Physical and Psychological Causes of Low Sexual Desire

Low sexual desire can certainly put a damper on the enjoyment of time together with a romantic partner. Some couples meet and feel intense desire and passion for a certain amount of time. But as the relationship progresses and the closeness and commitment intensify, some people begin to lose that spark that they had felt toward their partner. The person who does not feel desire often does not suffer as much as the person who craves the touch and intimacy but keeps being rejected. Persistent rejection can wear down the self-esteem of even the most self-confident and sexually secure person.

After repeated attempts to engage in intimate behavior (e.g., stroking, kissing, genital contact), even the most arduous and patient lover will become quite frustrated. Some people will respond with rage. Others will just shut down their own desires temporarily. Without a good amount of loving communication and a real effort on the part of the low desire partner to make changes, the person with a normal or high level of desire may find it difficult to stay in the relationship. It is important for the person who desires intimacy to do a hefty amount of self-reflection. This partner needs to determine how much of the current problem could be alleviated with a different approach, different words, and different behaviors on his or her part.

Sometimes, no matter what the partner says or does, the low desire person cannot and will not come around. It is important for both people to understand what is going on and attempt to figure out the cause and some possible solutions. For both men and women, low sexual desire can result from physical, psychological, emotional and even mental problems or a combination of factors.

Physical Factors That May Be Related to Low or Inhibited Sexual Desire (ISD)

  • Anemia – a low level of iron, often resulting from the loss of blood during menstruation
  • Chronic Disease – Diabetes, Rhematoid Arthritis, Cancer, Hyperprolactinaemia (overactive pituitary gland), Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia
  • Hormonal Imbalances – Luteinizing hormone (LH), low testosterone
  • Prescription Drug Side Effects – Mood Alterators, Tranquilizers, Anti-Anxiety
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Indigestion
  • Circulatory and/or Breathing Problems
  • Genital Pain – before, during or after sexual intercourse
  • Body Aches and Pains – Low back pain, neck pain, stomach pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, wrist pain

Sometimes there appears to be no direct physical cause but the partner seems to have just lost their libido. Sex drive or libidi is not lost; it still exists, but has somehow been shut down. Words, actions, attitudes, and unpredictable situations can lead to becoming preoccupied, disinterested, repelled and even disgusted by the thought of sexual contact. Some people can perform sexually during the early stages of a relationship, when all is new and exciting, but lose interest as they get closer. Without counseling and deep exploration into one’s psyche, it can be quite confusing and difficult to understand what is happening.

Psychological Factors That May Be Related to Low or Inhibited Sexual Desire (ISD)

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Interpersonal Relationships Problems
  • Uncomfortable Living Conditions
  • Unresolved Childhood Issues
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Aftereffects of Sexual Abuse, Rape or Physical Abuse
  • Religious Beliefs That Portray the Sex Act as Bad or Evil
  • Personal Hangups, Fetishes, Paraphilias
  • Latent Homosexuality

If you or your intimate partner are struggling with low or inhibited sexual desire do not get discouraged. Seek help from a qualified sex therapist or couples counselor. Pursue the discovery of why this happening in much the same way you would pursue a business problem or a career change. Find out all you can about the problem. Work together as a couple. And accept and welcome outside professional help.

Michael Ortiz

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