Men's Health

Common Causes of Low Libido and No Sexual Desire

Fact Checked

If you're having trouble getting it up, or if your sex drive is on the low side, there are several reasons why this could be happening. See our guide as to what could be causing low libido.

Last Updated: 04/25/2022

Written by

Eric Ridenour

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Paul Thompson

If you're having trouble getting it up, or if your sex drive is on the low side, there are several reasons why this could be happening. It's essential to address these issues as soon as possible, as they can hugely impact your overall health and well-being. Not only that, but a low libido can also be a sign of other underlying medical conditions, mental health problems, or an indicator of other sexual problems. This post will cover some of the most common causes of low libido and no sex drive.

What exactly is low libido?

Having a low libido means you have a lack of sexual desire or sexual engagement.

It's natural to lose your interest in sex from time to time, and libido levels tend to fluctuate throughout one's life. It's also completely normal for your interest in sex to differ from your spouse at times.

Loss of libido for an extended length of time, on the other hand, may cause personal distress and anxiety for certain people. It can occasionally indicate a more severe health problem such as low hormone levels such as a testosterone deficiency causing a low sex drive.

Here are a few possible causes of decreased sex drive:

Symptoms of low sexual health

It's unlikely either you or your spouse will have sex more often than the other. Even when there is less desire for sex in a relationship, the overall sexual health of your relationship can still stay strong. There is no magical number of times having sex per week or month that define low sex drive. Depending on your age and gender, and other factors, what constitutes decreased libido can be different for everyone. Having a low sex drive can also be caused by female sexual dysfunction.

Have kids?

Parents work full-time and have to make time for themselves and their little ones. Lifestyle changes like planning quiet hours for intimacy and sexual desires can involve a little imaginative thinking, such as having sexual contact while sleeping or hiring a babysitter so parents can have playtime. 

Additionally, According to peer reviewed studies, becoming a parent causes a rapid drop in testosterone levels, suggesting that while high levels of the hormone may help males win a partner, testosterone-fueled behaviors like aggressiveness and competitiveness are less effective when it comes to raising children.

Previous studies had found that testosterone levels in new dads were lower than in males of the same age who did not have children. If you notice a drop in energy, reduced desire for sex, you may want to talk to your doctor about testosterone replacement therapy.

Too little sleep

As with sports, resting muscles increase performance. Lacking sleep may lead to decreased sex drive. Obstructive sleep apnea may be a contributing factor in poor sleep quality and a reduced desire for sex. Medical care can help when someone suspects that they are having trouble sleeping.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in men and is usually caused by excessive fat in the chest and throat. Losing weight can help you sleep better.

Sex-drive killer: Stress

A high cortisol-to-testosterone ratio indicates persistent stress. Cortisol levels, testosterone levels, and the ratio of cortisol to testosterone levels have all been employed as endocrinological markers of stress in small-scale human and animal investigations.

The body doesn't respond well to stress. Emotional stress can influence bodily functions, including sexual desires and performance. The best way to treat these symptoms is to recognize their root causes. Self-help might help, but a person will often need a counselor.

Many symptoms of stress and low testosterone are shared, linked via the stress hormone cortisol. There is some evidence that high cortisol levels lower testosterone, but there is no evidence that taking testosterone can reduce stress or that stress reduction will boost testosterone.

It doesn't end there. Low T from stress also leads to heart disease, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, other blood flow issues, and a host of other medical conditions. If stress is elevated in your life, this is one issue you really should talk to your doctor about ASAP.

Alcohol

Alcohol does not help solve problems it creates more than it solves over the long term. Alcohol can decrease inhibitions but can reduce libido and sexual performance.

Frequent alcohol use can lead to a vicious cycle of sexual dysfunction and relationship problems in a person's life. Your partner may not be pleased with the drunk advances and be discouraged from the idea. While Alcohol can sometimes help boost self-esteem, it is a crutch, not a solution to long-term sexual health issues.

Erection problems

Erectile dysfunction can impact sexual ability and how a person perceives the ability to perform. ED is caused by various causes, including relationship issues, high blood pressure, and antidepressant medications, among other reasons. However, ED can be treated through multiple treatments, and a sexual health specialist or relationship counseling can help you determine what option is right for you and your partner.

Poor body image

People lack self-confidence about how they look and how their body is shaped, or other physical characteristics affect their sexual desires. Getting comfortable with yourself is a good start. If you have poor self-esteem, it can lead to a decreased interest in pursuing the opposite sex and overall reduced sexual desire.

Obesity

Obesity is a leading cause of depression. Your feelings about yourself affect your enjoyment of your sexual experience. Not only that, but obesity makes you more tired, reduces muscle mass, reduces a person's desire to pursue sexual activity, causes high blood pressure and low self-esteem. 

Overall, obesity and stress may be the two most significant causes of low libido that you can quickly fix through a lifestyle change.

Medication

Certain medications can cause a reduction in sex drive and libido impairment. Various prescription medications can affect sex drive, produce low testosterone, and a host of other symptoms. 

These medications can contain entire classes of substances that could influence sexual drive in various forms. Sometimes, a Tagamet (cimetidine) drug may pose problems when ingested long term. Stopping or changing a drug might reverse achronic illnesses that impair sexual function. 

It's possible that adjusting the dose can help improve sexual desire as well. Please do not modify any prescriptions without contacting your doctor first.

However, several medications can also fix a reduced sexual desire that can boost libido and improve overall sexual function.

Depression

Depression and decreased libido are often associated. Depression causes low libido in men and can lead to more trouble in the future and cause more stress, further causing more problems than blocking sexual function. 

In addition to treating depression, antidepressants may exacerbate sexual desire issues and even cause depression in some cases. 

If you take a prescription for depression and have lower sexual desires, you may want to talk to a doctor about it. Switching to another drug or even adding a sex hormone medicine that can positively affect libido may work well. 

However, if you consider adding a medication to improve sexual function, be clear with your doctor on any other medications you may be taking from another doctor to avoid a potentially harmful interaction.

Low Testosterone

You may be seeing a theme here. Many issues revolve around low testosterone in creating a low sex drive. Testosterone is an effective hormone for male sexual desire. This is responsible for typical male traits, such as facial hair and muscles. The hormone also supports sexual drive and sperm production. Testosterone levels peak during adolescence and late adulthood and drop over time. The American Urological Association describes low testosterone as <300 ng/dL of blood.

Chronic Illnesses

Chronic stress in the body can affect your sexual performance. This may also occur in chronic diseases and conditions such as chronic fatigue and aging. Chronic illness increases the person's chance of depression. 

Another possibility is directly affecting hormone-related neurological and cardiovascular functions, central to male sex drive. Furthermore, the treatment of chronic conditions (like chemotherapy and cardiovascular drug) can also affect libido.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder 

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a form of neurological disease and physical sexual disorder in which men have a low desire to have sex for a lengthy period (at least six months), resulting in considerable levels of emotional suffering, which is an essential component of a diagnosing HSDD.

Partner Conflicts

Stress from fighting with a significant other can also affect sex drive. Both partners need connections, and women especially need closeness. 

Poor communication, betrayal, a lack of faith, and repeated fighting and criticism can lead to poor relationship quality, killing sex drive. Generally, counseling can help couples when they feel that they can't resolve the issue alone.

Lifestyle factors on sexual health

It is possible to have low libido due to certain lifestyle conditions. They can generally be more easily fixed by reducing the behavior. Although these behaviors can negatively impact our mood, one should not assume low sex drive is solely based on lifestyle factors and not other symptoms without consulting a doctor.

How to Improve a Low Sex Drive

Improving sexual desire typically begins by finding the source. Likewise, finding ways to relax and reduce stress could increase euphoria in sexual function. Some lifestyle modifications can help improve your desire for sex. 

Certain lifestyle adjustments may help enhance your sex desire in some situations. You can take the following steps on your own.

  • Participating in frequently physical exercise

  • Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet

  • Keeping a healthy weight

  • Getting enough sleep

If you have a low sexual function because of psychological difficulties like anxiety or depression or problems in your relationship, you should see a therapist. Effective therapies can help you enhance your mental health that can also boost your sex drive. Counseling for relationships may also be effective.

Summary

Low sexual function and libido are standard in males but can cause several problems. Low sex drive may be caused by low testosterone, medication, other side effects, depression, chronic illnesses, stress and insomnia, and lifestyle factors. Unlike alcohol or drugs, treatment for this issue may not be necessary. You should consult an experienced physician when your sexual function abilities cause problems.