Modern Life Tough on Libido
The pace of modern life is tough on libido, where heavy work-loads, relationship stress, and other health issues like the side effects of anti-depressants can all reduce libido and leave you feeling like sex is the just one more demand you can’t meet.
Add to that the bigger expectations both men and women have about maintaining an active sex life since erection drugs like Viagra came on the market and it’s not surprising our bodies sometimes feel they cannot keep up.
(One Australian survey showed 16% of men and 13% of women blame work for a failing sexual libido.)
Libido Problems for Australian Men and Women
A major study on Australian sex and relationships found low libido was the most common sexual problem faced by Aussie men and women. Men’s libido issues affected 25% of Aussie blokes; women’s libido problems caused 55% of females concern.
Sexologist Elaine George from Sexology Australia says she commonly sees men who are suffering from low libido and other sex therapists say 25 to 40 per cent of men complain they need a libido boost.
And surveys of Australian women’s sexual libido show
- around 60 per cent of women in the 29 to 59 age group have experienced low libido in the last year
Given the choice of going to the movies, going out with friends, sleeping, eating, drinking or having sex:
- 38 per cent of women in their 30s picked sex compared to 68 per cent of men
- 23 per cent picked sleep – double the proportion of men.
- Men are two to three times more likely to initiate sex – except for the over 50s where it is more likely to be a joint decision.
Evolutionary theorists have suggested male libido remains high to allow them to produce many offspring, while female libido decreases as their attention turns toward child-rearing.
Low Libido Not Erectile Dysfunction
Lack of libido is not to be confused with erectile dysfunction. Most men with lack of libido can achieve erections, but have lost the desire to have sex.
Sex therapist David Schnarch Ph D. says physical arousal and subjective arousal do not always occur hand-in-hand. You can be obviously physically aroused, but not feel that way. And conversely, you can feel a strong sense of sexual libido, but find your body is not responding.
Dr Schnarch says in Resurrecting Sex (Harper Collins) that libido difficulties “generally show up as persistent lack of sexual fantasies and disinterest in sexual activity.”
Low Libido Causes Relationship Problems
Libido problems drain intimacy and good feelings from relationships. The partner with normal sexual libido may feel confused about the difference between libido and physical readiness to have sex and feel rejected by their partner’s lack of interest.
When one partner is physically capable of sex, but does not want sex, it is natural to take the rejection personally and conclude he – or she – doesn’t want me.
Causes of Low Libido
A man’s libido is more physically rooted, but he is still susceptible to emotional factors like:
- Relationship issues
As well as physical causes of libido problems:
- Side effects of medication
- Physical illness
A woman’s libido is of course also affected by these factors, but her libido is also more likely to be affected by her wider daily experience:
- If her relationship is unsatisfying or
- Her mood is on a downer
It will a lot harder for her to feel interest in sex. Sydney sex therapist Dr Rosie King says everything that happens in a woman’s day affects her libido.
Things that can cause you to need a libido treatment include:
- Emotional factors; Stress, fatigue, anxiety
- Relationship conflict or distance
- Physical factors; obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease
- Side effects of medication for depression, arthritis or prostate treatment
- Hormonal imbalance – Low testosterone or changes from menopause or the Pill
What You Can Do About Low Libido
Oral erectile dysfunction drugs have no effect on sexual desire, and so other remedies are needed.
- Men (and some women): raising testosterone levels, either through injection, patch, or supplements
- Women: bio-identical hormone replacement
- Relationship focus: Make time for each other, talk about your feelings and sexual needs, seek counselling support if needed
- Lifestyle changes: reduce stress, get more sleep, plan a weekend away together
- Herbal supplements like Herbal Ignite: herbs are traditionally used to increase sexual libido include: tribulus terrestris, horny goat weed, tongkat ali, damiana, avena sativa and muira puama.