Marriage and Beyond >> Sexual Problems

Sexual problems


Loss of Desire
  What causes loss of sexual desire?

One cannot generalize as to why someone is experiencing a low level of sexual desire. Loss of libido can have a variety of causes, some psychological, some not.

Stress and fatigue

Perhaps the leading cause of lost sexual desire is stress and fatigue. Most often, the condition is temporary and returns when the stressful period ends, or the person is able to get appropriate rest.


Sex can arouse a lot of anxiety in some people who are unsure of the themselves or fear humiliation. For someone who has never had sex or has had a bad experience with sex, the anxiety level can be overwhelming. One may fear that they will not be able to become aroused or excited and fail their partner. Alternatively, one might fear the consequences of sexual activity (pregnancy or STDs). Fear of the sexual situation because of failure or negative consequences can decrease their interest in sexual activity.

Estrangement from partner

One who is angry at their partner can express this frustration through a lack of sexual desire. It may be difficult to engage in sexual activity when unresolved conflicts continue to loom. Any negative feelings towards your partner may be incompatible with the prospect of sexual intimacy which decreases your level of arousal.

Misdirected sexual desire

This phenomenon often occurs in the case of ‘closeted’ gay men and women. While actual sexual desire may be quite high for members of their appropriate sexual orientation, many people ashamed or insecure about their sexuality will still force themselves to desire the wrong sex. Often closeted individuals marry and have children while still suffering from lack of sexual desire for their spouses. Others may be disturbed by their fantasies or fetishes and may wish to forget them by repressing their sexual desire.

Loss of erotic associations

The loss of libido can be a psychological process whereby the brain systematically relabels stimuli which were once erotic as non-erotic. Sexually appealing stimuli in the environment are no longer associated with arousal. With the help of a registered sex therapist, this psychological condition can often be overcome.

Physiological causes

Not all the causes of low sexual desire are psychological in nature. Low sexual desire in older men can be caused by a low level of the hormone androgen. Hormonal deficiency can sometimes be treated with hormone injections. Consult your doctor or sex therapist for all the answers.

Anything that adversely affects your metabolism will undoubtedly cause some lack of sexual desire. This may include an accident, trauma or illness that causes a metabolic disturbance.

Different drugs have different effects on sexual desire. You should read the label or ask your doctor or pharmacist about the effects of any pharmaceutical products on your libido.

  What can I do about loss of sexual desire?

If you have experienced loss of desire for only a short time, it may take care of itself. Getting out of stressful or anxious situations may also alleviate the condition. Try to think about what the cause may be for you personally. It could be your partner, your environment, or a number of other factors listed above. If the loss of desire persists, ask your doctor to refer you to a sex therapist who can help.

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