What's Killing Your Sex Drive?

If you're feeling apathetic and disinterested in intimacy with your partner these days, the first person to call is your doctor. A variety of prescription medications as well as even small illnesses can kill off sexual desire—and once it happens, you can start to lose confidence in the bedroom.

"Medical issues are often silent killers of sex drive," says Robin Kerner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and an associate clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "Relatively minor health issues and the over the counter medications used to treat them can kill sex drive."

Antidepressants are widely known to reduce sex drive, says Leslie Seppinni, Ph.D.
"A couple of these are noted for reducing sex drive in a pretty high percentage of the people taking them," she says. "Check with the doctor who prescribed the antidepressant to see if it's possible to try another one instead."

The hormonal fluctuations that come with perimenopause and menopause can be another sex drive killer. Women going through menopause frequently report a decreased sex drive, Seppinni says.

Aside from medical and hormonal issues,  poor communication with your partner, a busy lifestyle, and stress are what may be causing you to feel stressed.

"Stress is a big sex drive killer," Kerner says. "For men, it's stress over work and finances. Women's stress often tends to be centered on the home front."

A busy lifestyle with barely enough time to keep the kids, the house and the pets in working order can quickly eradicate the desire for anything else but sleep. And yet it's hard for many people to get adequate sleep.

"If you don't sleep enough, your sex drive goes down," observes Kerner. "By the time you get into bed, you're not interested in sex."

Boost Your Sex Drive Today

  • First, realize that a healthy sex life is not worth sacrificing to a busy life. Sex keeps your relationship strong, and in the long run can ensure stronger bonds between the two of you. Get checked out medically to see if there's any issue, Kerner recommends.

  • Ask your health care provider whether allergies or even depression might be causing you to feel so apathetic about sex. You can probably find the right medication to treat your allergies or your depression without sacrificing your sex drive.

  • Consider rethinking the timing of when you have sex, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results when you switch things up a little. "Many men prefer to have sex in the morning because they feel at the end of the day that they don't have enough stamina after working all day," Seppinni says. "Women tend to want to wind down with a glass of wine and ease into it at night." You might find that compromising on the time can have good results for both of you.

  • Finally, when the two of you are finally alone and considering having sex, talk about each other.  Don't get into long conversations about the kids or how hard your day was, Seppinni recommends. "Avoid talk about housework and how awful your job is," she advises. "That can be a real sex drive killer. Instead, focus the conversation on the two of you."