Libido: Mismatched Sexual Desires
The desire for sex (libido) is complex and influenced by psychological, biological, relationship and cultural factors.
To have the motivation to be sexual, a person needs:
- Drive – the biological component of sex drive (libido) dependent on well functioning ‘neuroendocrine’ (the connection of hormonal and nerve pathways) and anatomical systems.
- Motivation – the psychological component of sex drive – including mood (affected by stress and psychological issues), the state of the interpersonal relationship with the partner and the general social context.
- Wish – the cultural component – The cultural beliefs, values, rules and ideals about sexual expression that influence the individual.
(Levine, S.B., 2003)
The DRIVE and MOTIVATION components of sexual desire can be adversely affected by:
- Any significant psychological issue (e.g. depression)
- Conditions affecting the hormonal pathways that support libido (e.g. conditions that lead to low testosterone levels, an under active thyroid or high levels of prolactin)
- Many chronic illnesses
- Many medications and recreational drugs
- Lifestyle factors and the common stresses of everyday life, such as large workloads, long working hours, family needs/pressures, technology intrusions (mobile phones, computers, social media, TV) can all influence sexual desire.
The relationship of a couple will inevitably evolve over time.
Interests, beliefs and expectations regarding intimacy and sex can change for each in the relationship. As time goes by there is a challenge for a couple to keep the interest in sex alive. Some couples slip into a ‘rut’ of sexual styles or behaviours that can soon become predictable and boring. Even finding time together can be an issue when life becomes busy, when childrens’ needs take priority or when couples forget to invest time in their relationship in favour of individual or family pursuits.
Is a lack or mismatch of sexual desire affecting your relationship?
Sex therapy can be a way to address some of these issues. Please feel welcome to meet with me so that I can assess your particular case and work with you and your partner to find solutions to support you both and the needs of your relationship.
For more on desire concerns see here.
Levine, SB The Nature of Sexual Desire: A clinician’s perspective’
Archives of Sexual Behaviour – 2003; 32: 279-85.