There are many reasons why you might be experiencing intimacy issues, not all of them are things you can control on your own. Here's six things that could be getting in the way of your sex life.
1. Stress and mental health
Talking with your partner will help to tease out the issues that might be taking your mind away from sex and intimacy. Are you under a lot of stress? Is your partner under stress? Perhaps one of you is suffering from anxiety or depression without even knowing it. It could even be as simple as exhaustion and struggling to keep up with the demands of everyday life. Perhaps it's time to talk about lifestyle changes that might take the pressure off and make you happier. If you need guidance, speak to your GP.
2. Alcohol and drugs
Excess alcohol intake and drug misuse are linked to a loss of libido. If you're a man, limit your alcohol intake to 3-4 units a day, for women, 2-3 units a day. If you're using drugs for anything other than medical reasons, consider the impact they might be having on your life and relationships. Smoking is also thought to impact libido and is known to be linked to impotency in men. Read our article - Quit smoking: 5 distractions from you cravings.
3. Relationship issues
The state of your relationship can be one of the most common reasons for a reduced sex drive. Are you happy? Are you sexually attracted to your partner? Losing the spark doesn't mean you don't love each other. It can be a difficult subject to bring up, but talking about it with your partner can make a world of difference. You may be worried about hurting your partner's feelings but try to be open and honest about your issues. You may just find the problem is easier to fix than you thought. If it proves more difficult, then consider seeking the help of a professional relationship therapist.
4. Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes or imbalances can signal big changes in your life and can lead to a decreased sex drive. This is common as men and women get older. Oestrogen and testosterone levels decline, resulting in a reduced sex drive compared to when you were younger. Sometimes hormonal imbalances occur at other stages in your life due to hyperprolactinemia or an underactive thyroid, which can also lead to weight gain, tiredness and feelings of depression. These problems are treatable. Read our article - Keeping your sex drive after menopause.
Some women find their sex drive is reduced when they use hormone-based contraception. If you're concerned that this may be the cause of your low libido - speak to a GP or family planning clinic.
6. Medications and other medical conditions
Some medications for seizures, high blood pressure, depression or psychosis have been known to impact libido in both women and men. If you suspect this is the cause of your lowered sex drive ask your GP about altering your prescription.
Chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes can also lower your libido and inhibit sexual performance. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle - and following GP advice - may help to reduce the impact of any existing conditions on your sex drive.