What Affects your Libido?

August 25, 2016 at 1:48 am


Libido can be defined as your overall desire for sexual activity. It is estimated that 32 percent of women and 15 percent of men had loss of sexual desire for several months within the last year; this is according to the National Health and Social Life Survey. Your libido can be influenced by medications and health conditions such as chronic depression as well as social, biological and nutritional factors. Although this topic may be uncomfortable to discuss, many of these factors can be controlled or at least managed with the guidance of your health care professional.


The stress from work, relationships, school and finances can negatively affect your sex drive. It has been well documented in scientific studies that chronic stress can have a profound effect on your overall health, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Often times one of the first signs that stress is negatively impacting your health is the loss of sexual desire. It may not always be possible to change the stressors in your life but it may be possible to change your perspective by learning stress management skills or working with a professional such as a cognitive behavior therapist. Relationship stress is also a common cause for low libido. Seeking the help of a couple’s therapist may facilitate better communication leading to a better sex life.


Fatigue is another sex drive buster. After working long hours or caring for and running around with your children, sex is probably the last thing on your mind. There are many causes for fatigue. Your best bet is to check in with your doctor to evaluate your sleep patterns and quality, to check your B12, iron and thyroid levels to ensure that these common causes of fatigue, are not creating the issue.


Major depressive disorder is a common and debilitating mood disorder that can put a damper on your sex drive. Depression can affect your emotions, physical well-being and your desire to participate in the activities in life that bring your joy; this includes sex. When you consult with your healthcare professional, be sure to mention that you are experiencing low libido as many medications that treat depression can decrease sexual desire as an unfortunate side effect. If you have mild to moderate depression, you may benefit from St. John’s Wort, an herb that treats depression without blocking your sexual desire. Speak to your health care provider to determine if this is an option for you.

Nutrition and Alcohol

A healthy and balanced nutritional intake is important for a healthy sex drive. Poor nutritional intake can also account for a loss in sexual desire. If your diet is high in saturated fats, trans fats and refined carbohydrates, these foods can impede blood flow to your pelvic floor and genitalia. Poor blood flow can lead to sexual dysfunction and reduced sexual desire. While having some alcohol may help to get you into the mood for sex, too much alcohol can lead to sexual dysfunction such as impotence. If you believe you may be drinking too much, seek the help of your doctor.


During menopause estrogen levels drastically drop which can wreak havoc on your libido. For some women this is not an issue as they continue to enjoy a healthy sex drive during the menopausal years and beyond. However, for some women, the lack of estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness which means uncomfortable and even painful vaginal intercourse. Hormone contraceptives such as the birth control pill are effective at preventing conception but reduce libido in many women. For men, as testosterone levels naturally decline with age, there can be a diminished desire for sex. Speak to your health care professional about natural lubrication, alternatives to the birth control pill and hormone replacement therapy to help rectify this issue.

Sexual activity is an important part of the human connection. Therefore, when you experience a low libido it can take a toll on your relationships and your ability to connect with your significant other. There are many factors that can affect your libido and exploring your concerns with your healthcare provider may help you to regain your sex life.

About the Author

Dr. Olivia Rose graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences and in 2006, she graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Rose is the director of Fertility Acupuncture Services, a mobile service that brings acupuncture to couples undergoing in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination at Toronto fertility clinics. Her special areas of interest include infertility; children and teen health; stress management; weight loss; heart disease; digestive and immune health; skin rejuvenation and pain management. She is a birth doula and has additional training in cosmetic acupuncture and needle-less therapies for skin rejuvenation and joint pain.

Dr. Rose is a sought-after lecturer for community organizations; a freelance writer and mentor to new graduates. She has been interviewed by various media outlets including Global Toronto’s, “The Morning Show”, “News at Noon” and “News Hour”. In her free time, she unplugs at the spa and she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, son and tea-cup Yorkie. For more information on Dr. Rose's practice and special events, please visit - www.oroseND.com