Women often come to me wanting me to fix their libido. While I wish I could wave my magic wand and make everything better, I can’t. Much like an iceberg, a low libido is often just what we see on the surface and what you don’t see is what is really causing it. In this episode, I’ll share with you 11 things that could be causing your low libido. The good news? Every single one of these is absolutely fixable! You deserve better sex! Let me help.
Women often come to me because they want to fix their low libido. They are hoping that there is one thing that will magically fix it and then they can feel joy, hope, and whole after feeling anger, frustration, sadness, and hopelessness about sex for so long. And while I would love to be able to wave my magic wand and magically fix it for them, figuring out the cause of the low libido is key. You see, most women see their low libido as the problem. But that isn’t usually the case. Your low libido is a symptom of something else, usually something much greater that needs to change.
Most of you have probably heard some variation of the iceberg analogy. With an iceberg, only a small percentage can be seen above the water level, but a much larger portion exists below the surface. When it comes to humans, above the surface is what we see, often behaviors and emotions. We see low-libido. Below the surface, what we don’t see, is so much more. What we don’t see is the context of what is creating the low-libido.
So today, we are going to look below the surface. What are some possible causes or contexts that create low-libido.
Hormones has easily got to be the number one thing thing women *think* is the cause of their low libido. “My hormones must be off because I have no desire.” And that may be true. I always suggest seeing a doctor and getting them checked because if it is a hormonal issue, then that can be an easy fix. Unfortunately, most women I know that get their hormones checked find out that everything is normal. I also believe that if you are having hormone issues, there are usually other symptoms, in addition to low-libido that will show up. According to my good friend @heyashleesorensen, you maybe remember her from Episode 202 of the podcast, some signs of a hormone imbalance are:
- Mood swings
- Severe period pain
- Cyclical Migraines
- Weight Loss Resistance
She recommends that if you have symptoms like these, the key is pinpointing WHEN your symptoms show up in your cycle. The timing of your symptoms can be very telling of what hormones are out of whack. Track them for about 6 months and see if you see any patterns. Ask your doctor to test your hormone levels, she suggests testing Estradiol, Progesterone, testosterone, FSH, DHEA, and a full thyroid panel. Your doctor may want to run additional tests based on your symptoms.
2 Physical Health Issues
There are a lot of health issues that can cause low libido. Too many to even be named here. But just know that if you have any short-term or long-term health issues, it can definitely affect your desire for sex. Also many of the symptoms of those health issues can also cause low-libido.
3 Mental Health Issues
If you are suffering from depression or generalized anxiety, of course that is going to affect your libido. Especially if you are on medications. Many depression medications can affect not only libido but cause anorgasmia. If your mental health is affecting things, please see your doctor. And if your medication is causing problems, you can often change or add additional medications, like Wellbutrin to help with libido.
4 General Stress
Stress is a libido killer for the majority of the population. So if you are feeling stressed it’s pretty normal to not want sex. Life is never going to be stress free, but learning better coping mechanisms to help with stress can help with the libido too.
So those four really cover a lot of the health side of things. Now I want to talk about some other non-health related things that may be the cause of your low-libido. When I am working with clients we of course want to rule out any physical things before we dive into these other factors. But this is where the majority of my work lies. We want to take a holistic approach to everything that is going on for you. Most likely your low-libido isn’t caused by just one thing, so really looking at all the different pieces makes a big difference.
As I have said before, a good sexual relationship comes from having a great relationship with yourself and a great relationship with your spouse. These are the things we work on the most in my program. And, I’ve actually just attended a 5-day training and will be working over the next 5 months to receive a certificate in Advanced Relationship Coaching so that I can help my clients create more connecting and intimate relationships with their spouse, which I am so excited about. So let’s discuss the different aspects of self and relationships that may be causing problems with your libido.
5 Low Body Image
Let’s face it, most women today struggle with their body image. I know that was a huge issue for me for many, many, many years. When I was 16 years old, my family took a vacation up the east coast of the United States into New England. We spent a day on the beach in Vermont and my mom took a picture of me on the beach in my bathing suit. I remember thinking when I saw that picture how fat I was. I look back at that picture now and realize how crazy it was to ever think I looked fat. If you have body image issues, depending on the severity, this can definitely play into your libido and it’s something we work on a lot in my program.
6 Sexual Shame
I think most women, especially within our faith community, have sexual shame. Unless you belonged to a family where things were discussed openly and in a healthy way, sexual shame is a big issue for many women. Often we don’t even realize that it’s sexual shame though. We think things should just be “private” or that we shouldn’t talk about things. Women often think certain sexual feelings and acts are wrong. Shame plays a big part in this. And sexual shame isn’t just something you can change your mindset about. It really lives in the body, which is why I use embodiment practices with many of my clients to help them release a lot of this sexual shame.
7 Past Trauma & Conditioning
Trauma and conditioning can be a huge part of low-libido. If you were abused, assaulted, or raped that would make a lot of sense. But you can also have trauma from being told that sex is the sin next to murder, that it’s a “slippery slope” to hell, if your parents caught you and were disapproving in any way of masturbation, and even years of duty sex can cause trauma. Trauma isn’t just about what happened, but how your brain interpreted and processed what happened. Trauma happens in a lot of us and can definitely affect libido. And most of us received conditioning in our families, our religions, and our cultures that shape how we think of ourselves, our bodies, sex in general, and sex within a marriage. That too can affect libido.
Now let’s talk about how low libido shows up relationally.
8 Lack of Emotional Intimacy
Intimacy is really about knowing the other person and being fully known. True intimacy is hard to create because it involves being open and vulnerable. Often we don’t have intimacy with ourselves, we don’t want to see and accept our darker sides. Instead we judge ourselves and hide from parts of ourselves. So it makes complete sense that we don’t want to show that side to our spouse. And often we don’t want to know our spouse either. It can be really scary. But if you don’t have intimacy, you won’t have a great sexual relationship. And if you feel like your partner isn’t being open and vulnerable and they aren’t helping you create that intimacy and connection, it makes sense why you don’t want sex.
9 Lack of Sexual Communication
Now a lot of this comes from intimacy and being able to actually talk about what you want. Being open and clear with your partner. So many times we make assumptions and that never helps our relationships. Sometimes we are embarrassed about talking about it (which comes from sexual shame). But a lack of sexual communication can definitely lower your libido.
10 Not Enjoying the Sex you are Having
Maybe you have a hard time getting aroused, maybe you’ve never had an orgasm, maybe you just aren’t being touched right, or maybe sex is all about him and not about you. But if you aren’t enjoying the sex you are having, it makes perfect sense why you wouldn’t want more of it. But you also need to figure out what you do like and communicate about it and sometimes because of that shame and lack of communication, we just keep having sex we don’t actually want. If you think that you don’t like sex or sex just isn’t for you, chances are you aren’t doing it right or you’ve got blocks based on all the other things we’ve talked about.
11 Marriage Issues
And maybe you are having marriage issues outside of the bedroom that are affecting what is happening inside the bedroom. If you are fighting with your spouse, there’s infidelity or trust issues, not talking, not getting along, of course you don’t want sex.
As you can see from what we have discussed, there are a lot of reasons why sex isn’t working for you. These are all things that are under the surface of that iceberg. The thoughts, the beliefs, the conditioning, that affect our emotions and behaviors. They are why you have a low libido. Why you don’t have desire. But guess what my friend, every single one of these is fixable. We address all of these in my program and with coaching. So don’t settle for a low-libido. Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s fix this. You deserve better.