What causes low libido and how is it treated?

What causes low libido and how is it treated?
Published : Feb 04, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 07, 2024

You might feel uncomfortable to talk about low libido with your partner and doctor. Unhappily, it is a common problem that affects adults around globe including men and women.

Though it might be difficult to discuss, but sexual health is vital and a major factor that causes low libido. Sometimes, it is natural to lose interest in sexual activity but long-term low libido can be an underlying cause.

This might stem from depression, low testosterone, substance use, lack of sleep, stress, and more. In case, changes in your sexual drive continue and bother you then consult a doctor.

Libido naturally differs from person to person and even fluctuates throughout your entire life. Nevertheless, it is vital to meet a doctor if a dip in your libido continues to distress you. 

What do you understand by low libido?

Low libido happens when there is a decrease in frequency or intensity of sexual desire that you had once. It is important to know that low libido can be temporary or long-term depending upon your condition.

Libido is mainly your overall sexual drive or desire to indulge in sexual activity. This includes masturbation and lovemaking sessions with a partner. Remember libido is complex and influenced by psychological, biological, and social factors.

Remember biologically sexual hormones including testosterone & estrogen and neurotransmitters like dopamine control libido. Libido differs from person to person and your sexual drive can change throughout life. There is no right or improper libido level.

Some people involve in sexual activity or feel like indulging in it while others feel like having it only a few times. Right or normal libido for you usually depends on your liking and life conditions.

Yet, if there is a decrease in libido and it causes you distress then consulting a doctor is important. Here are some medical conditions and life situations that can cause low libido:

  • Certain medicines
  • Stress
  • Relationship issues
  • Medical problems
  • Aging
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mental health ailments

How common is a low libido problem?

Low libido or low sexual drive has now become very common among men and women. It affects almost 1 in 5 men or people assigned male at birth and women or people assigned female at birth.

During your entire life, it is common to experience a drop in sexual drive more than once in your life.

Male and female libido causes

Below-stated are some main causes of low libido in men and women:

Chronic conditions

There are several chronic illnesses and diseases which can affect your sexual function negatively. These include:


High blood sugar levels are responsible for causing both nerve and vascular damage. 

These effects further result in erectile dysfunction in men and cause decreased blood flow to genitals in women.

Women with diabetes can also experience higher rates of bladder infections and yeast, making sexual activity painful or uneasy.


People suffering from joint pain and stiffness can find it more difficult to be involved in sexual activities.

Heart disease

Heart diseases are responsible for damaging your blood vessels and cause decreased circulation.

This damage further decreases flow of blood to genitals and reduces arousal or lubrication.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure can affect your blood circulation and lead to low libido.


Different treatments for cancer like radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy can affect your libido.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can make you suffer from symptoms of low libido.


There are some medicines that can cause you low sexual desire or sexual dysfunction.

These medications include:

  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Antidepressants with serotonergic effects
  • Antipsychotics that increase levels of prolactin in body
  • Medicines for treating high blood pressure
  • Drugs for an enlarged prostate including dutasteride and finasteride

Recreational drug use or excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to low libido.

Emotional and psychological factors

Several emotional and psychological factors affect desire of a person to indulge in sexual activity.

Mental health problems due to fatigue, anxiety, poor self-esteem, depression, or former sexual abuse can decrease a person’s interest in sexual activity.

Nevertheless, relationship issues including poor communication, lack of trust, and conflict can also decrease a person’s drive for sexual activity.

Low libido in women

Here are some causes of low libido in women:


Sexual problems related to menopause are mainly a result or outcome of reduced levels of estrogen.

Menopause also causes a drop in testosterone which females produce in small amounts.

Also, lower testosterone levels can contribute to a problem of reduced sexual desire.

Low estrogen levels also start causing dryness and thinning of vagina after menopause.

This further makes women suffer from or experience aching and uneasiness in intercourse.

In case, a person is experiencing discomfort or pain during sexual activity then they can lose interest in lovemaking sessions.


During pregnancy, several hormonal changes take place in female’s body and affect sexual drive.

Such type of changes affect each woman differently. Some women might have an increased interest in sexual activity.

Other women can also have a low libido problem and might not feel like being involved in sexual intercourse.

During postpartum months, women’s hormone continues to fluctuate which affects sexual drive.

Causes of low libido in men

Some main causes of low libido in males include:

Low testosterone

Testosterone is a sexual hormone that is produced by males in their testicles.

You need to know that testosterone is responsible for different bodily procedures and features including:

  • Muscle mass
  • Facial and body hair
  • Bone health
  • Sexual drive
  • Production of sperm

Low testosterone in men can also produce other symptoms like erectile dysfunction and enlarged breasts.

Some conditions like testicular trauma, chronic illness, anabolic steroid use, or prior chemotherapy can lead to low testosterone.


Depending on cause of your problem, a doctor will determine a suitable treatment for low libido.

Some simple lifestyle changes can help you to treat low libido and regain your sexual desire.

Eating a nutritious diet, losing weight, getting proper sleep, and reducing alcohol consumption can improve your overall health.

Thus, with right treatment, you can improve your condition of low libido.