6 factors that can hinder your sex drive
Sex is supposed to be a good time. A many-splendored thing. A great way to stay healthier and happier all-around. But if you’ve ever struggled with a low sex drive, you know that our systems are as delicate as flowers and we need to treat them that way if we wanna stay nice n' randy. Although typically, I mostly struggle with too high a sex drive, the following 6 factors have put even I, queen of the obscene, through a sex drive slow-down.
1. Sleep deprivation
Let’s face it. The world is an exhausting place, even on the best of days. And a lot of people don’t get to sex until all the work is done and the proverbial pooch is fed and walked. Being too tired for sex may be cliché, but it turns out clichés do have origin stories. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 1 in 4 married Americans say they are often too tired at the end of the day to have sex with their partner. And according to the Sleep Council, nearly half of us are getting just 6 hours of sleep or less every night, and an alarming 4 out of 5 people complain of disturbed or inadequate sleep. It has negative impacts on pretty much every aspect of our health and wellbeing, and sex is most definitely one of them.
2. Stress & anxiety
As a highly anxious person, it’s sorta kinda shocking that my sex drive tends to go up with my stress level. Maybe that’s because I’m wired in such a way that sex becomes my coping mechanism (whole other can o’ worms there). But more often than not, if you're feeling pressure at work, or you’re fighting with a friend, or you’re contending with any number of other anxiety-inducing situations, your cortisol levels are through the roof. And cortisol tends to put a real damper on sex drive, as it can suppress the production of testosterone and other hormones that make you wanna romp.
3. Your cycle
Ever notice you’re less horny at certain times and more horny at others, but monthly? Although it can vary wildly from woman to woman- estrogen, progesterone and testosterone all affect sexual desire and your physical responses. According to the journal Hormone Behavior, desire can also fluctuate over the course of your menstrual cycle (hell yes it can), due to the increase and decrease of those hormones. One pretty common occurrence is feeling particularly drop-dead horny mid-cycle when you’re ovulating.
4. The pill(s)
Fears of unwanted pregnancy prompt many women to take hormonal contraceptives, which work to stop the ovaries’ production of testosterone. And since testosterone is needed for arousal, it’s not surprising that some women on birth control have reported a diminished sex drive. Other medications can also take their toll on your sex life: anti-depressants, beta blockers, and ACE inhibitors can all be culprits as well, among many others. If you think your pill(s) are the problem, educate yourself on possible side effects and have a chat with your doctor.
5. Food…and water
If, for whatever reason, you don’t have a healthy, balanced diet, your sex drive can suffer the consequences (along with your body’s other functions). First off, fried and salty foods can make you bloated, and, true story, bloating does not make you wanna get it on. Studies have shown that a balanced diet can increase your sex drive—along with certain foods in particular, so digest that. Also, if you don’t already have enough reasons to stay hydrated, here's another: lack of hydration can cause headaches, and even vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable, and even less desirable. So drink up. It’s good for you.
6. Bad sex
This should really be a no-brainer, but sometimes if you're not getting your needs met by your partner, there's really not a lot going on that’s gonna get you lit up and ready to go, now is there? The only thing to do is talk it out. There could be any number of reasons it ain’t working for you: is it something your partner is or isn’t doing? Is it something specific you want but have not been able to communicate? Is it your overall dynamic? Are they just selfish? Whatever it is, get it out there, get creative if necessary, and then move on in, closer to one another than ever before, or move right on.