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Loss of libido (reduced sex drive)

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Loss of libido (sex drive) is a common problem that can affect approximately 1 in 5 men and even more women at some point in their life.

It is often linked to professional and personal stress or to important life-changing events such as pregnancy, child birth or breastfeeding.

However, an unexpected loss of libido, especially when persistent over months or recurrent, can also indicate an underlying personal, medical or lifestyle problem, and can be upsetting to both partners in a relationship.

If you're concerned about your libido, especially if your diminished sex drive distresses you or affects your relationship, please make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss any underlying causes and possible medical or psychological treatments.

Doctors at your nearest family planning clinic may also be able to help.

In the meantime, you may find the following information useful, it explains some of the most common reasons for loss of libido.

Relationship problems

The first thing you should consider is whether you are happy in your relationship. Do you have any doubts or worries that may be the real reason for your loss of sexual desire?

If you have been in a relationship for a long time, you may have become overfamiliar with your partner and feel a degree of erotic dissatisfaction. This is quite common and can have a negative effect on your sex drive.

Relationship problems are among the most common causes of loss of libido. For help and advice, you may find it useful to contact a relationship support charity.

Another thing to consider is whether the problem is a performance issue that makes sex difficult or unfulfilling. For example, many men experience ejaculation problems or erectile dysfunction, and women can experience painful sex or vaginismus (when the muscles around the vagina tighten involuntarily before penetration). See your doctor if these problems are an issue, as they are often treatable.

Your doctor may feel you will benefit from psychosexual counselling. This is a form of relationship therapy where you and your partner can discuss any sexual or emotional issues that may be contributing to your loss of libido.

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion can be all-consuming and have a major impact on your happiness. If you feel you’re constantly tired, stressed or anxious, you may need to make some lifestyle changes or speak to your doctor for advice.

For more information and advice, you may find some of the following pages useful:

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.