Suffering from a low sex drive? Believe it or not, stress might be the cause. According to the American Institute of Stress, 90% of all health problems are related to stress somehow, including reproductive health.
A loss of libido - also known as a low sex drive - affects up to one in five men and at least twice as many women at some point in their life. But why?
When you’re stressed out, your body goes through a series of changes that prepare what’s called your fight or flight response. As your body gears up to prepare your muscles for hard work, your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate increase. Because the body needs a lot of energy to fuel these processes, it simultaneously reduces the activity of non-essential functions - like your sex drive.
Stress also makes the body command the adrenal glands to release the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is made up of the same building blocks that the body uses to make the sex hormone testosterone. Of all the human body’s sex hormones, testosterone has the largest impact on your sex drive. This means that the more cortisol your body produces, the less testosterone it can produce, which, in turn, lowers your sex drive.
There’s also the psychological consequences of stress to consider. When you’re feeling highly anxious or frazzled, you might feel unwilling to have sex or struggle to be mentally present during the act.
The natural spectrum of human sexuality is varied. Some people might be ready for sex multiple times a day, while others naturally have zero interest in sexual activity. So how do you know whether you’re suffering from a low sex drive?
The big clue comes from looking at your baseline. If your interest in sex has changed from what it usually is - let’s say that you used to want sex twice a week, and now you barely want it twice a month - that’s a big sign that you might be suffering from a low sex drive. If these changes have also been going on for six months or more and are beginning to affect your relationships or self-esteem, it’s time to get help.
Do note, though, that a low frequency of sexual activity isn’t a sign of a low sex drive. Sometimes, you’re just busy, despite your best intentions!
Here are some key symptoms to watch out for:
A lack of sex won’t kill us, so does a low sex drive matter? The answer is yes. It can have damaging consequences for your mental well-being, especially in men. In our culture, masculinity is so tightly linked to sexuality that the loss of a man's sex drive can feel like a real psychological threat.
While 46% of women suffering from a loss of libido say they still feel very happy about life in general, only 23% of men say the same. The loss of your sexuality can feel very damaging, especially to male self-esteem. In addition to these psychological repercussions, mismatching sex drives can put a real strain on relationships, too.
Now that we know the symptoms and effects of a low sex drive, what can we do to fix it? Well, there are multiple options, and they all depend on the cause of the problem.
Some medications can lower testosterone levels and thus your libido and prevent ejaculation and erections. Examples include treatments for cancer, certain pain relievers, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications. If your medication is affecting your sex drive, it’s worth talking to your doctor to explore alternatives.
Our team at Beat Fatigue have extensive experience at boosting testosterone naturally with dedicated programs that include boosting the adrenal system and balancing hormones naturally.
Sometimes the issue is psychological. If relationship troubles or mental health concerns are extinguishing the flame of your desire, one of our trained therapists at Beat Fatigue can help either in person or online.
If stress is the cause of your sexual dysfunction, proper stress management can go a long way in restoring your desire. Improving your diet, getting regular exercise and enough sleep each night, and practising techniques like meditation can all help.
If you are looking for specialised support with stress management in New Zealand, the Beat Fatigue team is the right choice. As leading experts in stress management and adrenal wellbeing, we have successfully helped hundreds of men over the years with these issues. We offer personalised treatments to improve your physical and mental well-being and our programmes include personalised epigenetics assessments which help to establish the root cause of your challenge. We also offer the Adrenal Fatigue Protocol, created by global stress and adrenal health expert Dr James Wilson, which can be a big help getting back your vitality and confidence. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us at +64 (09) 488 0208.