Every person has their own sex drive. A number of factors may cause it to increase or decrease. People may use the term “high sex drive” to mean an increase in desire for sex.

Libido, which is another word for sex drive, varies from person to person. It can also fluctuate due to a range of factors such as exercise, stress, age, and more.

Read on to understand why some people may have a high or low sex drive, plus tips on how to increase it.

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Sex drive, or libido, refers to a person’s desire to engage in sexual activity. A low libido refers to a decreased desire relating to sex, while a high libido is an increase in desire for sex.

Some reasons that a person may have a higher sex drive include:

  • Exercising: One study suggests that people who engage in physical activity tend to have higher sex drives.
  • Drug-taking: Stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, can cause an increase in libido.
  • Changes in neurotransmitters: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. People with Parkinson’s disease may receive dopamine replacement therapy. This can cause hypersexuality and atypical sexual behavior.
  • Testosterone: Some older research suggests there may be a link between higher testosterone levels in men and higher sex drives.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Some reasons a person could have a lower sex drive include:


Studies looking at female libido highlight that during menopause, sexual hormones decrease. This can cause a decline in sex drive and arousal.

Learn more about how menopause affects sex drive.

Culture and religion

According to some research, people who are subject to highly restrictive religious or cultural beliefs may have lower levels of sexual desire.

Mental health

Research suggests that males and females with mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, may have a higher risk of difficulties with sexual health. This can lead to a decrease in sex drive.


Sex drive may fluctuate as a person ages. One older study highlights that once people reach the age of 60 years, there is a decrease in libido.


Some research suggests that a link exists between obesity and difficulties with sexual health, which may lead to a lower sex drive.

Chronic conditions

Chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can cause difficulties with sexual health, which may reduce sex drive.

One review highlights that both the biological effects of diabetes, such as nerve damage, paired with psychological effects — such as self-image and tiredness — can decrease libido.


One study notes that females tended to reduce their sexual activity during pregnancy. One of the main reasons for this was a decrease in their libido.

Learn more about how pregnancy affects sex drive.

Relationship satisfaction

One 2018 study indicates that the libido of some females may decrease, depending on their satisfaction with the relationship.


Medications or treatments may cause a decrease in a person’s sex drive. Some of these include:

  • Chemotherapy: In males, chemotherapy may reduce testosterone levels, which leads to a decrease in their sex drive. For females, chemotherapy may also cause the libido to lessen, as it can cause the early onset of menopause.
  • Female hormonal birth control: A review of females and hormonal birth control highlights that the following birth control methods may decrease libido:
    • contraception ring
    • injection
    • implant
  • Antidepressants: A historical look into antidepressants and difficulties with sexual health suggests they may decrease sex drive.

Learn more about causes of a low libido.

Some people can try the following methods to help increase their sex drive:

Sex therapy

A sex therapist can assist with sexual difficulties. While they can help increase sex drive, they can also support people to reach orgasm.

Increase sleep

A 2023 study suggests that low quality sleep had an association with sexual difficulties. Therefore, aiming to get enough sleep may help regulate sex drive.


According to 2013 research, herbal aphrodisiacs such as yohimbine and Eurycoma longifolia may help increase male sex drive. Certain foods such as strawberries, chocolate, and raw oysters could also have aphrodisiac properties.


People may increase their libido through exercise, mindfulness, and yoga.

Testosterone therapy

Testosterone therapy in older males has shown it could help them regain their sexual desire.

Research that explores testosterone treatment and sexual desire in females varies. A 2016 paper argues it is unlikely to increase female sexual desire, however, a 2019 review suggests that it can boost libido in females.

More research is necessary to establish the effects of testosterone and sex drive in females.

Learn more about ways to boost libido.

It is best to view sex drive as a spectrum. What someone may consider “normal,” may be different for another person. Sex drive can also fluctuate, leading to a higher or lower libido.

In some cases, a person’s sex drive may become extremely high, or extremely low. This may develop into a sexual functioning disorder, which can include:

  • Female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD): This difficulty with sexual health involves a persistent lack of sexual desire, not caused by a medical condition or medications. Treatment for FSIAD may include counseling or medication.
  • Compulsive sexual behavior: The World Health Organization (WHO) includes compulsive sexual behavior in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This is an impulse disorder “characterized by a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior.”

Sex drive is a spectrum, and what may be typical for one person may not be usual for another.

There are many reasons why a person may have a high or low sex drive, or why it might fluctuate. Medication, age, and chronic conditions can all affect it.

Some ways to increase libido include exercise, sex therapy, or getting enough sleep.

If a person is worried about any changes in their libido, they can discuss this with a doctor.