With the number of Brits searching for ways to increase their sex drive reaching their highest point in the last twelve months in mid-August [1], a GP and a psychologist have revealed the five major causes of low libido and what you can do about it.

While it can be worrying to lose interest in sex, it’s a common problem that affects many people – two in five (40%) women will experience a sexual problem at some point in their lives, as will one in ten (10%) men[2].

It’s usually no cause for concern, but if your low libido starts to affect your relationship or makes you anxious, there are things you can do to address it.

To help those who are worried about their low sex drive, Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi, the digital healthcare provider, and Beatrice Lindéh, a psychologist who specialises in sex, have shared five of the main causes and what you can do to get back on track.

1) Relationship issues

“The state of your relationship affects libido a lot,” says Beatrice. “Sex drive has its origin in the mind, so if you’re feeling down, your libido may be lower. A relationship where there are issues that are not dealt with can also cause the body to entirely lose libido, due to stress.”

Solution:

If you don’t feel able to talk to your partner about your issues, consider therapy or relationship counselling to open up communication. Beatrice adds: “Alternatively, try engaging in activities that make you think about sex – the more you think about it, the higher your libido gets.”

2) Your contraceptive pill

Contraceptive pills affect women differently, increasing libido in some people, but decreasing it in others.

Dr McClymont says: “Any contraception that contains additional hormones, like the combined contraceptive pill and hormonal coil, can affect the natural balance of your own hormones and therefore affect libido.”

Solution:

“For women who notice an impact from hormonal contraception, it may resolve within a few months,’ Dr McClymont advises. “If you notice changes in your libido that are ongoing after this timeframe then it’s best to chat to a GP about it.”

3) Poor mental health

Mental health issues impact all areas of our lives and more than two in five (42%) women and a third of men (33%) with depression report low sex drive[3], even when they don’t take anti-depressants.

Solution:

“Keeping up with other physical intimacy, like hugging, showering together or just lying naked in bed with your partner, can be enough for a while, and will keep you feeling close until your libido returns,” Beatrice suggests.

4) You’ve just had a baby

Although studies show that most women resume sexual activity within six months of giving birth, many report lower levels of sexual pleasure and emotional satisfaction up to 18 months later[4].

“After childbirth, it is natural for your libido to be lower as oestrogen levels drop,” says Dr McClymont. “Libido can be particularly low in women who have had a difficult birth — for example, trauma or tears to the vagina — as sex may also be painful.”

Solution:

Beatrice says: “Try spending time with your partner where you focus on being physically intimate without it necessarily ending in penetration. Read sexy stories to each other, or just lay close together in bed. Don’t stress about it and just keep showing your partner that you love them.”

5) Your medication

Some medications can have a side effect of reducing your sex drive, especially some commonly prescribed anti-depressants.

“SSRIs, which are used to treat depression, often reduce your libido,” says Dr McClymont. “Corticosteroids, blood pressure medications — particularly diuretics — and antipsychotic drugs can all also affect libido.”

Solution:

If you’re concerned about a particular medication, it is best to speak to a doctor.

If you’re worried about your low sex drive, you can discover more common causes and what to do about them here: https://www.livi.co.uk/your-health/8-causes-of-low-libido-a-doctors-guide/