Should you worry or not about your sex drive?

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Should you worry or not about your sex drive?

Your libido – how would you rate it?   Are you always gung-ho for sex the second you jump into bed or does it need some time for encouragement and reawakening to get you in the mood?  The desire to be intimate has many factors associated with it – your age, stress, emotions, and even medication.   Whether your sex drive is stuck in overdrive or hovers in low gear, issues with libido obviously plays a significant role in how active your love life is.

Here are some common questions many of us may have in regards to what is normal or not concerning our sex drive:

·      My desire for sex has gradually reduced over time.  Is this normal?

For women, losing desire for sex is not uncommon.  Women go through tremendous bodily changes over the course of their life from pregnancy to menopause so it is perfectly normal to have ups and downs with their libido.  With age, the ovaries produce less estrogen and testosterone and with a dip in the male sex hormone, a woman’s libido can take a nose dive as well.  Loss of estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness leading to pain during intercourse which will snuff out intimacy. 

For men, testosterone levels reduce which can result in erectile dysfunction (ED) along with a growing prostate causing a man to make frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom.  Not exactly factors for getting in the mood.

What to do: Loss of libido is always a sign of something not quite normal.  It could be an underlying health condition or psychological issues.  If lack of sex drive is not due to menopause, women should discuss this with their doctor to figure out the cause.  Men experiencing ED or signs of BPH, should also be frank with their physician on fixing the situation to make sex more pleasurable once again.

·      Sex used to be a great stress reliever but now it only kills my desire for it.  Is this normal?

Stress is always with us but the amount we feel at any one time depends on how much we got going on in our lives.  If there are too many stressors knocking at your door distracting you from love and romance, sex drive will be quickly squelched.  It often seems the older we get, the more there is to stress about. 

What to do:  If stress keeps building to the point of you can’t shake it, it could be a sign of depression, anxiety, or other health issue.  Having excess stress will lower libido and if it continues, it will only lead to difficulties in the bedroom.  This is when it’s a good time to find other means of releasing stress.  Use healthy ways to suppress stress such as regular exercise, listening to music, meditate or plan an evening of fun.  However, when issues of stress never really get resolved, consult with a doctor to be referred to a mental health counselor to resolve the issue.

·      My antidepressant seems to turn off desires for sex.  Is this normal?

Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have been known to affect libido.  When first taking them is when a person may notice a drop in sex drive but generally with time, libido returns within a few months.  Women using antidepressants may have vaginal dryness and may need lubricants for this.

What to do:  Never stop taking an antidepressant without first talking to your doctor about it.  Find out if this is normal as not all antidepressants affect your libido.  There are non-SSRI antidepressants that won’t interfere with sex drive and that may the solution to reviving your love life.

·      The older I get the sex I want.  Is this normal?

This often can be the case for many couples who are happy, healthy long-term marriage or relationship which is a pleasant surprise.  Now that you both are comfortable with each other, you probably now longer have anxieties about your appearance, career struggles, or young children walking in your bedroom unannounced.  Feelings of inhibition have long gone and you may feel freer to express yourself the way you’ve always wanted without worry of criticism. 

What to do:  In one word – rejoice.  Unless your sex drive is in a permanently high gear mode and your partner is complaining or avoiding you, then relish in this new phase of your life.  But if the sexual urges are so strong that it is causing you to have risky sex despite the consequences or you are using sex as a means of escape from problems, then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss possible causes.