The libido, or sex drive, is a natural desire for sex. Sexual appetite can be influenced by factors such as health, mood, and emotional connection with your partner.
Desire is a precondition for consensual sex. Sexual intimacy occurs when both partners are emotionally and physically available, and willing to participate. Reaffirming positive associations with your partner is important for both emotional and sexual wellbeing. Affectionate behaviours such as hugging or kissing release a cocktail of chemicals that promote further affectionate behaviour. Likewise, sexual intimacy increases the desire for further sexual intimacy.
There are a number of common problems that affect sex drive and intimacy, such as performance anxiety, low self-esteem, unrealistic expectations and miscommunication between partners—sitting down and having an honest sex chat with your partner can go a long way towards improving your relationship in bed.
Your lifestyle has a big impact on hormone function, which impacts your libido. A healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, and stress management are all important when it comes to sex drive.
Sociological surveys and studies show that libido naturally declines over time. This process often begins earlier for women than for men, since the decrease in sex hormones happens in different ways and at a different pace for each gender.
Low libido isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some people deliberately suppress their desire for spiritual or religious reasons. Others identify as asexual—they may experience romantic attraction, but not sexual desire. How you treat your sex drive is up to you.
What are the four stages of arousal? How can pornography shape our expectations about sex? Is this a bad thing? Read more about the libido here.