The libido can be defined as an individual’s sexual urges or desire for sex. The word libido is sometimes used interchangeably with the terms sex drive. Early researchers such as Sigmund Freud suggested that the human libido is part of an inborn instinct which develops over time making it prone to experiencing highs and lows. A common belief on the issue of libido is that men have a higher libido than women due to the fact that they have higher blood testosterone levels. This belief has been debatable to the point of being discredited.
A woman’s sexual desires tend to be controlled by her monthly cycle as women are at the peak of their sexual desires when they are ovulating. In addition, in terms of age, women are said to be on their sexual peak in their thirties. On the other hand, men experience their sexual peak at the age of eighteen. Therefore, the libido is controlled by various factors in both sexes and can be either low or high in both. However, it is important to note that the libido cannot be measured and narrowed down to an average. Some people want to have sex once a day, others once a month while others are not in the least bit interested in physical intimacy.
What is Low Libido?
A low libido simply means experiencing diminished sexual desires. Both men and women can have a low libido. The human libido is controlled by various factors some of which are physical others are psychological. But largely, it is controlled by hormonal factors. A disruption of any of these factors can disrupt a person’s sex drive leading to a low libido. However, a low libido is not necessarily an imposed condition and can be intentional. Some people intentionally go out of their way to suppress their sexual urges due to moral, psychological or medical reasons.
What Causes Low Libido?
Various factors can diminish sexual urges in both men and women. These factors can be divided into two distinct groups:
1. Physical Factors:
Physical factors are largely dependent on an individual’s bodily wellbeing. These factors directly affect the human body either from within or without. They include:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Other forms of drug abuse such as the use of cocaine
- Hormonal imbalances and disorders
- Medical conditions such as anemia (particularly in women) and erectile dysfunction (in men)
- Being underweight or malnourished
- An inborn lack of sexual urges as seen in asexual people
- The female menstrual cycle
- Side effects of certain types of medications such as antidepressants
- Side effect of oral contraceptives in women
- Sexual desire disorders such as asexuality and hypoactive sexual desire disorder
- Pregnancy and childbirth
2. Psychological Factors:
Psychological factors are dependent on our state of mind. They include the following:
- Stress and depression
- Sexual molestation
- Guilt particularly in secret affairs
- Anxieties about sex
- Poor body image
- Anxiety on the possibility of getting pregnant
- Environmental stresses
- Relationship stresses
How to Naturally Improve Low Libido?
History has proven time and time again that eating the right foods and making the right lifestyle choices can boost the sex drive of both men and women. Think of Cleopatra and her love for figs and Casanova and his love for oysters. Diet can have a major impact. Here are some natural ways to boost your libido:
- Quit smoking
- Avoid or reduce the intake of alcohol, caffeine and processed foods
- Learn how to manage stress
- Add the following foods to your diet as they are believed to have chemicals that can boost your libido: figs, oysters, garlic, green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, avocados, water melon, pumpkin seeds and asparagus
- Try out herbal remedies that have been proven to be safe and effective. These herbs include the Maca root of Peru, basil and cardamom
Treatment for Medically Induced Low Libido
Sometimes a low libido may be due to medical reasons. If so, seek medical attention from a board certified doctor who may recommend the following forms of treatment:
- In case medication is causing the problem, your doctor may substitute it with newer forms of pills which do not have side effects. This is not always possible.
- Testosterone replacement therapy is recommended for both men and women who have hormonal imbalance.
- If the problem is psychological, counseling and sex therapy are recommended.
- Male enhancement supplements may be recommended to older men. These drugs are prone to abuse and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.
A low libido is a very common problem; ask any doctor. Doctors and sex therapists often recommend medical tests to rule out any underlying medial problems as well as lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Sex therapists are known to go a step further by exploring waters that most of us would rather leave untouched such as childhood trauma. Either way, both experts believe that the condition is treatable.
All in all, a low libido is hardly life threatening. Sometimes it can even be treated at the comfort of your home without the need of seeing a doctor. However, this is not the case for everyone. If your problems are much deeper than what appears on the surface, a visit to a sex therapist will be highly beneficial.