Your libido is also commonly referred to as your sex drive — it’s your emotional and mental desire for sex.
Your libido is individual to you and varies widely between people. What you experience as normal libido might be higher or lower than what somebody else experiences.
A number of factors influence your libido, such as:
- hormone levels
- stress levels
- changes in your sexual relationships
- your personal beliefs and attitudes toward sex
Some people worry that their libido is too high. A high libido is generally not a concern unless it’s having a negative impact on your life or relationships.
If your high libido libido is disrupting your life or results in sexual activity that feels out of your control, it may be a sign of hypersexuality or what has traditionally been referred to as sex addiction.
Read on to learn more about the specific factors that influence your sex drive and what you can do to lower it.
First, it’s important to know exactly what your libido is — it’s simply a term for your desire for sexual activity.
Once you engage in sexual activity, your body goes through arousal — physical changes to prepare for sex. Here’s what happens to your genitals during this stage:
- If you have a penis, you’ll generally experience an erection as blood flows into tissues in the penis.
- If you have a vulva, the vagina will often experience an increased production of vaginal fluids and swelling of the vulva and clitoris from increased blood flow.
Like other animals, humans need to have sex to have children. Our sex drive is deeply rooted in our biology as a way to encourage us to reproduce.
Your libido is individual to you, ranging anywhere from having no desire in sex to thinking about it frequently. But unless your sex drive is causing problems with your relationships or in your life, it’s essentially normal.
Biological, psychological, and social factors all play a role in determining your libido, including:
- Biological factors such as your levels of testosterone or estrogen, overall health, and presence of illness.
- Psychological factors such as stress, presence of mental conditions like depression, and your self-esteem.
- Social factors such as the health of your current sexual relationships and the norms around your ability to act on sexual desire when you’re in a situation where you feel aroused.
Many factors can influence your libido. If you think you may have a hormone imbalance, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. Hormone tests may be able to provide insight on whether your high libido has a physical cause.
Changes in your sex hormone levels can influence your sex drive and can easily be measured with a blood test. Your doctor can also screen you for other conditions that may increase your sex drive.
If you feel that your libido is too high and having a negative impact on your life, here are a few ways you might be able to manage it.
Some research suggests that there are some dietary changes you can make that may have an effect on your libido. But many practical dietary changes you can make to lower your sex drive may compromise your overall health.
A variety of herbal remedies have been used over the years for their anaphrodisiac properties, but there’s little to no research to support the use of most of these herbs.
There’s some evidence that consuming
People with nutritional deficiencies often have low sex drives and experience
If your doctor doesn’t suspect that your high libido has a physical cause, they may recommend that you seek therapy or counseling.
Speaking with a therapist can help you uncover reasons that may be triggering your experience of high libido and help you learn techniques to manage it.
Therapy sessions can come in many forms, including one-on-one, family, or group. It’s up to you to decide what you’re most comfortable with when it comes to discussing your sex drive.
Work on your relationships
If you’re currently in a relationship but not satisfied with your sex life, you may want to discuss this with your partner to come to a mutual consensus as to how sex can be fully satisfying for both of you.
If you’re not currently in a sexual relationship but would like to be, be transparent with your potential partners about your expectation in a sexual relationship and communicate openly about what you do and don’t like.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend medications to reduce sexual urges, including:
- chemotherapy or radiation
- hormones for prostate cancer
- opioids like morphine (MorphaBond) and oxycodone (OxyContin)
- ketoconazole, an antifungal medication
- cimetidine (Tagamet), for heartburn and reflux conditions
- anabolic steroids for building muscle
If you’re currently on medication, you may want to talk to your doctor to see if your use of prescribed medications may be influencing your sex drive.
Stop illicit drug use
Quitting these types of drugs can be difficult by yourself, but there are a number of support groups and services available for you.
Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 800-662-4357 for treatment referral if you’re ready to seek help for your drug use.
Whether you’re in a long-term or casual relationship, work together with your partner to make sex fulfilling and consensual for both of you.
Here are some tips:
- Engage in a relaxing activity before sex. Doing something relaxing together beforehand like going out for a quiet dinner or giving each other massages may help you set the mood and feel more in the moment.
- Communicate your desires. Make it clear to your partner what you want so that both of you can work together to feel satisfied.
- Talk about boundaries. If there are things in the bedroom that you’re not comfortable doing, let your partner know in advance.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not sure what your partner finds pleasurable, it never hurts to ask.
- Talk to a sex therapist. A sex therapist can help you and your partner work through miscommunication or feelings of dissatisfaction in the bedroom.
A high libido isn’t an issue until it starts negatively impacting your life or relationships.
Compulsive sexual behavior, sometimes called sex addiction or hypersexuality disorder, refers to sexual behavior that disrupts your life.
Here are some signs that you may be experiencing compulsive sexual behavior:
- difficulty maintaining healthy relationships
- engaging in sexual behaviors that negatively impact your life
- excessively using sex or masturbation as an escape from stress or personal problems
- reoccurring urges or fantasies that feel beyond your control
- trying unsuccessfully to reduce your sexual urges
- financial or legal problems as well as other serious consequences that result from your sexual behavior
Some questions you can ask yourself to judge if you may have compulsive sexual behavior include:
- Do you feel unable to manage your sexual impulses?
- Are your sexual behaviors causing you distress?
- Is your sexual behavior hurting your relationships or having negative consequences?
- Are you trying to hide your sexual behavior?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to see your doctor. Your doctor can perform tests to determine if your high libido has a physical cause or if it may be psychological.
If your doctor suspects that your high libido is caused by psychological factors, they may recommend that you talk to a therapist or counselor.
You can also visit your doctor if you feel your sex drive is too low. They can help you determine whether your low sex drive is caused by physical or psychological causes.
Your libido is another name for your sex drive. Your libido is individual to you, and what’s normal for you may not be normal for somebody else.
Generally, a high libido is only a concern if it’s causing issues with your relationships or life. Talk to your partner, your doctor, or a counselor if your high libido is keeping you from having sex life you want.