7 Life Events That Cause Major Libido Changes

When life changes, so will desire.

Last updated on Jan 18, 2024

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Life events that significantly change your status quo can also change your desire for sex.

Sometimes, changes in sexual desire are positive and create more desire and passion in your relationship. Other times, they are negative, and you wonder what's going on with your decreased sexual desire.

Most life events can impact desire in positive and negative ways. Who you are, how you’re wired, and how you cope with stress determine if your sexual desire will increase or decrease.


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Here are 7 life events that cause libido changes and how to handle them:

1. You've recently moved residence.

Moving is usually cited as one of life’s most stressful situations. It makes sense, right? Not only does it contain hours upon hours of manual labor — packing, stacking, and lifting heavy boxes — it also temporarily removes your safe space.

For most people, home is their castle. It’s your favorite place to decompress and recharge. When you move, that place disappears.

You’re moving into the unknown. This can spark feelings such as worry and anxiety, even if you’re excited about the change.


Leaving your safe space and dealing with all the logistics and labor is like a recipe for decreased sexual desire. However, once you are settled in and less stressed, the new environment might cause positive changes.

Novelty, even the environmental kind, can increase sex drive.

2. You got promoted.

Just as moving houses can be stressful, so can a job promotion. While both situations might be more net positive than negative, your initial reaction will likely involve stress.

This stress might be positive — you feel excitement and butterflies about your new job opportunity. But it’s still stressful. And your body reacts the same way to positive stress as negative stress.


You may find it more challenging to turn off work when you come home in the evening or find yourself trying to solve work-related problems during dinner with your spouse instead of engaging in conversation.

And even if you’re so lucky to love your new job or feel excited about the promotion, thoughts about work seldom increase desire.

When your brain is preoccupied with work-related thoughts or any anxious thoughts at all, it will struggle to pick up on sexual cues. And without sexual cues, there’s no incentive for your desire to show up.

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3. You're pregnant.

Growing a tiny human in your body is work, and it often impacts your sex drive in one way or another.

For some, the changes are negative — a changing figure, hormone spikes, and morning sickness zap all interest in sex.

For others, pregnancy can be a bit of an aphrodisiac, at least in the second trimester. This one is usually touted as "the best" from a psychological and physiological perspective.

Some report becoming more interested in sex due to being more in contact with their body or feeling more "womanly" as a result of being pregnant.

Whichever sex drive changes pregnancy brings about, they’re normal. And you don’t have to actively work to change them if you don’t want to.


4. You're a new parent.

Just as pregnancy brings about a whole host of hormonal changes, so does parenthood.

Bonding with your new baby releases the "love hormone" oxytocin, which aids in forming a deep attachment between you and your baby.

Some believe that it’s this flow of oxytocin that causes negative sexual desire changes. If you’re already feeling all loved up and bonded with your baby — there's little room for enmeshing with another human being — your partner.

Whether you prescribe to the hormonal theory or not, it’s clear that there’s a lot more going on with a new baby besides hormones that can cause changes in sex drive.

Becoming a new parent involves coming face to face with new challenges. These include getting next to no sleep, an identity change, and dealing with very little alone time.


When these life functions go out the window, sexual desire usually dips.

If you want your sex drive back, try carving out some alone time, even if it’s just ten uninterrupted minutes a day. Getting to be you, not parent-you, can make a world of difference.

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5. The march of time

While aging isn’t a set life event (it’s occurring all the time) some ages might wreak more havoc on your sexual desire than others.

For some, menopause can negatively affect your desire for sex. This is thought to partially result from dropping estrogen and testosterone levels.

For others, age affects your arousal abilities. It can become more difficult to get or sustain an erection and more difficult to lubricate.


Even if sexual desire and sexual arousal aren’t the same thing, they’re linked. This means that how you feel about arousal difficulties also affects your levels of desire.

If you’re anxious or nervous about not being able to sustain arousal during sex with your partner, this might hurt your desire, too.

Other times, aging has a positive effect on desire. Finally, having the house to yourself after decades of rearing children, having more time on your hands, and experiencing more freedom can do wonders for your sex life and desire.

unhappy woman


Photo: eldar-nurkovic via Shutterstock

6. You're experiencing a serious health condition.

To be a human is to experience both highs and lows — and one definite low is becoming ill. Serious health conditions, such as cancer or heart disease, can cause decreased sexual desire for obvious reasons.

You’re experiencing something potentially life-threatening, and when your brain perceives it as such, it’s more likely to block your sex drive so you can focus on survival.

A threatened brain is seldom a sexually excited brain.

However, for some, increased levels of anxiety, whether due to illness or not, can have a positive impact on desire.

7. You're in a new relationship.

New love can be magical on many levels. For many people, a boost in sexual desire is experienced when they fall in love with someone new.


The reason? There are many, but part of the answer is the novelty.

The person, the relationship, and the situation — they're all new and exciting.

You have perhaps yet to experience conflict, witness emotional baggage, or see other negative patterns settle into your dynamic — ones that can get in the way of your desire to have sex and be close.

If you want to experience positive sexual desire changes, the answer isn’t necessarily to end your current relationship or marriage.


There are many ways to get the spark back. One way is to identify why your desire is gone in the first place.

Hint: It usually has to do with more than just relationship length.

Even if new love is exciting, it always sparks more desire. For some people, it’s the attachment phase, about 6 months into a relationship, that brings about more sexual feelings.

If this sounds like you, you might identify with demisexuality. This means desire in the beginning phases of a relationship is low or non-existent, but once you’ve formed an emotional bond with the person — you’re ready and raring to go.



Desire is complex.


If you’re experiencing shifts in desire, take a step back and examine recent life events. Things such as moving, becoming pregnant, or getting a job promotion can all lead to changes in sexual desire.

This is because your sexuality and desire live in tandem with the rest of you.

When life changes, so will desire. It probably won’t change things forever but it will impact you here and now. Understanding this impact can make all the difference.

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Leigh Norén is a sex therapist, and writer, who has a Master of Science in Sexology, and a degree in Social Work, with over 11 years of experience. She’s been featured in Women's Health, Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, Glamour, and more.