Couple cuddling in bed
Scientifically Reviewed
Home/Cycle Matters / Sex & Pleasure

The Low Sex Drive Guide

While it’s not often talked about, having a lower sex drive is actually pretty common and in many cases, it’s perfectly healthy! We’ve put together this quick guide to answer some common questions about low sex drive. Read on to find out some causes of low sex drive, tips for getting pregnant with low sex drive, and more…

Is it normal to have a low sex drive?

There’s a stigma surrounding the topic of sex drive, also known as libido. However, it’s perfectly normal that our desire for sex varies from person to person, and even individually it can fluctuate throughout our lifetime. 

For many people having a low sex drive is no big deal - but there are situations where it may cause stress or anxiety. You should always talk to a healthcare professional if you have questions or concerns about your own reproductive health. 

What causes low sex drive?

Low libido can be caused by many things. While our sex drives can be linked to our hormone levels, there are so many other factors at play that can affect our desire to be sexually intimate. The main sex hormones linked to libido are estrogen and testosterone. However, stress or low mood can reduce libido levels, as can certain medications. Hormonal birth control methods like the pill or the implant can also affect our desire for sex, as can different life phases.

In some cases, low sex drive can be caused by relationship problems, but just because you’re not having lots of sex doesn’t mean your relationship is on the rocks. For some of us, loads of sex might just not be top on the list of priorities and that’s OK. 

The frequency of sex logged by Natural Cycles users it’s extremely varied, while some individuals are logging sex a few times a week, others may only log it once a month or less frequently. There's no right or wrong amount to have sex, and while it may seem like everyone's doing it all the time, that's just not the case.

Trying to get pregnant with a low sex drive?

When it comes to getting pregnant, the advice is often to try to have sex every two or three days throughout the cycle. This can be a daunting prospect even for those with a high libido level, let alone for those with a lower sex drive. While this method guarantees you’ll have sex during the fertile window, this approach also means you’ll be doing the deed when there’s zero chance of getting pregnant.

In fact, you’re only fertile for six days a cycle, so if you don’t want to be having sex all the time, another approach is to find out when you’re fertile and time sex accordingly. The best time in the fertile window to have sex is either the day before or the day of ovulation. This gives sperm cells enough time to reach the egg cell before it deteriorates. If you time sex earlier, there’s a chance the sperm won’t survive in the fallopian tubes while it’s waiting for the egg cell to show up, or if you have sex too late, the egg cell won’t live long enough for the sperm to reach it.

There’s a good reason why so many doctors, nurses, and midwives recommend having regular sex throughout the cycle. This is because it can be very hard to find your fertile window and predict ovulation. At Natural Cycles, we use temperature and other fertility data to learn the pattern of your cycle in order to predict your fertile window, helping you know the best days to have sex. You can also take ovulation tests to help the algorithm get to know you even better. Our research shows that on average women who use Natural Cycles to start a family, get pregnant in three cycles or less.

What if my libido level is different from my partner’s?

How regularly you have sex is not a marker of success when it comes to a relationship. There are many factors that contribute to and strengthen a bond, and being sexually intimate is only one part of being close with someone. That said, it can be tricky if your sex drive is vastly different from your partner’s sex drive.

Whether you’re frustrated your high sex drive isn’t reciprocated, or just aren’t in the mood as much as your partner is, a mismatch in libido is a fairly common factor in relationships. While there’s no quick fix for this type of scenario, communicating clearly with your partner about how you’re feeling, is a useful starting point. 

Keep in mind that consent is important in every relationship and you should never pressure someone into having sex. Similarly, it’s not OK if your partner asks you to have sex if you don’t want it. While this may sound like a potential source of conflict, discussing your desire for sex and what does and doesn’t feel good can be a really helpful way to strengthen your relationship.

Low libido and menopause

It’s natural that as our hormone levels fluctuate throughout our lifetime our libido levels should change as well. Menopause is often associated with loss of libido as our level of hormones changes without the regulation of the menstrual cycle. There are other symptoms caused by menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats that might also decrease your desire for sex.

If low libido caused by menopause is a concern, it’s possible to get prescribed the hormone testosterone to increase libido levels. There are also psychological and behavioral treatments (such as counseling) that can offer help during menopause.

Pain during sex and low libido

If you find sex painful or uncomfortable, it can have a knock-on effect on your libido. Don’t ignore pain during sex or try to ‘push through’. If you continue to have sex when you find it unenjoyable, it can cause a negative association and can stop you from enjoying it in the future. Talk to your healthcare professional who can offer advice and treatment. 

Low sex drive and erectile dysfunction

It’s important to note there’s a difference between low libido and erectile dysfunction (ED) and low sex drive in males. A man can have a high sex drive and not be able to get an erection, or can have a low sex drive but can get physically aroused.

ED can have a knock-on effect on sex drive if there’s a lot of stress or anxiety around getting or maintaining an erection. For this reason, it’s better to take the pressure off reaching orgasm during sex and focus more on enjoying the experience. There’s more to sex than penetration after all - it can be easy to fall into the same patterns and have the same expectations from our sex lives, but it doesn't have to be this way. Getting imaginative can be a great way to spice things up, boost the libido, and take off some of the pressure. Check out our guide to non-penetrative sex to learn more.

Track your sex drive, plan pregnancy, and more

Thanks for reading! If you or your partner have questions about low sex drive, erectile dysfunction or any other topics raised in this guide, it’s best to talk to a healthcare professional to learn more. 

At Natural Cycles, we believe the best way to bust stigma is by spreading knowledge! One way we do this is on our blog, but we’ve also designed the Natural Cycles app so you can learn more about your body and your cycle as you use it. 

When you sign up you’ll have access to all our features including NC° Birth Control and NC° Plan Pregnancy, and you’ll also be able to track how you’re feeling, including mood and sex drive and more! Why not find out if Natural Cycles could work for you today?

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Ready to get started?

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray is an award-winning writer with more than five years’ experience covering reproductive topics ranging from birth control to planning pregnancy. She is passionate about providing women with accurate information grounded in science they can use to take charge of their own health - while also dispelling myths that exist within the field of women’s health. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh and currently lives in Ireland.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracker

4 min read

Birth Control

12 Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods and How They Work

13 min read

Birth Control

Switching Birth Control Methods: How Do I Change?

9 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Sex & Pleasure

5 Ways to Have Sex Without Penetration

If you’re looking for some ways to mix things up between the sheets then look no further than these five ways to have sex without penetration. Non-penetrative sex has many benefits including prioritizing pleasure and helping us get to know our bodies better, plus abstaining from intercourse is a helpful option on fertile days for those of us who are preventing pregnancy naturally…

5 min read

Sex & Pleasure

What is Consent, and Why is it Important?

We’ve been talking more and more about sexual consent in recent years, but why is this topic so important, and what exactly is consent? In this article, we’re going to cover just that! We’ll also touch on different types of consent, and how setting boundaries can benefit you and your relationship. Read on to find out more...

6 min read

Sex & Pleasure

What is Abstinence?

In simple terms, the definition of abstinence is not having sex. However, in reality, things are a bit more complicated than that and abstinence means different things to different people. In this post, we’re going to take a look at everything to do with abstinence including how abstinence works, the reasons people choose to use abstinence, and more…

4 min read