Michele Ross is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. She primarily covers beauty, wellness, nutrition, and culture, and her goal is to empower readers to make informed decisions about their routines. Both on and off the clock, she geeks out on skin care ingredient deep dives, astrology, and K-pop.

Feel as though you’re missing your inner fire in the bedroom? There are many reasons why your libido could be low. It could be attributed to physical, mental, emotional, or hormonal changes — and even more likely a combination thereof. Once you get familiar with the main causes of low libido, you can decipher which ones could be affecting you. From there, you can make the necessary adjustments to promote a stronger sex drive, greater intimacy, and more pleasure and satisfaction.

Ahead, you’ll discover what causes low libido and what you can do starting today to regain sexual desire and vitality. 

9 Causes of Low Libido

1. Stress

We all experience some level of stress from time to time. While we may notice it most through our mood, sleep issues, energy levels, or perhaps even our skin health, stress can also contribute to low libido.

This side effect is largely attributed to the excess production of cortisol (best known as “the stress hormone”), which suppresses sex hormones and neurotransmitters that are vital for a healthy sex drive.

Unfortunately, long-term stress doesn’t only cast a shadow over how you feel about sex; it also impacts your body’s physiological response to sexual stimuli.

Stress can have a major impact on overall health. Research shows that stress can cause lowered libido in men and women alike. Per a 2014 study in the the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, daily stressors contribute to lower sexual satisfaction in men and women as well as lower sexual activity for women. In addition, women’s sexual functioning scores were closely linked to their levels of stress and depression.

2. Depression

Low mood and diagnosed depressive disorders can also cause low sexual desire and decreased libido. According to 2018 study investigating the link between depression and sexual dysfunction, 62.5 percent of men with mild to moderate depression experienced:

  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Issues achieving orgasm
  • Overall sexual dissatisfaction

However, low libido and other issues with sexual wellness may be even more prevalent than the numbers cited thus far. It’s not too surprising that study participants and patients may shy away from discussing their sex lives or issues with sexual intimacy. Clinical research shows that this reluctance to volunteer the information is likely in both men and women. Moreover, lowered libido also has the potential to exacerbate depression, thus perpetuating a difficult cycle.

3. Medication 

Some prescription medication can contribute to low libido and sexual desire. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), these include:

  • Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Diuretics and medications for high blood pressure
  • Medications that affect the production of testosterone
  • Medications for seizures and psychosis

4. Fatigue

Any number of things — ranging from career and family obligations to stress and the demands of daily life — can contribute to fatigue. When you’re fatigued, you have less energy and drive to engage in the activities you typically enjoy, with sex sometimes among them.

5. Hormonal Changes 

Low libido can also be caused by certain life events and stages that are marked by major hormonal imbalances. The most notable ones include:

  • Pregnancy. In a 2016 study of pregnant women, 58.6 percent of women reported decreased libido, 54 percent reported reduced sexual satisfaction, and 43.5 percent reported feeling less attractive throughout pregnancy.
  • The postpartum period. A 2012 study found that postpartum women may lose sexual interest in part due to less activation of the amygdala upon exposure to arousing stimuli. (Among its many functions, the amygdala processes sexual cues that can result in heightened sexual responses.)
  • Perimenopause and menopause. One study of 2,207 women found that over a quarter of perimenopausal women and over a half of menopausal women experience low libido. Moreover, women are likely to experience less frequent sexual activity and orgasm during these stages of life, contributing to reduced sexual satisfaction. A significant decline in estrogen can lead to dry and fragile tissues throughout the body, which extends to sexual organs and areas.
  • Male menopause. So-called “male menopause” or andropause — an age-related period of reduced production and secretion of male sex hormones — can lead to side effects including low libido and other forms of sexual dysfunction.

6. Medical Conditions 

It makes sense that not feeling or functioning at your best can impact your sex drive. While this list isn’t exhaustive, any of the following medical conditions can cause or contribute to low sexual drive:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes and metabolic disorders
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neurological disorders
  • Urinary incontinence

7. Low Self-Esteem 

Any of the previous causes listed can contribute to a low libido, as well as lower self-esteem and confidence, which too can end up reducing your sex drive. There are countless additional triggers of low self-esteem — such as poor body image, financial or work difficulties, and issues pertaining to your family and/or social life. However, noting what’s behind your lack of self-confidence and finding ways to make strides on them can help improve your sense of self-worth and thus have the potential to boost your libido and improve your sex life.

8. Relationship Issues 

Every relationship has its ups and downs — and low libido can certainly contribute to the down periods. A relationship issue may be based on a breakdown in communication, stressors, random (or recurrent) bouts of conflict, or anything in between. These problems lead you to feel less connected and/or engaged, but only in the bedroom but in terms of the partnership at large. Yet it also works both ways, as an otherwise healthy and thriving relationship can face a hurdle if one or both partners are dealing with a low sex drive and lack a sexual appetite.

9. Sexual Trauma 

A history of sexual trauma can manifest in a range of psychological, relational, and sexual wellness issues. According to a 2011 review, the factors that affect adult sexual desire and function following a sexually traumatic incident include the nature of the event, how it was dealt with at the time, and the person’s perception of being a survivor or a victim. For instance, feelings of shame, fear, and anger — or otherwise not working through or healing from the trauma — can all impact the emotional and sexual nature of ensuing relationships. Of course, trust is also crucial for healthy and enjoyable sexual function and activity, and its absence can certainly hinder your sex drive.

Is a Low Sex Drive Normal? 

Bouts of low sex drive are normal (i.e., common enough) across all genders.

Research shows that at least 33 percent of women and 20 percent of men experience low libido at some point in life.

Moreover, long-term dips in libido are often attributed to medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, and similar ongoing health concerns. However, none of this indicates that you need to struggle with or resign yourself to long periods of low libido.

If a lack of sex drive is affecting your relationship, dating life, or overall quality of life, there are healthy and proactive ways to get your libido back and burning. (Or, at the very least, they can move the needle in the right direction.) To start, you’ll need to clarify what the specific causes are behind your low sex drive and take appropriate measures to correct them. For instance, if you know that your confidence is lower and your stress is higher than usual, practicing self-care — such as prioritizing gentle movement and enjoying nutrient-rich, balanced meals and snacks — on a regular basis can help you gain a stronger and more positive sense of self. On the other hand, if a health or medical issue is instigating a low libido, aim to be open and transparent with your healthcare team to find a solution to keep your health (sexual and otherwise) on track. Additional protocols and tools to improve your libido include stress management practices and solo or couples therapy.

Lastly, you may wish to take a libido supplement on your journey to getting your groove back. There are many natural supplements and foods that can increase libido instantly. Aim to find a high-quality supplement with ingredients that are clean and clinically backed to help remedy a low libido. Sex Dust® is a natural libido supplement that consists of a blend of adaptogens and herbs traditionally used to help reduce stress, support hormonal balance, and boost blood flow and energy.* In other words, it can improve your sex drive by targeting some of the primary causes of low libido to promote a cascade of benefits for your body, mood, and sexual function.

Here’s a quick guide to the key ingredients in Sex Dust® and their benefits:

  • Shatavari root supports healthy hormonal balance and juiciness*
  • Wildcrafted Shilajit traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and libido booster*
  • Organic Epimedium aka “horny goat weed”, helps ignite desire and strengthen sensation*
  • Organic Schisandra known for its ability to increase blood flow and energy*
  • Organic Cacao stimulates endorphin release*
  • Organic Maca known to support mood, energy, and healthy sexual function*

By acknowledging the main causes of low libido — and taking care to address them through diet, supplements to increase libido, and/or lifestyle, and potentially aided by your healthcare team — you can begin to make progress on your sex drive and overall sense of well-being. Increase libido naturally with Sex Dust® today.