4 Reasons Why Low Libido Is Common In Men — And What You Can Do To Increase Sex Drive

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4 Reasons Why Low Libido Is Common In Men — And What You Can Do To Increase Sex Drive
Sex

Society views men as always ready for sex, and so when your sex drive is down, or you're suffering from low libido, impotence, or sexual dysfunction issues, it can feel like there's something seriously wrong with you.

After all, there are books about it, TV series that showcase libido issues — and let’s not get started on how pornographic films portray how men are "supposed to be" sex-driven all the time.

RELATED: 6 Sneaky Reasons Why Your Sex Drive Is Nonexistent

If I could only tell people one thing about sexual desire in men and people with penises, it would likely be this: It isn’t a constant. And there are a lot of reasons why sexual desire changes.

There are people every day, of all genders, who experience a loss of libido. Most are stressed about it.

Having no sex drive is seen as weird, abnormal, or threatening. After all, going without a sexual appetite for long periods of time is viewed as bad for a relationship or marriage.

Low libido can be particularly anxiety-inducing for those who are viewed by society as "walking hormones." But if you currently have little or no sex drive, I want you to know you’re not alone. About 13 to 28 percent of men experience waning sexual desire.

It is completely OK to not always be up for it. But if you want to increase your libido, that’s OK, too.

Here are 4 common reasons that men experience a decrease in their sex drive or have low libido — and what you can do to change that.

1. You're not able to conjure "sexy" thoughts.

When you’re in the mood for sex, your brain is focused on erotic thoughts. You’re thinking about what’s attracting you, what you want to do, or perhaps what you’re doing right at that moment.

This is part of what actually makes up your libido — your thoughts.

According to researchers Carvalho and Nobre, a lack of sexy thoughts and/or focus on them is one of the main reasons men experience low sexual desire.

Some men find it difficult to focus on their enjoyment and worry about how your partner is experiencing sex. Others worried about not being hard enough or losing their erection.

Even worrying about not feeling enough sexual desire negatively impacts some men’s libido.

If you can’t focus on what’s turning you on during sex or what you find attractive or sexy about your sex partner(s), you probably won’t feel like having sex, either.

2. You’re stressed. 

These days, it might seem like stress is the number one reason for all health problems. But that’s because it often is. Low libido is no different.

The way stress works is that it increases the cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is known as a “stress hormone,” and for a lot of people, the activation of the stress hormone inhibits our libido.

This means you can be doing all the same things you usually do to turn yourself on, but feel nothing. As long as the cortisol is pumping through your veins, your desire for sex won’t emanate.

But stress isn’t only a matter of changing physiology; stress is also your thoughts and the patterns you fall into. Your thoughts are like a radio buzzing in the background — there’s constant noise and only sometimes are you aware of it.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Get Back In The Mood For Sex — Even When You're Pretty Much Over It

Mostly, your thoughts lead a life of their own, coming and going as they please. This has both upsides and downsides.

The upside is you don’t hear most of it, and those pesky thoughts about worries and the future can pass you by. The downside is you can get caught up in unhelpful thoughts, especially when you’ve developed negative thought patterns.

Thoughts such as, “This will never work,” or “There’s something seriously wrong with me,” or “My partner will leave me if I don’t start initiating sex soon,” can cloud your brain and turn seemingly un-stressful situations into stressful ones.

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And when you’re stressed, it inhibits your desire and sexual arousal. No matter how attractive your partner is.

3. Your partner has a sexual problem.

Your libido isn’t only contingent on your own physical and mental health, it’s also affected by that of your partner’s and is one of the reasons why sexual desire changes.

If your partner is experiencing sexual difficulty, such as pain during sex or difficulty orgasming during sex, this can be one of the causes behind your low sexual desire.

Knowing you might be potentially hurting your partner or spouse is, for obvious reasons, not a turn-on (unless you’re talking about pain being inflicted during consensual BDSM sex).

In relationships where one of the partners has genito-pelvic pain, it’s not uncommon for the person with the pain condition to fall into a pattern of having sex anyway.

If they’re female, this is often due to wanting to live up to the societal norm of what constitutes a “real woman.”

For some men, it’s not until months later that they realize they’ve been causing their loved one pain during sex. And this can cause an avalanche of negative and anxious thoughts during sex that impedes libido and erectile function.

Female orgasm difficulty or male difficulty reaching orgasm in your partner can also affect how much you’re in the mood.

Part of the masculine ideal is being sexually knowledgeable and pleasing your partner. Adding to this, in heterosexual relationships, a woman’s orgasm is often seen as the responsibility of their partner.

Even if this isn’t actually true, the idea can still get to you and affect your libido negatively if your partner isn’t climaxing.

4. You have differing desires.

Wanting sex at different times and in different ways isn’t unusual.

Perhaps you love role play and your partner doesn’t (or doesn’t anymore). Maybe you want to have sex once every other week and your spouse wants it at least twice every week.

Regardless of the differences, it probably doesn’t take a sex therapist telling you this is one of the reasons why sexual desire changes for the worse. However, a lot of people miss this factor when trying to work out why their sexual desire has disappeared.

Mismatched libidos and discrepancies in what you desire might not have affected you in the beginning.

When you’re in the first phase of infatuation, these differences aren’t usually as apparent or can be bridged because of the hormones raging in your bodies.

But as time passes, your differences tend to become more apparent. And if you’re constantly rejected by your partner, or your partner shows shock or disgust at what turns you on, it can affect your sex drive negatively.

You might start to feel unattractive and maybe even unmanly.

There are many reasons why sexual desire changes in men, but maybe the most important thing for you to know is this: Libido ebbs and flows — even for men.

You're not alone, and you can work through sex drive problems to be back where you want to be!

RELATED: 5 Ways To Rev Up A Sluggish Sex Drive Without Taking — Or Going Off Of — Medication

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Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer with a Master of Science in Sexology. She’s been featured in Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, Babe, The Tab, Glamour, Sexography, and The Minds Journal. For more tips on low libido, visit her website. Download free resources for better sex and happier relationships.

This article was originally published at Therapy by Leigh. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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