Stress has just been overwhelmingly voted the most significant reason for low sex drive, ahead of physical health and mental health issues.
And to us the results of the BBC Five Live online survey make sense. Taking work stress home with you is a particularly common scenario – whether it be difficult bosses, working very late, or just a bad day at the office. (Thanks Sharon from accounts, you’ve ruined our wedding anniversary…)
Clearly people know how damaging stress and anxiety can be to their sex drives, but even a surfer dude on a sedative can struggle in the sack. Here we take a look at some of the other causes you may not have thought to blame for a slow and static sex life.
Many of us know what happens when a guy tries to get his groove after one too many whiskey sours. Most men have had this problem – unless they’re teetotal, celibate or lying.
But the coital consequences of alcohol go beyond the heat of the moment. Too much booze over an extended period can leave men at risk of impotence, and damage a woman’s fertility.
We know that Becky’s Instagram isn’t going to stalk itself, but it might be a good idea to pause the scrolling at least until you’ve finished fornicating. It is well known that the light from phone screens inhibits sleep, but the ability to take the entire internet to bed with you can interrupt the onset of sexual desire.
Employ a no-phones rule between the sheets, and you may see a marked improvement in all your bed-based activities.
Dehydration harms your sex drive the same way it harms everything else – by blessing you with headaches, fatigue and dizziness. If that weren’t enough to put you off your game, it can also cause would-be lovers to suffer from dryness. That’s not good, wherever it is afflicting.
Even among food groups, high-vitamin foods like fish and green vegetables don’t scream ‘sexy’. But vitamin E – reportedly known as “the sex vitamin” – is known to help fire sexual desire, while deficiencies in vitamin A may affect the body’s levels of testosterone.
The effects are mild – eating spinach will not transform you overnight into a hybrid of Casanova and Popeye – but a vitamin-heavy meal is the perfect preparation for some after-dinner entertainment.
Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnoea – a common breathing condition in which the body fails to properly regulate nighttime breathing. First and foremost this can decrease your oxygen levels (go and see a doctor!), but it can also deplete your testosterone and with it your sex drive.
Further problems may stem from the fact that snoring is really, really annoying. The snorer sleeps soundly while ruining their partner’s shuteye – one of many little ways in which life just isn’t fair.
If you’re a parent, you’ll know that a crying or probably-soon-to-be-crying infant is no aphrodisiac – and that’s just one of many aspects of having children that can affect a relationship.
There are the traumas of childbirth, broken nights and complex emotions for new parents to deal with, on top of the unrelenting exhaustion. The key is honest communication, understanding – and a few months of realistic (ie. lowered) expectations.
Even if you get all of this right – you’ve loaded up on lettuce, left your phone at work and locked your children in the cellar – you can still inadvertently sabotage your sex life. Large parts of the libido exist entirely in the mind. If you’re still feeling nervous, worried about your levels of desire, or just over-analysing, then it becomes impossible to live in the moment.
- Press Association