Reddit is a social media platform that allows users to discuss topics of interest in relevant forums and share information with other users via content threads. Users can give “up votes” or “down votes” to posts on threads, a method that contributes to the order of the posts with more popular comments rising to the top of each thread.
Low sexual desire is a frequently reported though poorly understood problem among women. The complex nature of female sexual dysfunction and the comparative lack of scientific information around it makes it something of an enigma for researchers and health care providers alike.
Therefore, a group of investigators sought to shed more light on the subject by analyzing about 2,900 comments from 85 threads on the TwoXChromosomes subreddit. The comments in question pertained to one of the key search words: “libido” or “sex drive.” A total of 63 threads were pulled with the keyword “libido,” and 22 were pulled with “sex drive.”
The researchers then reviewed all the comments and identified the following common themes:
Regarding relationships, the researchers found many posts that discussed mismatched libidos between sexual partners and the frequently resulting power dynamics of who decided when, where, and how to have sex in the relationship. On the other hand, several posters mentioned having good communication in their relationships around sex and partners who were supportive and did not pressure them to have sex.
The most common comments in terms of libido were that many of the posters experienced low libido. Several mentioned the need to normalize low libido and discussed variability in libido due to changes in hormones and age.
Psychological matters in the form of distress, bodily autonomy, and gender stereotypes were another common subject on these threads. Some posters expressed feeling a sense of duty to have sex for their partners, while others stressed the importance of sexual agency, or deciding whether to have sex or not according to one’s own will.
Medications such as hormonal birth control pills and antidepressants were frequently mentioned as causes for declines in libido on these threads. While some posters shared that they discontinued their medications for this reason, others were concerned about stopping or changing their medications for the possible negative side effects.
Lastly, with regard to intimacy, many posters desired intimacy and viewed sex as a way to build it with their partners. However, some expressed that nonsexual forms of intimacy such as holding hands, kissing, and casual touching were more important to them than sex.
This study provided a way for researchers to view how women describe low libido in their own words. The findings may help couples understand that a person’s sex drive can vary over time and according to different factors, but it is normal and there are solutions for couples who wish to improve their sexual connection.
For more information on this topic, please read these publications from the ISSM Journals: The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Sexual Medicine Reviews, and Sexual Medicine Open Access:
Belcher, R.E., Sim, D., Meykler, M., Owens-Walton, J., Hassan, N., Rubin, R.S., & Malik, R.D. (2023). A qualitative analysis of female Reddit users’ experiences with low libido: how do women perceive their changes in sexual desire?. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 20(3), 287-297. https://doi.org/10.1093/jsxmed/qdac045