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Loss of Libido



One of the most common myths about sexuality is that people, especially men, are always ready and looking for sex; the reality is far different, because our sexual drive or libido is affected by many factors and reflects our dynamic energy, our state of mind, state of health and, even our physical circumstances.

It is more different to be sexually responsive when one is living in damp, cold, miserable conditions ........ or the temperature is in the 40’s, humidity is high and there is no air conditioning!

Loss of desire occurs in both men and women related to fatigue, illness, depression, grief, relationship problems and quite commonly to misuse of drugs, the commonest of these being alcohol.

Substances such as alcohol and marijuana reduce the production of male hormones, the androgens which are produced by both sexes, and play a big part in giving us our sexual drive and zest for living. A man who has had enough alcohol to get himself drunk will probably have his testosterone, the male hormone, production reduced by between half to two thirds, for the next 48 to 72 hours. Alcohol in small amounts may free a person from inhibitions, but a lot makes performance fall away, a fact that Shakespeare commented on in the Porters scene from Macbeth.

The level of sexual drive reflects the amount of androgens in the circulation, but there are chemicals in the body such as prolactin, (which is made by women when breast feeding, or by both sexes when under stress), which block the effect of the hormones so that desire falls.

Sometimes there is a tumour in the pituitary gland which produces prolactin, and a therapist will often check the level in the blood when investigating someone with a loss of desire.

Correct treatment requires identification of the cause of the problem, whether it is psychological or medical, then a program of action can be started to attempt to correct the difficulty. If there are relationship problems then it will be necessary to work both members of the couple because it is rare for the responsibility not to be shared.

Generally, working with a counsellor, those concerned can be helped to discover where mistakes have been made which have given rise to stress, or performance anxiety. Often a behavioural approach such as the Sensate Focus program described first by Masters & Johnson in 1966, which uses a “no demand” touching routine would be beneficial.

Sex is a so called “paradoxical behaviour” and trying too hard may lead to a lack of success, and a return to simpler pleasures will often lead to increased enjoyment followed by a rising libido. Sometimes lifestyle changes may be necessary to deal with fatigue, boredom or lack of quality time spent with one’s partner.

Physical illness may be responsible for the loss of sexual drive, and many conditions do have an affect on libido, especially debilitating diseases, such an anemia or kidney failure, or even a gland that is not functioning properly.

See your family doctor and have a thorough overhaul, but explain the reason why you are asking for such a check up. If there is no underlying medical problem your doctor may counsel you or choose to refer you to a psychologist or other appropriate therapist.

- Ageing - AIDS
- Anorgasmia - Barrier Methods of Contraception
- Frigidity - Genital Herpes
- Impotence - Loss of Libido
- Masturbation - Miscarriage
- Post Natal Depression - Pregnancy
- Premature Ejaculation - Retarded Ejaculation
- Sex and Disability - Sexual Activity during and after Pregnancy
- Smoking and Pregnancy - Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
- Syphilis and Gonorrhoea - Termination (Abortion)
- The I.U.D. (or Intra Uterine Device) - The Pill (Oral Contraceptive Pill or OCP)
- The Rhythm Method of Birth Control
or Natural Family Planning
- Tubal Ligation
- Vasectomy - What is Normal??


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