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Learn about your decreased sex drive, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your decreased sex drive from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Decreased Sex Drive Checker

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Your Decreased Sex Drive May Also be Known as:
Decreased libido
Don't want to have sex
Less interest in sex
Loss of sex drive
Lost interest in sex
Lost sex drive
Low interest in sex
Low libido
Low sex drive

Decreased Sex Drive Symptoms

Decreased sex drive, also known as loss of libido or hypoactive sexual disorder, means you have little to no desire for sexual activity. You may find that you rarely spend any time thinking about or fantasizing about sex. Desire for sex varies widely among individuals, of course, but a near-complete loss of interest becomes a problem if you once had a normal sexual life, feel distressed about this loss of interest or it begins to impact your partner.

A drop in sex drive is not unusual if you also have an illness, serious stressor or depression. In one sense, it's nature's way of keeping you from starting a pregnancy or a relationship when you're not physically or emotionally ready to do so. That is why loss of interest in normal activities almost always carries over into decreased sex drive. However, in most cases your normal desire for sex will return once the underlying problem is corrected.


  • Change in frequency of sex or masturbation
  • Partner noticing a change in sex habits
  • Lack of interest in sex, sexual images, or other items that would normally lead to arousal


  • Decreased sex drive due to a time limited condition, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, or stress may go back to normal once those conditions are resolved.
  • *If it is due to other illness or stress, however, it rarely corrects itself but will go on until your underlying cause is addressed.

Who is most often affected by decreased sex drive symptoms?

  • Women are most often affected since they experience the effects of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
  • Men can experience loss of libido, too, usually from obesity, illness, or medication.

When is a decreased sex drive most likely to occur?

  • Decreased sex drive is most prevalent in people over age 50.
  • However, even a person well advanced in age can still desire physical intimacy with a partner. Loss of libido is not an inevitable part of aging.

Is a decreased sex drive serious?

  • Sudden loss of sexual function or desire can be a sign of underlying illness – either physical or psychological – that should be treated.
  • In any case, sexuality is a normal part of life and anything that interferes with it will soon affect your marriage or other romantic relationship. If you are distressed over loss of sexual functioning, it is important to get treatment so that quality of life is not affected.

Decreased Sex Drive Causes Overview

Many conditions can have decreased sex drive as a symptom. The most common are those involving hormone imbalances, followed by emotional and psychological issues. Sometimes an illness and/or a certain medication can be a direct cause.

Hormone-related decreased sex drive causes:

  • Pregnancy.
  • The post-partum period, which means the weeks and months immediately following childbirth – especially if breastfeeding.
  • Menopause.
  • Thyroid disorders, which affect metabolism and the production of sex hormones.
  • Low testosterone in men

Physical decreased sex drive causes:

  • Underlying illness may cause loss of sexual response.
  • Side effects of medication often interfere with sexual response, especially high blood pressure medicines, antiseizure drugs, and antidepressants.
  • Obesity can interfere with normal hormone balance, as well as make sexual activity difficult or even impossible.
  • There may be pain or discomfort during sex for physical reasons, such as vaginal dryness in women.

Lifestyle decreased sex drive causes:

  • Alcohol use.
  • Illicit drug use.
  • Smoking.
  • Poor diet.
  • Poor sleep habits.
  • Marijuana

Emotional and psychological decreased sex drive causes:

  • Difficulty with an ongoing relationship.
  • The stress of a divorce, or of dealing with a relationship that otherwise ends.
  • Generalized anxiety.
  • There may seem to be no clear reason for the decreased sex drive, which will be stressful in itself.

Top 8 Decreased Sex Drive Causes

  1. 1.Premenstrual Syndrome

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a very common condition. PMS has a variety of symptoms including cramping, mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, breast tenderness & depression.

    You may recognize this diagnosis on your own due to the of the timing of your symptoms. Treatment can involve decreasing caffeine, salt and/or refined sugar, increasing exercise, and reducing stress. If symptoms become more severe, a doctor may prescribe an oral birth control pill or an anti-depressant.

    Top Symptoms:
    stomach bloating, anxiety, constipation, breast pain, depressed mood
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual syndrome:
    constant sadness, severe sadness
  2. 2.Cushing Syndrome

    Cushing Syndrome is a hormonal disorder. The cause is long-term exposure to too much cortisol, a hormone that the adrenal gland makes. Sometimes, taking synthetic hormone medicine like corticosteroids to treat an inflammatory disease leads to Cushing's syndrome.

    Your treatment will depend on why your have too much cortisol. If it is because you have been taking synthetic hormones, a lower dose may control your symptoms. If the cause is a tumor, surgery and other therapies may be needed, so a doctor's consultation in the near future is best.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, headache, weight gain, back pain
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

    Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is a condition that occurs 5-11 days before menstruation that causes depression-like symptoms, where you have depression-like symptoms, irritability, and tension.

    You may recognize this diagnosis on your own due to the of the timing of your symptoms. Treatment can involve decreasing caffeine, salt and/or refined sugar, increasing exercise, and reducing stress. A doctor may also prescribe an oral birth control pill or an anti-depressant.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, anxiety, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), depressed mood
    Symptoms that always occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    impaired social or occupational functioning, hidden: affective symptoms pmdd
    Symptoms that never occur with premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
    constant sadness
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.High Prolactin Hormone Level

    Hyperprolactinemia is a common hormonal disorder in which there are higher than normal levels of prolactin in the blood.

    You should visit your primary care physician to discuss symptoms and treatment options.

    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal bleeding, headache, irregular period, decreased sex drive, enlargement of breasts
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Chronic Kidney Disease

    Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal failure, is a disorder caused by gradual loss of kidney function. It is most common in elderly individuals.

    You should make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms as soon as possible.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, decreased sex drive, unintentional weight loss
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Side - Effect(s) of Chemotherapy

    Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many side-effects, ranging from hair loss to fatigue to nausea. This occurs because the treatment affects not only diseased cells but also healthy cells.

    You should discuss your symptoms with your oncologist or oncology nurse.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with side-effect(s) of chemotherapy:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Hemochromatosis

    Hemochromatosis is a disease in which too much iron builds up in the body. This can be hereditary or caused by another condition like liver failure.

    You should visit your primary care physician for diagnostic blood tests (too look at your iron stores). Depending on severity, your treatment could range from watchful waiting to lifestyle changes to donating blood to reduce the iron levels.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), joint pain, decreased sex drive, frequent urination
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Hashimoto's Disease

    The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck that is responsible for making thyroid hormones. These hormones control important body functions, such as heart rate and the rate at which the body turns food into energy. Hashimoto's disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, and not enough thyroid hormone is produced, leading to symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Hashimoto's disease is a complex condition that is usually treated by hormone replacement therapy to bring hormone levels back up to normal.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, constipation, diarrhea
    Primary care doctor

Decreased Sex Drive Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if you feel very depressed or even suicidal.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Fatigue with feeling cold; ongoing weakness; joint or muscle pain; swollen ankles; racing heart; or any impaired sensation.
  • Physical pain during sexual activity.
  • Depression, defined as a vague feeling of numbness and sadness. A counselor, especially one specializing in sexuality, can help you understand what is happening regarding your loss of sex drive. Couples counseling can also be arranged.
  • Being threatened or feeling like you are in danger because you are not having sex with your partner

Remedies for decreased sex drive symptoms that you can do at home:

  • Lifestyle improvements regarding diet, exercise, sleep, and socializing can be very helpful.
  • You can re-examine relationship choices and have open discussions with your partner, making decisions together about your intimate lives and the future of your relationship.
  • Limit drugs and alcohol.

FAQs About Decreased Sex Drive

Here are some frequently asked questions about decreased sex drive.

What are common reasons for a decreased sex drive?

The most common reasons for decreased sex drive include medications like anti-depression medications, or medications that counteract androgens (male sex hormones), alcoholism, depression, fatigue, hypoactive sexual disorder, recreational drugs, relationship problems, fear of humiliation, sexual aversion disorder, systemic illness, and testosterone deficiency.

Can prescription drugs lead to decreased sex drive?

Yes. Most commonly, antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs (prozac) and tricyclic antidepressants can decrease sex drive. Many of these drugs affect libido by increasing the amount of serotonin within the synaptic clefts of the brain. There are alternatives to these drugs, however. Bupropion, for example, is known to treat depression without decreasing libido. Drugs for benign prostatic hyperplasia, like finasteride, for example, can decrease the amount of testosterone as can birth control pills. Both can cause a decrease in libido. Redone

Can too little exercise lead to decreased sex drive?

Yes, exercise transiently increases the amount of testosterone in the body over time which can lead to increased sex drive. It also increases the amount of endorphins and may also lead to increased self-esteem which may increases chances of initiating sex or desiring sex. Too little exercise may deprive an individual of these benefits and contribute to a lower sex drive depending on the cause of the low libido.

What is low libido?

Low libido is a decrease in an individual's baseline sexual desire or desire for sexual activity. This level is different for different individuals and can even vary throughout an individual's lifespan. It can be the product of a chemical imbalance produced my medications, physical illness, psychological diseases, or a physical problem with obtaining and maintaining an erection in the case of men or adequate lubrication in the case of women.

Can low testosterone or estrogen levels have an effect on sex drive?

Yes. Low testosterone levels in particular can decrease sex drive. Testosterone is responsible for both aggression and desire which are components of sex drive. In the absence of high levels of testosterone, it may become more difficult to initiate sexual activity. Low levels of estrogen can have an effect on readying the body for sexual activity.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Decreased Sex Drive

  • Q.Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Q.Are you having difficulty concentrating or thinking through daily activities?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our decreased sex drive symptom checker.

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Decreased Sex Drive Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced decreased sex drive have also experienced:

    • 9% Fatigue
    • 2% Depressed Mood
    • 2% Weight Gain
  • People who have experienced decreased sex drive were most often matched with:

    • 8% Premenstrual Syndrome
    • 6% Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
    • 3% Cushing Syndrome
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Decreased Sex Drive Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having decreased sex drive.

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