Here’s the newsflash – there is actually no ‘normal’ sex drive you must measure up to. We don’t need to want sex all the time.
Nor are sex drives even consistent – they fluctuate across relationships and with age. And they can be affected by medication, illness, drinking too much, and even poor sleep.
Worried because you are a man so ‘should’ want sex all the time? It’s another myth. It’s estimated up to one in five men have a low libido.
What is true is that your sex drive is relative to only you and your own happiness. If you have always had a lower sex drive and feel comfortable with that, there is not necessarily any problem. It’s only when you feel your low sex drive is affecting your daily wellbeing that its time to ask good questions.
Good questions to ask about your low sex drive
1.) Is my physical health good? Am I on medication?
There are physical issues that obviously cause a low sex drive, such as hormonal and thyroid issues and chronic illness. Lesser known physical causes for a low sex drive include diabetes, sleep disorders, and overuse of alcohol and/or drugs. A low libido can also be a side effect of the medication you are taking, including antidepressants and contraception methods.
2). Is this low sex drive abnormal for me?
Often lose your sex drive when going through a life change, and then it bounces back? It might just be that you are stress sensitive, but otherwise there is no real issue. But if your low sex drive is sudden and you don’t know why, or if it’s long-term but you have a feeling inside it’s not who you really are, then it’s a problem.
3). Do I suffer low self-esteem because of my libido?
If you are happy with your libido, then it can perhaps just be time to stop comparing yourself to others. But if you secretly feel flawed because of your low sex drive, or avoid relationships, then it’s something to look into.
4).Is my lack of sexual interest across the board?
If you are still interested in other forms of sex such as self-stimulation and fantasy, and your low sex drive is only an issue with your present partner, it’s likely more a question of a relationship problem than a sex drive issue.
Do note, though, that if you’ve never been interested in real sex but only in pornography, it can be a sign of porn addiction over anything to do with a low sex drive.
5). Is my low libido always causing me problems in relationships?
If you are in a relationship where your low sex drive hasn’t caused problems, or are alone and happy with your low sex drive, it’s one thing. But if you avoid relationships because of your sex drive and feel terribly lonely, or if every time you are in a relationship you find yourself constantly fighting about sex, then your sex drive is directly affecting your daily life and you need support.
6). Do I feel ‘stuck’ somehow, like something inside me isn’t quite right?
If you have always had a low sex drive and it feels natural and comfortable to you, then it’s likely it’s genetic. But if you have instead a feeling of being fractured, or an instinct you are hiding something inside of you or can’t ‘sense’ who you are sexually somehow, it’s worth exploring what is behind such worries.
7). Do I feel there is an experience in my past that might be behind my low sex drive?
This might be a traumatic sexual experience, or something in your childhood. It might be something you remember, or it might just be a strange feeling you can’t put your finger on there is something in your past to be explored.
8). Is my lack of sex drive secretly upsetting me?
Whether or not your low sex drive is genetic or caused by psychological problems, if you feel upset by it then it’s worth seeking help.
9) Is my low sex drive the issue, or is it ‘desire discrepancy’?
If you were perfectly happy with your sex life and your sex drive until a new partner came along with a higher drive, it’s what psychology calls a ‘desire discrepancy’. You need to find a compromise that works, and focus on other forms of intimacy like increased trust and shared experience. If any of that seems hard, a couples counsellor can be a great help.
10) Is it possibly just a life change that I need to work out?
We all only have so much headspace and physical energy, and life change can cause so much stress there is no time left for a sex life. If you have recently gone through a bereavement, redundancy, moved house or country, or become an empty nester, consider dealing with the stress of that first before panicking that you’ve lost your sex drive.
11) Is it really a sex drive issue, or is it a relationship issue?
Low sex drives are often the result of a relationship experiencing a change. Perhaps the trust has been affected by something like an affair, or you have just become overfamiliar with each other. It could also be that you are simply in the wrong relationship and are sticking it out because you are afraid of the change that leaving would mean. If you aren’t sure what is causing the problem, again, a couples counsellor can help you talk to each other with clarity and kindness and find real ways forward.
When a low sex drive is a hidden psychological issue
A low sex drive can and often is related to psychological issues. Obvious ones include stress, depression, and anxiety. But there are others that might be more hidden and long-term.
To learn about the issues that might be blocking your sex drive, read the next piece in this series, “Low Libido – The Hidden Psychological Reasons You Don’t Want Sex“.
Would you like to speak to an experienced and empathic counsellor about your low sex drive or relationship problems? Harley Therapy puts you in touch with some of London’s best sex and relationship psychotherapists. Not in the UK? Try Skype Therapy from anywhere.