I Know Why Your Sex Drive Is Gone

Most of us don’t know a whole lot about sexual desire. And what we think we know — is often wrong.

I Know Why Your Sex Drive Is Gone
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“Why has my sexual desire decreased?” — five words I hear strung together on a daily basis in my job as a sex therapist. Often, they’re accompanied by worry, sadness and sometimes even panic.

Losing our sexual spark can be distressing and all-consuming.

Most of us don’t know a whole lot about sexual desire. And what we think we know — is often wrong.

In pop culture, libido is portrayed as this instant, chemical reaction the existent of which depends entirely on hormones.

Men, in and of themselves, are seen as raging hormones, and women are viewed as hormonal nutters who never want sex.

None of this is actually true — men don’t always want sex(!) and women actually do want sex a whole lot of the time. And — our yearning for sex has to do with a lot more than just our hormones.

Sexual desire is a complex phenomenon. One that’s affected by things such as our relationship with our partner — and our relationship with ourselves.

If you’re suffering from a lacklustre libido, you might want to hold off on the conclusion that there’s something wrong with your body just yet, and instead look to the following 3 reasons as possible explanations for your lacking drive. My guess is at least one of them will answer your question; “why has my sexual desire decreased?"

Reason #1: You Have Sex To Please Your Partner

If I had to list only one culprit, it would perhaps be this one.

Sleeping with your partner to please them isn’t always a bad idea; but most of the time, at least from the perspective of a sex therapist, it is.

When it becomes the main reason you engage in sex with your partner, it tends to do a number on a lot of things, including your libido.

Our sex drive is a kind of motivational system. In order for us to feel like having sex, we need to give our libido an incentive to kick into gear. But not just any old incentive — it needs to be pleasure-based.

This means, if you have sex in order to get rid of a negative effect instead of trying to create a positive one, your sex drive will in time, diminish.

For example, instead of having sex in order to get closer to your partner or experience sexual pleasure — you might be engaging in sex so you can stop your partner from bringing up how long it’s been.

Or to get your partner to stop nagging you.

Or to stop edging closer to you on the sofa while you’re watching Netflix.

Or — to not leave you.

But the more you experience sex as an unpleasant activity, the more your brain comes to view sex as something you should avoid. Effectively, it tries to get you to avoid it by shutting down your libido. After all — the brain sees a thriving sex drive as the means to a grim end.

Having sex for the sole purpose of pleasing your partner can also lead to situations where sex feels like, or even turns into, sexual assault. If this is you, I’d urge you to seek help from a professional. It doesn’t have to be like this.

For all of these reasons, and more, it’s important to refrain from having sex if you don’t actually want it or don’t enjoy it while you’re having it.

Reason #2: You're Ashamed Of Your Body

When you’re asking yourself “why has my sexual desire decreased”, you might also want to look for the answer in the relationship you have with your body.

Sex is all about letting go and being in the moment — something that’s often made difficult by focusing on how we look at certain angles during the act.

Shame about our bodies is often rooted in culture — be it the one that existed in our immediate family growing up or society at large.

We’re taught from a young age that only certain body types or even skin types(!), are beautiful.

That the only people who are truly deserving of sexual pleasure look a certain way.

That in order for us to be desired and feel desire, we need to be a certain kind of attractive. And for most of us — all sexes in fact — these ideals are unattainable.

This plunges us into a pit of shame. Shame about how we look, shame about how we feel about our bodies, even shame about feeling ashamed — we’re meant to be proud of our bodies, right?

It’s like you can’t win.

Shame makes you feel bad, and when you feel bad about yourself, chances are you won’t want to have sex. This might not be news, but it’s worth exploring if you’re experiencing shame about your body — because it’s likely impacting your libido negatively.

Reason #3: You And Your Partner Have Mismatched Libidos

If you’re in a monogamous relationship, desire discrepancy is probably one of the largest contributing factors to your suffering libido.

Feeling like you can never keep up with your partners’ appetite for sex turns the whole thing stressful.

Every move your partner makes seems it’s geared towards getting you turned on.

Every time they look at you they, seemingly, have sex in their eyes.

This causes your brain to go into overdrive and a million and one thoughts about sex, your relationship, and your non-existent libido pop up.

The stress this all creates raises the cortisol levels in your body, and your body has to make a choice; either it can survive the threat the cortisol is telling your brain exists, or it can get horny. And for most of us — our brain doesn’t choose horny.

It’s not only the stress and angst brought on by your partner’s libido that leads to your low libido. It’s also affected by how the two of you handle the issue together.

Two of the most common ways to handle the discrepancy are to either have too many (negative) conversations about sex or to not have enough of them.

It’s not your fault — talking about sex is difficult. It’s a sensitive subject and we’ve never been taught how to handle it properly.

But when sex is only ever talked about in a negative way — or you dance around the topic because it fills you with worry or shame — your libido fades.

The ‘Why’ Tells You ‘How’

Low libido is common and can be distressing, especially if you’re unsure of why it’s happened in the first place. In order to answer the question “why has my sexual desire decreased” you need to address the following:

Examine the reasons you’re engaging in sex and ask yourself if you’re only doing it to please your partner. If so — it’s likely affecting your sex drive negatively.

Think about how you feel about your body and what your relationship with it is like. It’s normal for a negative one to impact libido.

Consider you and your partner’s differing desires and levels of libido. If they’re not in sync (which they aren’t for most of us), and you’re experiencing difficulty dealing with it — it could be one of the main causes of your low drive.

Once you know why your sexual desire has decreased — you can start to take steps to increase it.

Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer with a Master of Science in Sexology. She’s been featured in YourTango, Babe, The Tab, Glamour, Sexography, The Minds Journal, The Good Men Project and more. For more advice on sexual and relationship issues, visit her website.

Originally published at Therapy by Leigh.

sexual wellness
Leigh Norén
Leigh Norén
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Leigh Norén

Sex therapist with a Master of Science in Sexology. Offers free online resources for a better sex life and relationship, sex therapy, and online courses.

Download free resources: www.therapybyleigh.com/sexual-emotional-intimacy-resources

See all posts by Leigh Norén