11 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

One of the most common sex problems i having low libido and, subsequently, not having enough sex. Popular advice to solve this issue is simply add new things. Don’t get us wrong—we love sex toys! And, we understand the important role that adding novelty and adventure plays in keeping your sex life intimate, exciting, and fulfilling. Unfortunately,

“Spicing things up” often isn’t enough to address the underlying cause of your low desire

In fact, it’s just as, if not more important, to stop doing the things that cause low libido. These are things that block your desire, making it hard to get in the mood and experience orgasm.

What types of things? We’re so glad you asked! Here are some surprising reasons for low libido—and how to address them.

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 like ours. 

0,So…You Think You’ve Tried It All?

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 makeout and see where this goes.” 

It’s time for bed, 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.

Read more: A Sex Educator’s Guide to Mutual Masturbation

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.  

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).

Thinking more along the lines of oral sex? We also adore Lorals for this purpose. These ultra-thin and incredibly stretchy latex undies feel luxurious against the skin AND transfer every touch and lick.

You can use code PASSIONBYKAIT to save 10% on your first order by clicking here.

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 have trouble sleeping

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most powerful things you can do to benefit every party of your life. Think: reducing stress and illness, boosting critical thinking skills, and making it less likely to argue with your beau.

Plus, good sleep means morning sex is easier.

But it feels harder than ever to wake up feeling refreshed! For most people, if your body needs sleep, just about everything else gets de-prioritized—that includes sex. If it’s not a matter of survival, it doesn’t matter.

How to fix it

If you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or staying awake during the day, first check in with a healthcare provider to rule out medical issues. From there, you have a lot of control. Here are a few ideas:

  • avoiding screens for an hour before bed
  • brain dumping all your anxieties and to-dos in a worry journal 30 minutes before sleep
  • keeping your phone outside of the bedroom
  • getting blue light filtering glasses
  • exploring supplementing with magnesium and/or passion flower
  • slowly decreasing the amount of light in your space in the hourse leading up to bed

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.

Read more: 15 Sensual Self Care Practices that Don’t Cost a Thing

Your inner gremlin is being obnoxious AF

Whether you call it your inner gremlin, a protector part, or something else, this is the nasty voice in your head that talks shit about you to you. From “I’m not good enough” to “I’m ugly” to “I don’t deserve good things,” its a master at poking all your most sensitive spots—and make it really hard to feel confident, sexy, and turned on.

How to fix it

Start by spending a week or two noticing when these thoughts pop up. I like to keep track of these in the notes app on my phone. Once you better understand their pattern, begin naming them—”oh hey there nitpicking nancy”—and correcting them with a neutral phrase. For example, instead of “I’m a piece of shit” try “I’m human” or “It’s ok to be a work in progress and still be worthy.”

Why a neutral phrase and not a RAH RAH one? This approach builds self-efficacy, your capacity to complete the task (and believe it). It’s also less likely to freak out your nervous system and trigger even more gremlin thoughts. Over time, you may shift to a more loving phrase but you don’t have to.

You avoid some (or all) of your feelings

In the last few years, science has come to understand how emotions live in your body. When you experience an emotion it causes a physical reaction. When you avoid feeling your feels, this reaction gets stuck in your nervous system, causing it to be hyperactive (eg super alert, easily set off) or hypoactive (eg super tired, achy, unmotivated) depending on the situation and context.

How to fix it

It’s not always safe to feel your feels in the moment. Screaming at your partner or sobbing in a work meeting might not be particularly helpful. Here are two ways to feel (and manage) your big feels instead of avoiding them:

  1. Shake it off! After they’re spooked or stressed, animals give a shake. You can do this both daily as a practice to help unstick old emotions and in the moment if something feels overwhelming to your system. In public? Give a little shiver or shimmy‚ you can always say you got a chill!
  2. Name your emotions and ask what they need. When you notice yourself feeling something, say hello, name it, and ask it what it needs—just like if someone dropped a cute animal (that you aren’t allergic to or scared of) in your lap! Doing this takes the edge off overwhelming emotions, puts you in charge of them, and uncovers the deeper story that you can then care for or ask for help with.

Read more: Movement for Better Sex

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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