How Do You Deal with Low Libido?

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Key Takeaways

  • Low Libido affects over 1 in 3 people, and there are many different causes.
  • There are four major types of sexual dysfunction including desire disorders, arousal disorders, orgasm disorders, and sexual pain disorders.
  • Finding the right treatment can be difficult, but learning from doctors and sexual health experts can help you find the right solution for you.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Libido

What is Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual Dysfunction Causes

Sexual Dysfunction Treatment

Solving Sexual Dysfunction Summit

Introduction to Libido

Sexual intercourse is a loving, intimate event for people around the world.

It is central to many long-term relationships, but as we age, many of us start facing more and more challenges with sexual intimacy and sexual problems.

Despite wanting to have these intimate moments. It is common to have difficulty with sexual intercourse. In couples that desire sexual intercourse, partners may start having less satisfaction from intercourse, become unable to initiate sexual intercourse, or even start having pain with intercourse.

These challenges can cause significant changes in relationship dynamics, according to a scientific study.

Problems with sexual intercourse can be physical, psychological, or interpersonal. These problems are often called low libido or “sexual dysfunction.”

What is Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction refers to any problem or challenges experiencing satisfaction or the ability to have sexual intercourse, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Sexual dysfunction can cause relationship challenges.

According to one medical review, sexual dysfunction creates intimacy challenges for 43% of women and 31% of men.

couple sitting together - looking sad

Types of Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women

Sexual dysfunction can show up in different ways for everyone. In fact, an article from the Journal of Sexual Medicine states that there are four main types of sexual dysfunction.

The four major types of sexual dysfunction can affect both men and women. These include:

  1. Desire or Interest Disorders: this is low desire or interest in sexual intercourse, low libido, or even a lack of sexual fantasies. This is commonly called “hypoactive sexual desire disorder.”
  2. Arousal Disorders: this is the inability to respond to sexual stimuli, like sexual touch or sexual thoughts. In men, this is commonly seen through erectile dysfunction, and in women, this is seen as a lack of vaginal lubrication or poor sensitization of sexual areas (i.e. nipples or genitals)
  3. Orgasm Disorders: this is the inability to obtain satisfaction from sex or orgasms
  4. Sexual Pain Disorders: these occur when sex is too painful to enjoy due to structural abnormalities of the penis or vagina.

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, some common pain disorders in women involve:

  • Genitopelvic pain-penetration disorder: this is a disorder where pain occurs during vaginal penetration and includes dyspareunia (pain that occurs in the vulva or internal walls during penetration and even after sex) and vaginismus (irregular and painful spasms of the vaginal wall during sex)
  • Vestibulodynia: a pain disorder affecting the opening of the vagina

According to an article from Health Psychology Research, male sexual dysfunction can manifest in different ways:

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): This involves difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection. While occasional problems aren’t unusual, consistent issues can indicate a health concern.
  • Peyronie’s Disease: This occurs when scar tissue or abnormal structural development causes deformities of an erect penis, which can cause significant pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Premature ejaculation: This refers to ejaculation that occurs before or shortly after sexual penetration, with minimal sexual stimulation.
  • Delayed or absent ejaculation: Despite adequate stimulation, some men might find it difficult to ejaculate or might not be able to at all.
  • Low libido: A decreased interest in sexual activity might stem from a range of physical or psychological causes.

Low Libido Causes

There are many different types of low libido or sexual dysfunctions that affect everyone, but what are the causes?

According to the Mayo Clinic and other reports, there are several major causes of sexual dysfunction. These include:

  • Physical Health Problems: chronic health conditions can affect your sexual drive and cause dysfunction. Cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and kidney disease are common causes.
  • Psychological Health Problems: mental health challenges like anxiety or depression or a history of sexual or physical abuse can cause sexual dysfunction.
  • Hormonal Issues in Women: the dynamic nature of hormones in the female body can lead to natural fluctuations in sexual desire. However, hormone changes after giving birth and during breastfeeding can lead to vaginal dryness and difficulties with arousal. Low estrogen after menopause may reduce blood flow to the vagina and may also lead to less sensation in the vagina.
  • Age: in men, age has been reported to correlate with increased rates of sexual dysfunction, especially erectile dysfunction regardless of previous erectile function.
  • Smoking has been found to decrease blood flow to the genitals and significantly contribute to increased rates of sexual dysfunction in women, according to one study
  • Depression: people with depression have a 50-70% increased risk of developing sexual dysfunction, according to one report

Lifestyle and physical health are not the only contributors to sexual dysfunction. Medications have also been found to cause changes in sexual drive.

Sexual Dysfunction Causes: Medications and SSRIs

The Cleveland Clinic reports that sexual dysfunction can be caused by numerous medications. These include:

  • Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Anti-hypertension medications like diuretics, beta blockers, and more
  • Hormonal medications like leuprolide and goserelin

One of the most discussed medications that cause sexual dysfunction are SSRIs.

One literature review stated that 40-65% of individuals taking SSRIs experience sexual dysfunction.

However, the underlying depression may be the primary cause of decreases in sexual interest. That review stated that 40% of men and 50% of women not taking SSRIs or antidepressants experienced sexual dysfunction.

The many causes of sexual dysfunction make it difficult to identify the best course you should take to solve sexual dysfunction.

So, how can you find the treatment you need to reignite the passion of your sex life and leave sexual dysfunction in the past?

Sexual Dysfunction Treatment

There are many different forms of treatment for sexual dysfunction, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

man looking over at woman holding perscription bottle

Solutions for sexual dysfunction include:

  • Psychological Therapy: this includes sex therapy, behavioral therapy, and education about how to communicate your sexual problems.
  • Medications: erectile dysfunction and hormone deficiencies are commonly treated by the use of medications like Viagra®, Cialis®, Addyi®, Vylessi®, Levitra®, Stendra®, or hormone supplements
  • Medical Devices: These include penile implants and vacuums for men with erectile dysfunction. Dilators and vibrators are useful for improving sexual enjoyment in women.

But how do you know what is right for you?

Educating yourself from medical experts will help you find the right path for you.

Solving Sexual Dyfunction Summit

You can hear from medical experts at summits that take place online. There is an upcoming summit you can attend virtually and for free. This summit is the Solving Sexual Dysfunction Summit.

At this summit, you will learn how to boost your libido and solve your sexual dysfunction. More than 40 experts in the field will attend, and you will be able to learn how to solve your sexual dysfunction.


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical care team for any changes you want to make regarding your health care or lifestyle.

DrTalks Videos About Sex and Libido

Living Libido Loca! Supercharge Your Libido at Any Age

Say Yes To Getting Your Sexy Self Back

Restoring Intimacy And Sexual Health


Crowe, M. (2012). Couple relationship problems and sexual dysfunctions: Therapeutic guidelines. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 18(2), 154-159. Read it here.

Cleveland Clinic. (2015). Sexual Dysfunction & Disorders. Cleveland Clinic. Read it here.

Rosen R. C. (2000). Prevalence and risk factors of sexual dysfunction in men and women. Current psychiatry reports, 2(3), 189–195. Read it here.

Parish, S. J., Hahn, S. R., Goldstein, S. W., Giraldi, A., Kingsberg, S. A., Larkin, L., Minkin, M. J., Brown, V., Christiansen, K., Hartzell-Cushanick, R., Kelly-Jones, A., Rullo, J., Sadovsky, R., & Faubion, S. S. (2019). The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Process of Care for the Identification of Sexual Concerns and Problems in Women. Mayo Clinic proceedings94(5), 842–856. Read it here.

Hatzimouratidis, K., & Hatzichristou, D. (2007). Sexual dysfunctions: classifications and definitions. The journal of sexual medicine, 4(1), 241–250. Read it here.

Anderson, D., Laforge, J., Ross, M. M., Vanlangendonck, R., Hasoon, J., Viswanath, O., Kaye, A. D., & Urits, I. (2022). Male Sexual Dysfunction. Health psychology research, 10(3), 37533. Read it here.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Female sexual dysfunction – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Read it here.

McCabe, M. P., Sharlip, I. D., Lewis, R., Atalla, E., Balon, R., Fisher, A. D., Laumann, E., Lee, S. W., & Segraves, R. T. (2016). Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunction in Women and Men: A Consensus Statement from the Fourth International Consultation on Sexual Medicine 2015. The journal of sexual medicine, 13(2), 144–152. Read it here.

Choi, J., Shin, D. W., Lee, S., Jeon, M. J., Kim, S. M., Cho, B., & Lee, S. M. (2015). Dose-response relationship between cigarette smoking and female sexual dysfunction. Obstetrics & gynecology science, 58(4), 302–308. Read it here.

Bonierbale, M., Lançon, C., & Tignol, J. (2003). The ELIXIR study: evaluation of sexual dysfunction in 4557 depressed patients in France. Current medical research and opinion, 19(2), 114–124. Read it here.

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Daniel Chantigian
Daniel Chantigian, MS
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When it comes to complex scientific or medical topics, Daniel can successfully communicate with any audience via writing, social media, lecturing, and one-on-one discussions. Over the past decade, he developed these skills as a researcher at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, as a lecturer at the University...

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