You might still enjoy sex just as much as when you were younger but nowadays it's getting harder to get in the mood... and this might be why.
In any romantic relationship, love isn't the only important factor. Physical attraction and intimacy matters as well, especially when it comes to bringing two people closer together. Not to mention, thinking of ways to heat things up is interesting and can set the atmosphere for a little bit of sexy time. After all, it was that spark that ignited the love that drew you two closer than ever.
But as you grew older, you probably found that your libido wasn't as active as it used to be and that can put a bit of strain on your relationship. Especially if your partner is ready to get in the mood but you aren't. It could be a by-product of age but there are also other factors that can cause lower sex drive.
Feeling close to your partner, even after years of being together, can help increase your desire for each other and keep that fire burning. But if you find that your partner is shutting themselves away from you or has begun lying to you, that pain you feel can affect your sexual interest.
“The amount of trust, bonding, and closeness a partner feels toward the other may subconsciously affect their libido levels,” said marriage and family therapist Natalie Stanish in an article in Live Strong. “Sexual encounters are significantly emotional and vulnerable in an intimate relationship, and any type of rupture of trust or closeness to your partner may unknowingly affect your or their sexual desire or interest in being physically intimate.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 100 million U.S. adults suffer from diabetes. The American Heart Association mentions that more than 103 million American adults suffer from high blood pressure. So while those many adults suffer significant problems in managing daily routines, what they might not know is that it can affect their libido as well.
Diabetes can cause vascular and nerve damage due to high blood sugar. This can result in erectile dysfunction in men and decreased blood flow to the genitals in women. Similarly, high blood pressure can decrease blood flow to your genitals, making your sex drive drop, according to Medical News Today.
For the 30 million adults who suffer this condition, according to the CDC, their joint pain and stiffness can make it more difficult to engage in sexual activities. If you have osteoarthritis, it could be the cause of your low libido.
Heart disease is characterized by damaged blood vessels and decreased circulation. Since this damage can affect and reduce the blood flow to your genitals, it could be a reason why you might be experiencing decreased arousal or lubrication.
Though testosterone is a predominantly male hormone, women produce trace amounts of it as well. With regards to interest in sex, lower levels of testosterone has been found to reduce sexual desire. For men, it could cause erectile dysfunction. However, for women, as they grow older, estrogen too plays a role in libido levels. With testosterone levels already low, the decrease in estrogen can also affect your sex drive as it leads to vaginal dryness and thinning which can result in painful sex.
If you are too busy running around every day without getting a good night's sleep, it can affect your desire to engage in sexual activity. A study published in the European Respiratory Journal in 2014 showed that obstructive sleep apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep) lowered sex drive in men and women. That's because poor sleep can bring down your levels of testosterone as well as leave you and your partner too tired to cater to each other's needs and moods even though you love each other. This results in not just an emotional drain, but a sexual one too.
Deadlines, kids, family, money... stressing over all these issues can keep your mind distracted from your libido. "Stress can alter the physiology of the body," say Dr. Amin Herati and Dr. Dolores J. Lamb, Ph.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine Center for Reproductive Medicine and Department of Urology. According to Good Housekeeping, this is because when you're stressed, cortisol, the "stress hormone", can rise and as it does, your testosterone lowers.
Even certain foods eaten at certain times or in specific amounts can bring down your want to engage in sex.
Alcohol: A little wine at night with your partner is a great way to fire up the mood. However, “Heavy drinking can lead to lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels. In combination, this can affect your libido,” says Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, co-director of the PUR Clinic in Clermont, Florida, reports Reader's Digest.
Dairy: Kelly Connell, sexuality educator and counselor, explains to Bustle that eating dairy products can "increase aromatase which is an enzyme that lowers testosterone and increases estrogen."
Salt: You might be surprised by this one considering its one ingredient that is present in every dish you make and eat. But too much of salt intake can make your blood pressure rise which in turn can drop your libido.
Sugar: Sadly enough, that bite of cake that you share with your partner could negatively impact your sex drive. "Sugar, as well as carbs and dairy, can negatively interfere with sex hormones," says Dr. Laura Berman, assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University. "Plus," she adds, "if you eat poorly, you will suffer from negative self-image and lack of energy, both inside and outside the bedroom."
In order to find out what is truly blocking your sex drive, visit a doctor to make sure you aren't diagnosed with something more serious.