9 Common Causes for Low Libido—and How to Fix Them

white candle holder with heart shaped motive with person in the background lighting candle with a match | 9 Common Causes for Low Libido and How to Boost It | Passion By Kait

A previous version of this article sharing 9 common causes for low libido and how to boost it appeared in Blood + Milk.

Most of the counseling clients who seek me out complain of low desire and not having enough sex. There are many layers to these complaints that we dig into over the course of our work together. I compiled the most common nine reasons behind not wanting to have sex.

You don’t feel turned on

The societal narrative around desire is that it just appears out of nowhere! That spontaneous desire exists, but it isn’t as common among womxn. There’s another type of desire that is just as normal but less discussed. Responsive desire shows up after sexy things start to happen. 

How to fix it

Lean into willingness. If your beau initiates, your vibe taunts you, or you otherwise feel like it’s a good time to get it on, ask yourself, “What would I be willing to do right now?” The answer might be PIV or it might be a steamy makeout session.

You don’t know what you want

If sex has been boring you lately, you don’t feel satisfied by it, or you’ve never thought about your desires, consider adding something new. While there’s a lot of safety and intimacy in the same old routine, it’s also easy to get stuck in a rut and have desire diminish over time as a result. 

How to fix it

Get inspired! You can explore romance novels or porn, read sex-positive articles, or fill out a yes/no/maybe list

You think it’s all or nothing

When you or a beau initiates sex, the standard thought is that things must go all the way, whatever that looks like for you. In reality, sex doesn’t just mean one thing. Your choice isn’t between going all the way and not doing anything at all: there are so many sex stops in between!

How to fix it

Negotiate. You can say something flirty like, “Let’s make out and see where this goes.” 

You’re pressed for time

While there’s a lot to be said for the rush of a quickie, sometimes you need a little bit longer to get into things. 

How to fix it

Build foreplay throughout your day. Pick a sexy truth or dare and leave it for your beau, consume sexy media on your commutes, sext, put on your fave lingerie, etc.  

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It’s time for bed and you have an early wakeup and you’re horny

The alarm is going off in too few hours but you really want some lovin’.

How to fix it

Explore mutual masturbation. It’s super intimate and fun, plus since you’re both running the show, it takes less time from start to finish.

You’re sweaty

If you love sweaty sex, enjoy! If not, and the thought of pausing to take a shower and then get back into things feels like it might ruin the mood, this is for you.

How to fix it

Consider shower sex, choose sex acts (e.g. hand sex) and positions (e.g. doggy style) that don’t involve as much touching (or licking), and consider Lorals if your sex repertoire involves oral sex.

You’re hella stressed

When you’re stressed, in any part of your life, your brain deprioritizes anything that isn’t vital for your immediate, short-term survival. Things like keeping oxygen flowing, your heart pumping, and preventing infection. As you might imagine, sex isn’t very high on this list. 

How to fix it

Manage your stress. Management isn’t about getting rid of stress, but rather stopping it from running the show

You’re not feeling yourself

We’re lucky to live in a time when cultural narratives around beauty and worth are shifting. And yet, most of us grew up on a steady diet of “not [good/pretty/thin/smart/etc] enough.” While having high self-esteem or positive body image aren’t necessary for intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex, working towards feelin’ yourself helps you feel in the mood more often.

How to fix it

Look in the mirror. Instead of noticing all of the things you dislike about yourself—aka most people’s default setting—challenge yourself to notice what you accept, like, or love. Practice daily for the best results.

Not wanting to have sex isn’t always a negative thing

We all go through periods of time when we’re more sexually active and energized and those when we’re not. Only positivity can result from exploring the underlying reasons above, regardless of which one(s) underlies your not wanting to have sex.

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