The lack of a desire for sex can effect all of us at some point in life. It is normal. Stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and poor diet can all play a role in a temporary loss of desire.
Sometimes the loss of desire can be more than a temporary roadblock and can be the result of a potentially serious medical issue. In fact, the National Institute of Health estimates that up to one-third of all women and as many as 15% of all men are suffering from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), a deficiency of desire for sexual activity. Despite it’s prevalence, HSDD is often under reported and under diagnosed due to its private and awkward nature.
In her book, SexRx, Dr. Lauren Striker reports that “there are over 50 medical conditions and classifications of medications that have been identified as having an impact specifically on the ability to have a normal sexual response and/or the ability to have intercourse.” Additionally, Dr Striker points out that “virtually every acute or chronic disease can be accompanied by fatigue, anxiety, pain, insomnia - all of which are culprits that can easily destroy a healthy sex life.” Even worse, she councils, “The drugs used to treat many disorders often create bigger problems than the illness itself.”
When suffering from a lack of sexual desire it is imperative that one discus the issue with their healthcare provider. Medications can be changed, dosages can be altered and steps can be taken to reduce the impact of many medical conditions and medications on sexual desire.
In many cases a loss of desire is a sexual medicine issue relating to hormones or anatomy. Once other serious medical issues are ruled out, a sexual medicine doctor will often preform blood tests to look for decreases in sex hormones such as testosterone. Anatomical issues such as Erectile Dysfunction or Peyronie’s Disease are increasingly common in men while difficulty achieving orgasm, decreased lubrication and pain are common in women.
In his book, Re-Coupling: A Couples 4 Step Guide to Greater Intimacy and Better Sex, Dr. Mohit Khera explains that sexual dysfunction is a couple’s disease. Dr. Khera points out that “studies have shown that if you increase a women’s sexual desire, her male partners erections will improve significantly. There are also studies showing that if you improve a man’s libido and erection, his wife’s libido and sexual function also improve.” Additionally, Dr. Khera suggests that “you cannot treat one person without at least addressing the other person. The best way to treat sexual dysfunction is to treat both partners together.”
If you are not quite ready to seek help from a sexual medicine doctor, there are a variety of great books which detail the physical and psychological barriers to sexual health. Here are a few that you might want to pick up:
- Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep it Alive by Medeleine Castellanos, MD
- Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever by Lauren Streicher, MD
- ReCoupling: A Couple’s 4 Step Guid to Greater Intimacy and Better Sex by Mary Jo Rapini, LPC and Mohit Khera, MD
- Yes You Can: Dr. Barb’s Recipe for Lifelong Intimacy by Barb DePree, MD
Homework: If you are experiencing a lack of desire that is not temporary in nature, make an appointment to see your primary care physician. Rule out any major medical issues or medication side effects. If the issue persists, meet with a doctor who specializes in Sexual Medicine.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to continue the journey, read “How We Turned Around Our Marriage and Our Sex Life in 30 Days” or download our free e-book entitled “Sex.Love. Happiness.”