Is my libido normal?
Let’s get one thing straight – there is no ‘normal’ when it comes to libido.
Your libido – like you – is unique and can change throughout your life. Your libido can be affected by many things and can be different with different partners. To find out more, we’re talking about sex drive with Laura Dowling*, a pharmacist and sexual health educator. We also asked some of our followers about their experiences for an insight into their sex drives.
What is libido?
Quite simply, your libido – or your sex drive – is your desire to have sex. A low libido refers to a low desire to have sex, while a high libido is a high desire for sex.
Loads of things in your life could potentially affect your sex drive, including stress, sleep, diet and medication.
What might have an effect on your libido?
All libidos are unique. Your libido is going to be different to your best friend’s, your grandma’s or your favourite celebrity’s, so there is very little point or benefit in drawing comparisons. Your libido can also change throughout your life.
Being at different ages and stages of your life will mean you experience different hormonal balances, which can also affect your desire to have sex. This is certainly something we found to be true when speaking to Tomi, Claire and Ash, who helped us out by answering some questions about their sex drives.
“My sex drive changes throughout the month,” says Ash, 34. “Sometimes my girlfriend and I will have sex three times a week, and then not again for another three weeks. We both understand that our bodies are constantly changing and it’s important to listen to them.”
Having a lower libido or little interest in sex isn’t a problem unless the person experiencing it sees it as a problem. There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to libido – some people like doing it multiple times a day, some a few times a week, some are happy with a few times a month or year – and some people don’t want to have sex at all. You may also experience different levels of libido at different times in your life and with different people.
“I thought I had a high sex drive in my twenties,” says Claire. “It then dipped in my thirties and shot back up again in my forties. I’m now 49 and I can’t get enough!”
Your sex drive can be impacted by a myriad of different things, from biological and physiological factors to psychological ones, such as stress and anxiety. Loss of libido is a common problem that affects most women and people with uteruses at some point in their life.
It’s super important to consider factors like how much sleep you’re getting, whether you might be stressed, any other health issues you might be tackling (either physically or mentally). Any medications you’re taking may also have an effect, as might your diet and lifestyle.
“Living a healthy lifestyle will improve your libido,” says sexual health educator Laura Dowling. “Consider how you are eating, exercising, sleeping and relieving stress. It’s also important to set aside time for intimacy with your partner – and this is so much more than sex! Above all – be open and honest with your partner about how you are feeling. Communication is key.”
What is asexuality?
Some people do not experience libido at all, whilst others may identify as an asexual person but may have some sexual desire for partnered sex and/or masturbation.
‘Asexual’ refers to a lack of sexual attraction to others, or a low interest in general sexual activity. Some people consider asexuality to be their sexual orientation, and others describe it as an absence of sexual orientation. Asexuality is a spectrum which can be used to describe a wide range of experiences. This includes (but is not limited to) greysexuality and demisexuality. Greysexuality describes people who fall somewhere between being asexual or sexual. People who identify with this may experience sexual desire sometimes. Demisexuals do not experience primary attraction (they don’t form an attraction when they first meet someone) but do experience secondary attraction (which can develop when someone has an emotional connection to a person).
“I am asexual,” says Tomi, 22. “Most people assume that means that I don’t have a libido, but that isn’t true. I do have a sex drive – and that doesn’t have to mean I want to have sex with anyone.”.
Some people also identify as aromantic, which means they develop little or no romantic feelings for other people. Aromantic people may or may not also identify as asexual, and again this is a broad spectrum which includes a lot of different people with different experiences.People who identify as somewhere on the asexuality spectrum may or may not experience romantic attraction, may or may not have sex, and may or may not enjoy masturbation. You can find out more about asexuality and aromanticism here.
What is Hana®?
In case you didn’t already know, Hana® is a progestogen-only contraceptive pill (also called the PoP or mini pill) that you take at the same time every day, without breaks. When used correctly Hana® is over 99% effective. Hana® is generally well-tolerated, but like all medications, people may experience side effects, which can often include change or loss of libido.