9 Factors that Can Decrease Sexual Desire

A healthy sex life is synonymous with well-being. Learn about these 9 factors that can reduce sexual desire.
9 Factors that Can Decrease Sexual Desire

Last update: 25 August, 2022

Most people associate libido with a spontaneous feeling. It shows up suddenly and helps couples maintain passionate relationships. However, it turns out that there are more chronic factors that can decrease sexual desire.

Because of that confusion, there are couples who, over time, start to develop problems and insecurities about their intimacy. For that reason, it’s important to learn to distinguish between an absence of desire and actual factors that are influencing the decrease. In this article, we’ll talk about the top 9 factors that can decrease sexual desire.

1. Stress

Having a healthy and fulfilling sex life is synonymous with well-being. However, there are many people who face difficulties trying to achieve it. It’s important to keep in mind that many factors may be influencing it, and you might not have taken them into account.

This is the case with stress. This is one of the problems that affects your sex drive the most, but most don’t pay enough attention to it. High levels of stress cause an increase in cortisol production and a decrease in testosterone.

As a result, the desire to have sex may decrease. Routine activities such as going to work, meetings, traffic, housework, taking care of children, or other tasks cause high levels of stress. This results in the person feeling tired and just wanting to sleep, which often affects sexual relations.

2. Taking some medications

When you’re undergoing intense medical treatment, such as chemotherapy for cancer, negative side effects are common. Some of the most common are tiredness, nausea, and even fatigue that can lead to decreased libido.

You should note that they also tend to trigger issues relating to self-esteem, due to physical changes and hormonal imbalances.

Contraceptive pills, especially at the beginning of their use, are also known to cause decreased libido. However, this side effect disappears with continued use.

This is also the case with some antihistamines or tricyclic antidepressants. So, it’s best to talk to your doctor and identify any medications that may be causing this issue.

A woman is looking at pills.

3. Trauma from bad experiences

Going through negative experiences is also a fairly common factor in low sex drive. This usually happens when you’re not completely comfortable with your partner or if they did something you didn’t like. Also, this could happen if you had a negative intimate experience.

Therefore, if you’re with a partner that you trust, the best solution is to maintain communication and keep the balance between you. Remember, one bad experience shouldn’t turn into a definitive problem. 

4. Self-esteem and insecurity

Mental health is also a key pillar in any human being. This is because it influences how we relate to others and ourselves. If someone is experiencing issues with self-esteem and insecurity, their sexual desire may decrease as well.

That’s because people who don’t feel comfortable about their bodies, and who have low self-esteem, may suffer from a complete lack of sexual desire. Therefore, if someone has a poor perception of himself, they will feel like they’re incapable of satisfying their partner or even fully enjoying the experience.

5. Excessive alcohol and drugs

Leading a life in which you take substances in excess, such as alcohol and drugs, can also influence your sex drive. However, it’s important to note, that these substances can boost your sexual desires at first. However, with increased consumption, they can cause fatigue and even erectile dysfunction.

Santiago Frago, medical director of the Amaltea Institute of Sexology and Psychotherapy, states that alcohol being an aphrodisiac is a myth. The reality is that erotic desire doesn’t equate to an orgasm, which is made difficult by this toxic substance. Also, the amount you consume does have an influence. An occasional drink is a lot different than excessive intake.

Read more: Erectile Dysfunction: From Diagnosis to Treatment

6. Lack of sleep

The consequences of not getting a good night’s rest are detrimental to the body. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you stick to your daily sleep cycle. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, they have symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, or stress. 

All these factors can cause conflicts between couples, which can transfer to their sex life, which can, in turn, decrease sexual desire. Also, the lack of a good night’s sleep can make people less sensitive to stimuli such as touching. This can also reduce sexual desire.

7. Bad diet

This point might not be as obvious as the others, but diet plays a role when it comes to maintaining sexual desire with your partner. If you don’t eat balanced meals or you eat a low-protein diet, your testosterone levels will drop.

Apart from that, when your meals don’t contain minerals and vitamins, you may start to experience fatigue or tiredness. That’s why it’s essential to eat a healthy and balanced diet in your day-to-day.

Read more: 5 Keys to Reactivate Your Libido

8. Monotony

When the relationship first starts, everything is new, so there’s a lot of passion and emotion. This also impacts sexual intimacy. However, this euphoric stage diminishes as time goes on, which makes the relationship more routine.

In these instances, it’s best to vary and experiment with your intimate life. That way, there will always be something new to learn about each other and enjoy. Spend time with your partner, actively communicate, and you’ll never fall into monotony.

You should talk to your partner.

9. Communication problems with your partner

As we mentioned before, monotony is one of the main factors that can cause sex drive to decrease over time. That’s why it’s so important to effectively communicate with your partner. In doing so, you’ll be able to find a middle point that will work to satisfy both of you.

In addition to that, it’s necessary to mention that relationship problems that aren’t addressed in time can also decrease sex drive. This is because it can cause rifts on both sides. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine and guided by Dr. Ana Alexandra Carvalheira, in collaboration with the universities of Oslo and Zagreb, showed that fatigue, marital conflicts and stress from work are important causes of decreased sex drive in men.

We recommend that you always keep communicating, especially if something’s bothering you. That way, your sexual well-being will stay intact.

Tips to help with sexual desire

It’s so important to keep the sexual desire between you and your partner. However, sometimes this becomes difficult because of various factors like lifestyle, lack of creativity, and personal problems.

If you want to avoid all that, or reduce the chances of experiencing issues related to sexual desire, there are a series of useful tips that will help the passion last.

Generally speaking, everything depends on focusing on the small details beyond the act of sex itself. Therefore, you have to pay attention to other areas of the relationship, not just on the intimacy. For example, unexpected displays of affection.

The psychologist and sexologist at the TAP Center, Diana Lozano, states that it’s not so much the act of sex, but rather the eroticism that exists outside the body.

In conclusion, if you want to keep a healthy sex life with your partner, it’s essential to focus on displays of affection and physical contact that are often left in the background. Keeping those keys in mind can cause surprising reactions and keep libido alive.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Carvalheira A, Pereira N. Portuguese version of Cues for Sexual Desire Scale: The influence of relationship duration. Journal of Sexual Medicine (2011).
  • Neyra, Lidia Cruz. “Alimentos funcionales.” Biotempo 7 (2007): 46-54.
  • Pfaus J, Scepkowski L. The biologic basis for libido. Current Sexual Health Reports (2005).
  • Gutiérrez B. La respuesta sexual humana. Actualización en Medicina de Familia (2010).
  • Burrows L, Basha M, Goldstein A. The effects of Hormonal Contraceptives on Female Sexuality: A Review. Journal of Sexual Medicine (2012).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.