lose interest?

The answer might be simple, like a medication you’re taking. But it might also be complex, like stress in your relationship. Here are some of the more common libido-busters faced by men and women, along with links to help you learn more.

Low Testosterone

While it’s often associated more with men, testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women. Low sex drive is a common symptom of low testosterone.

Men can get a primer on low testosterone with the link below. You’ll find out about its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Low testosterone

Here are some more helpful links:

What Causes Low Testosterone?

How Can Low Testosterone Be Treated or Replenished? (video)

Low Testosterone and Low Sexual Desire (video)

Some women benefit from testosterone therapy, too, although the hormone has not been FDA-approved for this use. Also, it is not safe for all women, such as those with uterine or breast cancer, heart or liver disease, or high cholesterol.

Women and Testosterone


When estrogen levels decline at menopause, many women find themselves less interested in sex.

Sex for Women After 50

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenthood

Hormonal changes during and after pregnancy can affect a woman’s libido. And adjusting to life with a baby can make couples less interested in sex as well, especially when new parents are stressed and fatigued.

Sexual Function of Pregnant Women

Women’s Sexual Health After Childbirth

Parenthood and Sex

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

Sometimes, women lose interest in sex for a reason that can’t be explained. When this situation causes distress, doctors diagnose it as hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD. Click on the link below for an overview of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment.


These links may also help:

Talking About HSDD

Looking At HSDD

HSDD Infographic


Common medications - like antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood pressure drugs - can have sexual side effects, including diminished libido, as the blog posts below explain. If you’ve noticed a change in sex drive after starting a new medication, see your doctor. But don’t stop taking a certain drug without checking with your doctor first.

Drugs and Low Libido (Part 1)

Drugs and Low Libido (Part 2)

Birth Control Pills Can Have Sexual Side Effects

Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Relationship Issues

When we’re stressed, anxious, or depressed about something – such as work difficulties, parenting responsibilities, or taking care of an elderly relative – we might put so much focus on what’s happening that we lose interest in sex. The same can happen when life gets busy and we’re fatigued. Sometimes, we’re too tired to even think about it.

In addition, trouble in your relationship – such as infidelity or another breach of trust, anger, resentment, or even boredom – can make you feel less inclined to be intimate with that person. If you and your partner find yourselves in this situation, communication is key. Find a quiet time to discuss what’s happening and what you might do to resolve it. It can be worthwhile to see a counselor who specializes in couples counseling.

If you think the issue might be specific to your sexual relationship, you might give sex therapy a try.

Sex and Anxiety

What is Sex Therapy Like?

Sensate Focus

It’s important to know that low sex drive may have a combination of causes. For example, diabetes can lead to issues with libido, but the associated stress and anxiety of managing diabetes may also play a role. Men with diabetes often have trouble with erections, which can lead to anxiety about performance.

Similarly, cancer and its treatment can affect sexual function. Hormonal ups and downs, body image concerns, side effects of chemotherapy drugs, stress, anxiety, and depression can all interfere with a person’s libido.

Seeing your doctor is often the first step toward getting your sex drive back. Many people feel embarrassed to discuss sexual issues with a healthcare provider, but doing so can go a long way to improve your sexual health, your overall health, and your relationship with your partner.