Sexual Health FAQs: What Is Libido?

Sexual Health FAQs: What Is Libido?

We have Sigmund Freud to thank for the popularized use of the word libido. The Latin word for lust has gone on to mean many things to many people.

This question is still worth asking: What is libido?

The answer is more complicated than many think, so let’s dive into the world of sex drive and sex hormones to see what having a healthy libido is all about!

What Is Libido?

Sexual health is related but not tied to reproductive health. While the act of intercourse can lead to pregnancy, sexual health focuses on the well-being of the individuals who engage in sexual intimacy.

Libido ties into sexual health. The term generally refers to the psychological desire to have sex and the physical ability to fulfill that desire. People with strong libidos are said to have a healthy sexual appetite.

Factors That Influence Libido

While the mysterious inner workings of the mind play a role in physical attraction, there are known factors that influence one’s libido.

  • Baseline testosterone and estrogen levels
  • Stress levels
  • Infections or sexually transmitted infections
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Injuries to reproductive organs
  • History of past sexual violence

Sex drive is also culturally derived. Some cultures allow for the free and open expression of sexual desires while others may repress those expressions.

Low Libido? These May Be the Reasons Why

To enjoy the full pleasures of sexual intimacy, the mind and body must work as one — free from disruptive factors. If you or your partner are experiencing low libido, these factors may be playing a role.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes are a fact of life. Testosterone is known to play a key role in sexual arousal in men. Adult males will have unique levels of the hormone that vary by individual.

In general, testosterone levels in men begin to decline around age 40. Middle-aged men often assume that their lower sex drive is age-related. This is not always the case.

Pregnancy can lead to a higher sexual appetite in women at certain points during their pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone levels tend to rise during this period. Nausea, morning sickness, and self-image problems can just as easily leave women not feeling in the mood for intimacy.

High Blood Pressure

For men, chronic high blood pressure can damage their vascular system. Persistent levels of high blood pressure harm blood vessel walls. The results are hardening and narrowing of those vessels, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Drug Use

Prescription or recreational drugs can influence libido. Mild levels of alcohol consumption can raise libido by lowering inhibitions. High levels of alcohol consumption can lead to erectile difficulties in men.

Anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and a variety of antidepressants have side effects that can include impeded sexual arousal. Those side effects often cease when the prescription drugs are no longer used.


A good night’s sleep can do more than help you feel rested. Sleep deprivation is linked to lower sexual arousal. Long-term sleep deprivation may lead to depression. Individuals who are not well-rested are often more irritable and prone to being upset with their respective partners.

Low Self-Esteem

Individuals who are insecure about the appearance of their bodies may find sexual arousal more difficult. Unfortunately, body image problems are often culturally derived. Individual or couples therapy can often address these issues.

Tips for Boosting Your Libido

Now we’ve answered, “What is libido?” Let’s take a look at ways you can boost your sexual appetite.

Boosting libido may be as simple as visiting a website that promotes sexual health. is one popular example.

Medical Treatments

The tips for boosting libido are similar for men and women. Remember, if an underlying medical condition is the cause of loss of sexual appetite, only a medical professional can restore libido.

Effective prescription medications are available for women. Hormone therapy to restore high levels of estrogen and testosterone can also be prescribed.

Address Issues with Your Relationship

Relationship issues are a leading barrier to intimacy. By addressing long-standing disagreements and other relationship problems, couples can enjoy the benefits of sexual intimacy.

Additional Tips

The Mayo Clinic offers these additional tips.

  • Find ways to reduce stress
  • Exercise to boost blood flow and elevate your mood
  • Schedule time for intimacy with your partner
  • Ditch bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking
  • Communicate your needs and wants to your partner

Finding ways to feel good about yourself and your partner can have lasting benefits that go beyond sexual health.

There’s No One “Right” Level of Libido

Having a “high” libido is difficult to define. Everyone’s baseline of sexual appetite is different. In other words, there’s no one “healthy libido.” There is even a growing awareness and acceptance of individuals who choose to live asexual lifestyles.

What matters most is that you feel fulfilled in life and that you have a fulfilling relationship with your partner. Libido also means different things depending on age. That being said, a healthy sexual relationship can be enjoyed at any age.

Improve Your Sexual Health

While sexual intimacy is not the sole basis of inmate relationships, it often adds joy and pleasure to those partnerships. Many people regularly ask themselves, “What is libido?” It is an evolving concept that means different things to different people.

Boosting your libido often means making healthier lifestyle decisions and addressing relationship issues. Given the importance of our intimate relationships, isn’t it worth it?

To learn more about sexual health and other interesting topics, follow our regularly updated blog for the latest in news and lifestyle trends.