We are so glad that you asked us this question! There are lots of reasons behind lower levels of libido (sexual desire), some physiological and others related to more core identity. It helps to first consider whether your feelings of low libido are new, or if you have felt this way for a long time. Either way, we promise it’s not a bad thing.
First, it’s perfectly normal for our libidos to rise and fall at different times in our lives. If you previously identified as a person with a stronger sex drive, and aren’t feeling that way anymore, it can help to consider if you’re taking any new medications. Most prescription antidepressants and some anxiety medications are classified as “SSRIs,” or “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.” These medications increase the levels of serotonin in the body, which can be wonderful for improving mental health but may also decrease sex drive. In addition, certain types of hormonal birth control can lower the amount of testosterone in your body, which may affect libido (people of all genders have testosterone!). Finally, emotional factors like stress and physical ones like vaginal dryness may affect desire, too. Check in with your health care provider (HCP) if any of these sentences ring a bell – there are lots of ways to maintain a healthy, joyful sex life while taking care of your reproductive and mental health!
But what if you’ve never felt any sexual desire, and having sex just doesn’t feel like who you are? Some people find that the term asexuality, the “A” on the “LGBTQIA+” acronym of queer identity, helps them to describe their feelings and find community in our often-sexualized world. People who identify on the asexual (“ace”) spectrum generally don’t experience sexual attraction. Asexuality is different from celibacy or sexual abstinence – some people on the ace spectrum choose to have sex occasionally, while others never do.
It’s important to remember that there are many ways to be intimate, loving, and close to other people other than having sex. Individuals on the ace spectrum may or may not experience romantic attraction (the desire for shared affection, quality time, affirmation, and shared responsibility), aesthetic attraction (an appreciation for how someone looks), and sensual attraction (maybe you love cuddling, hugging, and kissing, but sex is not for you!). People who identify as asexual may experience these types of attraction with people of specific genders and presentations – for example, you can be asexual and biromantic, or asexual and heteroromantic.
We hope this helps! If any of these terms feel confusing or overwhelming, remember that there is never any pressure to define who you are, and you can always reach out to your health care provider with questions.