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Illustration by Marta Pucci

What is Low Libido?

Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Katherine Hertlein,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
Last updated:
Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Laura Vowels,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
Last updated:

If thinking about sex has ever made you feel anxious, frustrated, like you might not be good enough or not attractive… or even like you’d rather just have a cup of tea – you’re not the only one. Most people will experience some kind of sexual problem in their lifetime. When you’re experiencing low sexual desire things can feel really difficult; it affects your wellbeing, your feeling about yourself, and how you approach relationships. 

Why is it making me feel so down? 

Sex and love can be our greatest source of happiness but also our greatest source of sadness. When a couple is happy with their sex life it contributes up to 20% of their overall relationship satisfaction. When it’s going badly, it has a whopping effect of up to 70%. Hopefully, this puts it into perspective and helps you to understand why something that feels like it shouldn’t matter...really matters. 

Your problem is actually something else

Low libido, low sex drive, low desire can make you feel, well low. It has many nicknames but whatever you like to call it, you might be thinking of it in the wrong way.

The first thing you need to know: there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ libido.  It just doesn’t exist. 

You’re here because the sex you and your partner want doesn’t match up, and it’s affecting your relationship. And that problem isn’t you having low libido. The problem isn’t you at all. It’s a relationship problem called Sexual Desire Discrepancy. Unglamorous wording aside, this is something that is incredibly common, and incredibly never talked about. So, let’s explore how libido differences can affect relationships, and what therapy might be able do to help.

So, is it in your head, your body, or both?

Many biological factors such as your general health, age, sleep habits, menopause, stress and giving birth can create libido issues. This often leads us to try to only take care of the biological issues (you start to eat right, sleep better etc) and find it hasn’t had the effect we wanted. This is why when you feel like you’ve tried everything, it’s still here, you need to take care of what’s going on upstairs. 

Differing sex drives can put a huge strain on a relationship 

Often, the partner with the lower drive loves their partner and just wants to have those sexual feelings, but their body just isn’t responding. However much you might try, your body just won’t match up with your head, and your heart. This can make you feel like something is wrong with you, and you don’t know why or how to overcome it. 

This can put you in a fearful and isolated place where you love your partner and you might be really scared of losing the relationship - but have absolutely no idea what steps to take to regain your sexual feelings. 

How the other person feels 

In all of this, the partner initiating sex, might also feel at a loss of what to do. Being rejected for sex by someone you love can hurt and make you feel like maybe you’re not attracted to them anymore or have fallen out of love. Which you might know to be untrue, but it’s very easy for you both to get into mind-reading mode, assuming the other person’s thoughts. Even though it’s highly unlikely you own a crystal ball for sex thoughts - if you do please get in touch we’d love to speak to you, and the ball. 

And the more this happens the worse it can feel, for both of you. It can cause a lot of pain in your relationship, and go on for months or years. You might both be scared, and confused and you might both feel isolated. 

Signs to look out for

This can make you act in unhealthy ways. There are two reactions for most people in these situations:

The first is avoidance: 

See how many of these you may have noticed in your relationship. 

  • One of you races the other to bed so there’s less chance of them initiating sex. 
  • Pretending to be asleep
  • You might avoid any type of intimacy: kisses, hugs, a touch of hands, for fear it’ll be seen as an invitation for sex. 
  • Some people avoid their issues around sex by saying they’re too tired, or the tired and most unfunny TV trope of “sorry darling I have a headache.” Note: People are sometimes tired and have headaches. 
  • Or you might just leave the room, turn on the TV, look at your phone or act busy doing chores instead. 
  • Think about when sex comes up in conversation. Do you change the subject when it comes up or perhaps it turns into an argument, distracting from the real conversation?
  • Or never talk about sex at all.

The second is: acquiescing

  • A way many people deal with it is to force themselves to have sex when it doesn’t feel right, to please their partner, when it’s not a full yes from their heart and head, which can cause physical pain and serious stress. 

In both situations, anxious, fearful thoughts about ourselves, our partner and our relationship start to multiply, and these increase with each sexual experience.

It’s a lot of pressure

Imagine if every time one of these negative experiences happened in your relationship, I gave you a new elastic band to add to your ball. The more bad experiences you have, the heavier and bigger it becomes, and it gets harder and harder for you to see one band without the others along with it. 

So a single experience feels bigger than that one moment. You feel all of them summed up together. And it can get to a point where the load is too much to bear, and it takes a toll.

Therapy is here to alleviate that pressure. 

If your emotions and relationship sound a lot like what you’ve read here, rest assured, so many couples struggle with this. This is what low libido looks like. The good news is that there are proven and effective methods that offer you clear-cut next steps to tackle this problem. 

How Blueheart Helps in a Nutshell

The thoughts that flood your mind when a sexual encounter occurs are what’s hindering your sexual desire. Whether those thoughts are about discomfort with sex, discomfort with your body, stress or relationship issues. This is the root of the problem and the exercises you’ll do with Blueheart are designed to train you to clear away those thoughts gradually and focus on the sensations you feel. As this becomes easier with practice, your libido and sexual desire will increase naturally.

Is now the right time for me? 

It’s easy to put off getting help until ‘after this stressful period of work is over’ or ‘when the kids are a little bit older.’ But the truth is, there’ll always be something to help us procrastinate the difficult things, as we know from our never-used craft kits and orchestra of musical instruments in the attic. The trick is to take it one step at a time. Just reading this now is a massive step, you’ve acknowledged you want a change, and you’re doing something proactive to help the situation. So well done. 

So low libido, now you know. Let’s keep learning and growing to kick its butt out of here. 

If you feel ready to get back in touch with sex again, check out how with the Blueheart app here.

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