Like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, if you’re sexually active and have a penis, low libido is pretty likely to happen to you at some point in your life. Even if you’re neither of those things, low libido is extraordinarily common for people of every age and gender.
Also like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, low libido can be hard to talk about, especially for men, who often feel cultural pressure to be experiencing sexual desire at all times. Just about everyone feels low desire sometimes. The real question is: is it a problem?
Low libido can just kind of… happen sometimes, or it can be a symptom of a larger issue.
So how do you know if it’s a problem?
First, do your best to separate what you’re experiencing right now from the guilt and shame that might be attached to it. It can be difficult of course, but it’s important to be able to consider your feelings first. So: does it bother you that your libido is low? For the moment, don’t worry about whether you’re letting down your partner, or whether you’re broken because you don’t want sex as much as everyone else seems to, or any of the other external things that could be causing you anxiety. How do you feel?
If your level of sexual desire feels comfortable to you, then it doesn’t matter how high it is. It’s okay not to want sex, or not want it often. Revisit this question from time to time, but on a fundamental level, there’s nothing wrong with you if you aren’t super interested in sex, and it’s totally normal for your level of interest to fluctuate. There may be tough conversations ahead with your partner, or you may still feel uncomfortable in sex-obsessed environments, but if you’re happy with your libido, there’s not really an issue.
If you think about it and come to the conclusion that you want to want sex more than you do, that’s a different issue. If your low level of sexual desire feels bad or abnormal to you, that’s something worth investigating.
Causes of low libido
The causes of low libido are similar to the causes of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, so it’s likely this list alone isn’t going to tell you which one you’re facing. Premature ejaculation and low libido can both be symptoms of erectile dysfunction, and all three can easily occur together—it’s likely they have the same root cause. Also, it’s natural for your libido to get lower as you age. As we always say, if you’re worried or unhappy, see a doctor if you can.
- Relationship issues
- Trauma, especially sexual trauma
- Body image issues
- Complicated feelings after a partner gives birth
- Worry/guilt about libido/sexual performance
- Low testosterone
- Marijuana use
- Medication side effects
- Lack of sleep
Whatever the cause, if you’re unhappy with your libido, speak up! Talk to your partner—low libido can happen in long-term relationships, and there could be many issues within the relationship that cause it. Have an open discussion. And it’s always helpful to talk to a doctor or therapist if you can.