Every person has their own sex drive that is normal to them. A number of factors may cause it to increase or decrease.
Read on to understand why some people may have a high or low sex drive, plus tips on how to increase it.
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 sexual compulsions.
- Testosterone: Some older research suggests there may be a link between higher testosterone levels in men and higher sex drives.
There are many reasons a person could have a lower sex drive, including:
Culture and religion
People who are subject to highly restrictive religious or cultural beliefs may have lower levels of sexual desire.
Sex drive may fluctuate as a person ages. One review highlights that once people reach the age of 60, there is a decrease in libido.
One study found that women tended to reduce their sexual activity during pregnancy. One of the main reasons for this was a decrease in their libido.
One study found that the libido of some females may decrease, depending on their satisfaction with the relationship.
Medicines 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 contraceptive: A review of women and hormonal contraceptives highlights that the following contraceptive methods may decrease libido:
- contraceptive ring
Some people can try the following methods to help increase their sex drive:
A sex therapist can assist with sexual problems. While they can help increase sex drive, they can also support people to achieve orgasm.
A study found that longer sleep duration in females led to a higher level of next-day sexual desire.
Herbal aphrodisiacs, such as yohimbine and Eurycoma longifolia, may help to increase male sex drive. Certain foods such as strawberries, chocolate, and raw oysters could also have aphrodisiac properties.
Testosterone therapy in older males has shown it could help them regain sexual desire.
Research that explores testosterone treatment and sexual desire in females varies. A 2016 study argues it is unlikely to increase female sexual desire, however, another study suggests that it can boost libido in females.
More research is necessary to establish the effects of testosterone and sex drive in females.
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 is a form of sexual dysfunction where there is a persistent lack of sexual desire, which is 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). It is defined as 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 normal for one person may not be normal 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.
There are ways to increase libido, which include exercise, sex therapy, or getting enough sleep.
If a person is worried about any changes in their libido, they should discuss this with their doctor.
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