Worried about your low libido? Sex drives change with age and hormones, fluctuate within relationships, and can be affected by several physical conditions or even the medication you are taking.
But if your low libido is a consistent problem despite good health otherwise, if it is causing you problems in your relationships or leaving you with low self-esteem, it’s time to consider psychological causes.
Do you feel too exhausted and overwhelmed by a recent life change to feel sexually attractive? Or are you wound up and panicky for no apparent reason, preferring to be alone lately?
Anxiety and stress hijack your headspace, leaving little to no room for sexual interest, or meaning you are so ‘in your thoughts’ that when you do engage in sex you find it hard to perform. You might feel disconnected from your body, or very tense and unsettled.
Do you always feel ‘ok’ or ‘fine’ but never sad, really excited, or angry?
Keeping all your emotions stuffed down out of sight and controlled can mean you are also, unknowingly, repressing and controlling other things like passion, excitement, and, yes, your sex drive. Emotions make us available and vulnerable to others, which increases intimacy and sexual attraction (which is perhaps why sex after a fight is known for being enjoyable!).
Staying in relationships that are no longer working and that deep down you know you will never again be happy in, over risking the upheaval leaving might cause in your life, is of course an option. But a low sex drive is often the side effect, followed by mild depression and decreasing self-esteem.
Does sex make you feel ugly and exposed? Or are you putting off a sexual relationship until you lose weight?
Body image issues can leave you feeling disconnected or even repulsed from your physical self, meaning you shut down and lose sight of your sex drive. They can be longstanding issues, or can be recent, triggered by something such as weight gain, a traumatic sexual encounter, or experiencing criticism.
Low self-esteem can leave you unable to feel desirable. It can also leave you self-protective, meaning you keep a distance from others, including sexually. Low self-esteem can be a problem that comes from childhood, but it can also be recent, triggered by something like a redundancy or breakup. So look to recent life changes you might be more upset about than you realise if your libido has taken a recent hit.
Do you often wonder if a past experience has affected your sex drive? Even if you aren’t sure what it is exactly?
Sexual abuse and sexual trauma such as assault are leading causes of problems with sex drive, equally so if the memory has been repressed. For some, abuse can mean you are left hypersexualised and with a core belief that you have to be physically desirable to everyone. But for others, it can mean you suffer anxiety or a disconnect when it comes to any sort of sexual experience.
Do you feel letting anyone close to you would mean they’d just let you down? Never able to be your self around others? Have anxiety when people get too close?
Lack of trust, often from a childhood where your trust was broken or you were not given the proper attachment to a caregiver a child requires, makes it hard to connect to others. This can mean sex leaves you anxious or removed.
Do you sometimes wonder who you really are, if you took away pleasing and going along with others?
If we are raised to always be a ‘good, pleasing’ child, we can grow up into an adult with no real sense of self. Part of this can be a sense of detachment from your sexuality, especially if at any point you were taught it was not a good thing to be interested in sex.
If you suspect that it might indeed be a psychological issue that has your sex drive at bay, it’s well worth seeking support. While it can feel intimidating to talk to friends about your libido issue, there is no need to feel embarrassed or strange around an experiencedc counsellor or psychotherapist. They are trained to deal with such very issues, and will have already helped many other people with similar challenges.
Would you like to talk to a friendly and experienced sex therapist in London? Harley Therapy puts you in touch with hand-selected therapists who can help you understand what is causing your low libido and find ways forward.
Still have a question about low libido? Or want to share your thoughts with our readers? Post in the comment box below.