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HEALTHCARE

Have You Fallen Off the Libido Cliff?

How to have a “healthy” conversation with your partner.

Mia West
September 5, 2023
Medically-reviewed and fact checked by Ryan Lester, PA-C

Have you ever felt like your sex drive has taken a nosedive? You're simply not interested in sex anymore, no matter how much you love and are attracted to your partner? If so, you're not alone. Most people experience a loss of libido at some point in their lives.

Diminished sexual interest can be a major source of tension and conflict in a relationship which is evident from recent research that discovered 74.2% of sexless marriages end in divorce. If one partner is still interested in sex and the other isn't, it can lead to feelings of rejection, resentment, and frustration. Albeit a difficult and embarrassing experience, it's important to remember that it's not the end of the world. There are things you can do to address the issue and get your sex drive back on track. 

The Libido Cliff

The Libido Cliff is a term coined by Wellcore to describe a sudden and significant decrease in sexual desire. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or relationship status and can be attributed to medical conditions like diabetes, medications, stress, and lifestyle factors such as poor diet, excessive alcohol and lack of sleep. In many cases, it can also be a sign of hormonal imbalances.

Menopause Strikes Again

According to a Wellcore survey, women on average began noticing a decline in libido at age 40, which is when menopausal symptoms can begin appearing. As women go through menopause, their bodies experience a number of changes, including declining estrogen and testosterone levels. These changes can lead to a variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and decreased sexual desire. 

A 2022 poll of divorced or currently separated U.K. women found that 70% blamed the end of their relationship on menopause symptoms with the majority saying their marriage could have been saved with better menopause treatments. Similarly, Wellcore’s survey explored how menopause-related libido loss affected intimate relationships. Nearly half of respondents shared that their lack of interest in sex had a negative impact on a relationship, with a quarter saying partners expressed frustration with the situation, and a third experiencing guilt as a result. Other common menopausal symptoms also contributed to reduced sexual interest - 39% revealed their physical changes impacted confidence and subsequently their libido, while a third blamed sleep issues for their lack of desire.

Mood Killer

It’s important to mention that men are not immune to the Libido Cliff. Studies show that average testosterone levels in men have alarmingly been in a consistent decline for several decades. And, while low testosterone can be at the root of low libido, it can also cause fatigue, mood swings, concentration issues, depression and increase body fat. All of which can significantly impact interest in sex just as menopausal weight gain and sleep disruptions affect desire for women. 

Conversation Starters

It's important to talk to your partner about your changing libido. This can be a difficult conversation, but it's essential to open up communication and address the issue head-on. 

Cindy Stefanko, Nurse Practitioner and Wellcore Hormone Optimization Clinical Group Advisor, believes it’s important to collaborate with your partner to find a solution and create an ongoing health-centric dialogue outside of what’s happening in the bedroom. According to Stefanko, a couple that is familiar with each other’s baseline health and takes action together can bring restorative energy to their relationship. To help couples open up dialogue she offers these helpful guidelines:

  • Choose a time when you're both relaxed and have plenty of time to talk.
  • Create an environment that is safe, compassionate and non-judgmental.
  • Start by telling your partner how you're feeling. Be honest and open about your decreased sexual desire.
  • Explain why you think your libido has changed. This could be due to menopause, low testosterone, stress, or other factors.
  • Ask your partner how they're feeling about your changing libido. Be willing to listen to their perspective.
  • Talk about what you can do to address the issue together such as speaking to a doctor, getting the right diagnosis and evaluating treatment options.
  • If hormonal imbalances are the cause, educate yourselves on how hormones impact energy, metabolism, cardiac health, mood and focus, strength and performance. This fosters an understanding of what a person is going through and how to support them.

Learning about your body's changes together and working towards a shared goal of health leads to stronger communication and shared success. However, if you're struggling to talk to your partner about your Libido Cliff, you may want to consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you and your partner communicate more effectively and develop strategies for addressing the issue.

Not A Laughing Matter

Do you recall the Reddit post that went viral of a husband’s spreadsheet detailing his wife’s excuses for not having sex? While it is human nature to make light of things that are actually quite painful, sexual health and physical intimacy in a relationship isn’t a laughing matter. By talking to your partner and working together, you can overcome this obstacle, rebuild your sexual relationship and strengthen your bond. And hopefully, as men and women become more aware of treatment options like hormone replacement therapy, the Libido Cliff will become something that brings couples closer together rather than tearing them apart.

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About the Author

Mia West

A former journalist, Mia brings a high energy approach to communications rooted in insights, culture and brand DNA. She is driven by helping brands crystalize their story and foster meaningful, emotional connections with audiences. Over the years she has collaborated with prominent brands such as Petco, Keurig Dr Pepper, Jaguar Land Rover, Revlon, and Procter & Gamble Beauty, as well as many others in the retail, health & wellness, beauty, lifestyle, and sustainability realms. A California native, she lives in San Diego with her family at the beach.

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