Sex used to be so simple (if you don't count birth control, STDs, and unplanned pregnancy). But as life gets more complicated, so does your sex drive. Whereas once you were ready to go at the drop of a hat (or pants, as the case may be), there are a number of emotional, physical, and psychological concerns that can easily dampen your drive. We talked to a handful of experts and compiled this list of the biggest libido busters. Find out if one is, ahem, coming between you and the sex life you deserve.
Lack of sleep can cause your sex drive to take a nosedive. 1. Six hours of sleep: We are a nation of chronically sleep-deprived adults. This is not only affecting our looks, health, and ability to deal with everyday stressors, it's also killing our sex drive. According to Dr. Robert D. Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, MO, chronic sleep deprivation, which can occur even if you get a solid six hours a night (the majority of adults need a at least seven), can lower levels of testosterone-the sex drive hormone-in both men and women.
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Snoring can cause sleep apnea. 2. Snoring: Chronic snoring not only interrupts the snorer's sleep, but also the person sleeping beside them. Suffering from sleep apnea, a condition that causes abnormal breathing throughout the night, can also result in chronic sleep deprivation, which not only affects sex drive but can also increases appetite, leading to weight gain, Dr. Oexman says.
Depression can weaken your sex drive.3. A chronically blue mood: Depression is a common cause of poor sex drive and, in classic chicken and egg fashion, is often a reason for poor sleep quality. Not to mention that it can cause weight gain, leading to other libido-dampening medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, Dr. Oexman says.
A not-so-healthy heart can affect your sex drive.4. A not-so-healthy heart: As any red-blooded male knows all too well, the penis is full of veins, and, according to Cully Carson, MD, a Rhodes distinguished professor of Urology at the University of North Carolina, one of the first things doctors check for when a patient complains of erectile dysfunction (ED) is underlying vascular disease or heart problems.
If your arteries aren't up to snuff, it can inhibit blood flow to the genital area, resulting in weak erections. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can also cause ED.
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Your medicine cabinet 5. Your medicine cabinet: Ironically, some of the drugs used to treat the conditions that decrease sex drive (the SSRI family of depression medications, some high blood pressure meds) can dampen it on their own.
"Any drug that affects the central nervous system can impact sex drive," Dr. Carson says.