Low libido (low sex drive) is a decrease in sexual desire. It’s common and can be temporary or long-term. Libido naturally varies from person to person and can fluctuate throughout your life. But it’s important to see a healthcare provider if a dip in your libido is causing you distress.
Low libido (low sex drive) is a decrease in the frequency and/or intensity of sexual desire that you once had. It can be temporary or long-term.
Libido is your overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity, which includes sex with a partner and masturbation. Libido is complex and is influenced by biological, psychological and social factors. Biologically, sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and oxytocin) regulate libido.
Libido naturally varies significantly from person to person. Your sex drive can also change throughout your life. There’s no right or wrong level of libido. Some people have sex or feel like having sex every day, while others may feel like having sex a few times a year or not at all. The “right” or “normal” libido for you depends on your preferences and life circumstances.
However, if a decrease in libido is causing you distress, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider or mental health professional.
Several conditions and situations can lead to low libido, including:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Low libido (low sex drive) is common. It affects up to 1 in 5 men or people assigned male at birth (AMAB) and even more women or people assigned female at birth (AFAB) at some point in their lives. It’s also common to experience a drop in sex drive more than once during your life.
The main symptom of low libido is a decrease in sexual desire compared to your regular interest in sex.
Other symptoms include:
Several biological, psychological and social factors can lead to low libido.
Health conditions that can lead to a decrease in sex drive in anyone include, but aren’t limited to:
Psychological and social factors that can lead to a decrease in sex drive in anyone include:
Other causes of low libido include:
There are also several conditions and situations that affect libido that specifically apply to people assigned female at birth or people assigned male at birth.
Medical conditions that can lead to a decrease in sexual desire in women or people AFAB include:
Certain types of hormonal birth control (contraception) can also lead to a decrease in sex drive, including:
Medical conditions that can lead to a decrease in sexual desire in men or people AMAB include:
Since a decrease in sex drive has several possible causes, a healthcare provider will ask questions about your:
If they suspect that a physical condition may be the cause of a lowered libido, they may perform or order the following tests to help determine the cause:
The treatment for low libido (low sex drive) depends on the cause. Several treatment options are available.
Depending on the cause, it may be most beneficial to see one or more of the following medical specialists:
Types of treatment for low libido include:
If a decrease in libido is causing you distress, talk to a healthcare provider or mental health professional.
Some things you can do to try to get back to your normal libido include:
If you’re experiencing personal distress or issues in your relationship due to a decrease in libido, talk to a healthcare provider or mental health professional.
They can recommend some lifestyle changes and relationship strategies that may help. If an underlying medical condition is the culprit, they can provide medication.
If you’re worried about the effect of a medication on your sex drive, talk to your provider about changing the medication or trying alternative options.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can feel awkward or uncomfortable to talk to a medical professional about your sex life. Know that sex is a natural — and often important — part of your life and health. If you’re concerned about your sex drive, talk to a healthcare provider or mental health specialist. They’re available to help you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/26/2023.
Learn more about our editorial process.