It's Complicated: Defining a "Normal" Sex Drive
Whether we have sex daily, weekly or monthly, many of us wonder whether our level of sexuality is "normal." Here's how to tell if you have a normal sex drive and what you can do if your libido seems to be lagging.
Libido Changes Can Have Negative Effects
Your sex drive affects much more than what happens in the bedroom. Whether your libido is too low or too high, it can affect your life and your relationships in a negative way. In the case of low libido, which is by far the most common type of libido problem, your lack of enjoyment during sex can take away a lot of pleasure from your life, leaving you feeling bored and dissatisfied. Having less sex with your significant other can also drive a wedge into the relationship, and not even just because an opportunity for mutual bonding has been taken away. When your partner has a higher libido than you, he or she may feel rejected, unattractive or frustrated when you are never in the mood.
Though far less common, abnormally high libido (also known as hypersexuality) can pose just as much of a problem. Hypersexuality can make your partner feel used or annoyed if you constantly ask him or her for sex. It may lead to an addiction to adult entertainment and a compulsion to seek out sex at any cost, even if it means cheating on your partner or spending far more money than you should. Your work performance may even suffer if your hypersexuality is severe enough that you play hooky from work in order to satisfy your urges. Only a professional can treat hypersexuality and this may involve a combination of psychiatric and hormonal interventions.
Do I Have a Normal Sex Drive?
Many of us are concerned about being "normal." It's natural to want your sex life to measure up to everyone else's, even if comparison with others isn't the best psychological habit to engage in. There aren't any reliable statistics on how often the average person has sex since every survey produces different results. Fortunately, it's quite simple to tell for yourself whether you have a normal sex drive. Ask yourself, "Does my libido bother me?"
If your libido, whether high or low, doesn't bother you or cause you any problems in your life, chances are it's perfectly normal. There is a wide degree of variation in people's natural baseline sex drives. However, if your sex drive does indeed cause you problems, that is when you have real cause for concern. Potential problems can include relationship problems due to your sex drive, reduced self-esteem or other psychological problems, financial problems and career problems.
In the case of low libido, there is another level of subtlety to be considered when deciding whether you have a normal sex drive. That is to consider whether your sex drive has always been at the low level it is now, or if there has been a noticeable decrease from what it once was. If you have always had a low sex drive, there are methods you can use to increase it to get more enjoyment out of sex, but ultimately your libido is probably normal. However, if your sex drive has decreased, there is probably a cause behind this that you can point to. Especially if you haven't reached age 45 yet, a significant decrease in sex drive is not really normal.
Causes of Low Libido
Low libido can have a wide variety of causes. There may even be multiple factors at play if you've experienced a dip in your sex drive. Often, your desire for sex can be decreased by a physical health problem such as a hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, diabetes or obesity. Mental health problems can influence your libido as well, so if you experience depression, anxiety or poor body image, you might be at risk. Life circumstances also take a toll on one's sex drive, including relationship problems and other forms of stress.
Hormonal birth control pills have become immensely popular since they were made available to the general public in the 1970s. Unfortunately, they carry a range of side effects, one of which includes lowered libido. This is because taking birth control pills will raise your levels of sex hormone binding globulin by four times. This globulin binds to the sex hormones, rendering them unavailable for use by your body, thus lowering your drive for sex. This remains in effect even six months after you stop taking them. Other medications, such as anti-depressants, are also known to decrease libido.
Solving Libido Problems
- Eat plenty of zinc-rich foods like seafood, beef, wheat germ, green leafy veggies and cashews. Zinc promotes testosterone production, thus boosting your sex drive.
- Take a maca supplement. Maca is proven to boost libido. You'll find it more effective if you take it alongside other libido-boosting supplements like L-arginine and ginseng.
- Seek relationship counseling if relationship problems are either causing or are caused by your low libido.
- Regular exercise will improve mental and physical health as well as circulation, which are all important factors in your ability to become aroused.
- Get plenty of sleep to ensure you're not too tired to be in the mood. This also decreases your stress levels, further boosting sex drive.
- Consult a doctor if you suspect you have a hormone imbalance that's causing your low libido.