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How to Treat Low Libido From Anxiety

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

How to Treat Low Libido From Anxiety

Anxiety is an overwhelming form of daily stress. Many find that living with anxiety daily causes them to experience significant sadness and discomfort in their everyday life, often leading to less enjoyment of the things that previously caused them happiness.

That's why when you have anxiety, it is not uncommon to also experience low libido. Your sex drive is directly affected by the way you feel, and anxiety is the type of condition that can make it hard to find your partner or the idea of lovemaking to be arousing.

What Causes Low Libido?

Low libido is a complicated issue, and it's rarely related to a single cause. Every day your hormones and arousal changes based on your nutrition, the amount of sleep you get, your love and attraction to your partner, and more.

A weak libido is a common problem for people that suffer from anxiety. The following are some of the reasons anxiety may reduce libido:

  • General Distress Sexual desire is a positive emotion. Anxiety is a negative emotion. It is far more difficult to experience enjoyable emotions like sexual desire when you are often sad or distressed as a result of your anxiety. Anxiety causes the mind to focus more on the negative and makes overcoming it with positive emotions more difficult.
  • Mental Distractions Similarly, anxiety often increases distraction by various anxiety-related thoughts. Those distractions make it much harder to experience the moment, so during times when you would normally experience sexual desire, your mind is elsewhere focused on other things.
  • Anxious Arousal Anxiety can also cause sexual dysfunction, often due to the way that daily anxiety can lead to performance anxiety with a partner. Some men experience premature ejaculation, while both men and women may struggle to become aroused at times.
  • Fatigue Anxiety can also cause significant fatigue, especially if you suffer from anxiety attacks which can leave the body completely drained. Anxiety may also cause poor sleeping habits. The combination can make it harder to become aroused.
  • Relationship Stress Sometimes anxiety causes low libido in secondary ways. For example, anxiety may make it harder to truly enjoy your partner's romantic advancements, which may lead to a low libido. Anxiety may also cause stress between you and your partner, which may also lead to problems with arousal. These aren't caused by anxiety directly, but anxiety is a contributing factor.
  • Hormone Alteration Both stress and anxiety also affect hormone levels. There's no way to know the exact effect this will have on the body, but some people may simply be experiencing a lower libido as a result of these hormone changes.
  • Opposite Interaction In some cases, your anxiety may actually increase simply as a result of your low libido. Many people find that losing their sexual interest decreases their life enjoyment, and that can increase anxiety and stress in a subsection of the population.

These are just a few of the many links between anxiety and libido. In some cases, the exact connection may be even more complex. The key issue to understand is that the mental and physical changes that come from dealing with regular anxiety make it difficult to find arousal and enjoyment in your partner or the idea of sexual intercourse.

How to Overcome Low Libido From Anxiety

When anxiety causes you to experience low libido, the first step is, of course, to cure your anxiety. But anxiety reduction is a long-term process, and not something that is complete overnight. In the interim, make sure you're trying all of the following:

  • Eat Healthy, Exercise, Etc.

Your general health directly affects your libido and is important for reducing anxiety. Make sure you have a healthy diet and are exercising regularly. Keeping your body in the best of health is a powerful way to improve your overall arousal levels, which are often affected by things like food, exercise, and sleep.

  • Talk Openly to Your Partner

When anxiety affects your arousal, don't try to hide it. Trying to hide it and overcome it causes further stress because you'll find that you try too hard to get aroused. Arousal is an automatic function, and not something you can force, so the more you try to force it the harder it gets. If you talk to your partner about it, you'll find that the added pressure of knowing that you're open about the problem takes some of the stress off of you.

  • Try to Make Love Anyway

Extended time away from an active sex life can put a strain on your relationship and potentially lead to more stress. If possible, try to make love anyway for fun. Talk to your partner, and don't make it a stressful event. Make it something you do to keep your sex life going and try to remember the enjoyment you experience when you do get aroused. If making love isn't physically possible, at the very least you should spend time being romantic and having fun in an intimate way to at least keep that component a part of your life.

Questions? Comments?

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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