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Enflammer l'intimité : 5 façons de soutenir un partenaire ayant une faible libido

Just because you’ve got an immense amount of common interests or similarities with your partner does not mean that you’ll be sexually in sync all of the time.  

And truthfully, it’s quite presumptuous to assume that both you and your partner have (or will continue to have) matching libidos all of the time.  

This is because one’s libido can change from minute to minute, hour to hour, or even year by year. And it can change for a number of different reasons too. Some could be within our control, others not so much. 

So today, we’re going to be talking to those whose partners have a low libido. More specifically, we’ll be discussing this topic from a mental health standpoint.  

Oftentimes, one’s mental health is overlooked or not taken as seriously as it should be. But there are many ways that mental health, and the treatment thereof, can increase or decrease one’s libido.  

So readers, are you ready to support your partner?  As they say: team work makes the dream work! So let’s get cracking. 

In this article we’ll uncover things such as:  

What may cause a low libido 

How a low libido could affect a relationship 

How to support a partner with a low libido 

But first, the basics… 

What is a libido? 

Libido, sometimes called a “sex drive” is a term used to describe sexual drive or a desire for sexual activity. Libido varies from person to person, and there is no such thing as a “normal” libido. 

 

 

But just because libido involves sexual drive and desire does not mean that it is purely physical and sexual.  

For example, The World Health Organization (WHO) defines santé sexuelle comme “a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality”. 

In essence, sexual desire and libido can be influenced by various factors, be it physical, sexual, mental, emotional or other. 

So, what may cause a low libido? 

If you feel as though your partner has a low libido, it is a good idea to find out what the underlying cause is.

 

Erosscia talked to Debra Shade Board Certified Sexologist & Master Sexpert ABS ACS about some of the most common causes of a low libido …

Medications 

There are a handful of medications, especially antidepressants, anxiety medications and beta-blockers that could have a negative effect on one’s libido. This is because, if a medication is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), it releases serotonin to help the user feel less depressed or anxious. In doing this however it could prevent the hormones that cause one’s body to respond to sex from transmitting their message to the brain. 

Alcohol and drug use 

When one consumes large amounts of alcohol, it can reduce levels of testosterone in penis owners which may lead to (temporary) low libido or erectile dysfunction. Illegal drugs too can play a part in a lower sex drive, despite some of them giving one an increased libido in the short term. In the long-term drug use can have a negative effect, even changing the way in which the brain responds to pleasure. Either way, abuse of alcohol and drugs is often a mental health crisis that has a negative effect on libido (among many other things). 

Aging  

As individuals age, they may start to internalize the stigma and stereotyping of ageism in their everyday life. As Rowena G Gomez, PhD, with a background in aging and neuropsychology, says: “Self-directed ageism is when you have those negative attitudes about yourself. So believing ‘there is no way I’m going to get promoted because I’m too old to get promoted, or ‘there’s no way I can learn the piano because I am too old to learn music’”. With this negative kind of thinking, one may easily feel bad about themselves which can affect the way they think others view them and their ability to be desired, possibly resulting in a lower libido. 

Life stressors and fatigue 

From little things such as reaching a deadline to bigger things like being a single mom of three, life stress and fatigue can be a big cause of a low libido. A lack of sleep plays a huge role in one’s level of sexual desire, and when there’s preoccupation and stress, it may just trump everything else that’s going on, including sex. 

Relationship issues 

For many people emotional closeness is essential for sexual intimacy. So when there are problems in the relationship that result in less or no emotional closeness, it may lead to a lower sex drive. Be it a small fight or something deeper such a lack of trust, unresolved conflict or a lack of connection, it can greatly affect how one experiences sexual desire. 

Previous trauma 

For those who’ve experienced a form of abuse, sexual intimacy can be difficult. In fact, one might not experience sexual desire at all, and others may have negative attitudes towards it, such as fear or pain. For that reason, some may avoid sexual contact completely or they may have numbed themselves and find no pleasure in intimacy at all.  

How could a low libido affect your relationship? 

If your partner has a low libido, it can be difficult for both of you, creating an unpleasant relationship dynamic.  

 

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For example: you may be feeling rejected by your partner because you have a higher sex drive than they do. Perhaps you’re having feelings of low self-esteem or even resentment towards your partner, as if they do not desire you. This is very often not the case however. 

And for your partner, they may be feeling guilty, overwhelmed and pressured to satisfy you when they really do not feel any sex drive at all. 

This could then overflow into other aspects of your relationship, creating even more tension and negativity. 

There are however ways that you can support your partner with a low libido as a means to work through your issues together and come out stronger… 

 

How to support your partner with a low libido 

Professional advice aside (which is definitely an option, but something we cannot offer here), here are five ways that you can support your partner with a low libido: 

#1: Communicate

While talking about sex can be a sensitive subject, it is sometimes essential for the health of your relationship. In the case of your partner having a low libido, it may be hard to address the topic, but communicating whilst being comfortable and non-judgmental with each other is a great way to create a safe space. During your conversation, try to be respectful and allow time for both of you to discuss your feelings, desires, insecurities, and possible reasons for their low libido. Additionally, even if you find it difficult to understand what your partner is going through, try to show empathy for them in the form of validation and listening, and try to avoid being critical or defensive.  

#2: Try not to take things personally

If your partner shuts you down when you mention their low libido, it may be because they are feeling embarrassed, ashamed or anxious about the situation. But remember that your feelings are valid too. It’s normal for you to feel slightly rejected or undesirable if your partner has a low sex drive but at the end of the day, try not to take it personally because invariably it is not you that is the problem. If your partner doesn’t want to talk about the issue, for the greater good of your relationship, it’s best for you to support them by taking charge. Acknowledge that both of you need to take ownership of what’s going on and both of you need to work together as a couple to address the problem. Perhaps couples counseling is something you could suggest as a means to bring the issue to light to strengthen the relationship rather than hurt it. 

#3: Redefine sex & make compromises!

Society has led many of us to believe that sex equals penetration. But actually, there are so many other ways that partners can enjoy sex and intimacy. Perhaps redefining sex and what it means to you and your partner will take a lot of the pressure off and allow for both of you to compromise with your mismatched libidos. By compromising we mean engaging in other sexual acts such as oral sex, manual stimulation or using sex toys on each other. Alternatively, you could engage in activities that bring on feelings of comfort and desire, like cuddling in bed or simply holding hands whilst watching a movie. Interesting fact: a 2020 study showed that couples who were going through mismatched libidos used masturbation as their most common strategy. 

#4: If your partner doesn’t know why they have a low libido… 

…but they acknowledge its existence, one way to support them would be to suggest visiting a family doctor or having a physical exam. This is because perhaps they have an underlying health condition that is causing a low sex drive or they could be on medication with side effects such as a low libido (like antidepressants, mentioned earlier).  

#5: If your partner does know why they have a low libido…

…then working together to help solve any issues or make small changes to minimize what’s causing their low sex drive could be the perfect solution. For example, it could be that their work is causing them a lot of mental stress which, in turn, is causing them to feel little to no sex drive. Brainstorming together with compassion to make (small) changes could make a big difference. Additionally, if it is a larger issue such as depression, seeking professional help is a great idea, and you can support them all of the way. Of course talking to your partner with an open mind, empathy and understanding is key. 

Passion Rekindled: Nurturing Desire in a Low Libido Relationship

It may bring you comfort to know that having a low libido is not something to be ashamed about and that many people around the world have experienced a low libido at one time or another.  

Also, having a low libido could just be a temporary issue because of certain circumstances.  

The most important thing is to have understanding and empathy as you support your partner, communicate, make compromises, and hold a safe space for them without judgment. 

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