Every person has their own sex drive that is normal to them. A number of factors may cause it either to increase or decrease.

Read on to understand why some people may have a high or low sex drive, plus tips on how to increase it.

Sex Drive Definition

A number of factors can influence a person’s sex drive.

Sex drive, or libido, refers to a person’s desire to engage in sexual activity. Low libido refers to a decreased desire relating to sex, while a high libido is an increase in desire for sex.

Causes of higher sex drive

Some reasons that a person may have a higher sex drive include:

Exercising: One study suggests that people who engage in physical activity tend to have higher sex drives.

Drug-taking: Stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, can cause an increase in libido.

Changes in neurotransmitters: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. People with Parkinson’s disease may receive dopamine replacement therapy. This can cause hypersexuality and sexual compulsions.

Testosterone: Some older research suggests there may be a link between higher testosterone levels in men and higher sex drives.

Causes of lower sex drive

There are many reasons a person could have a lower sex drive, including:

Menopause: Studies looking at female libido highlight that during menopause, sexual hormones decrease. This can cause a decline in sex drive and arousal.

Culture and religion: People who are subject to highly restrictive religious or cultural beliefs may have lower levels of sexual desire.

Mental health: Studies have found that males and females with mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, may have a higher risk of sexual dysfunction. This can lead to a decrease in sex drive.

Age: Sex drive may fluctuate as a person ages. One review highlights that once people reach the age of 60, there is a decrease in libido.

Obesity: There is some research to suggest that a link exists between obesity and sexual dysfunction, which may lead to a lower sex drive.

Chronic conditions: Chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can cause sexual dysfunction, which may reduce sex drive.

One study highlights that both the biological effects of diabetes, such as nerve damage, paired with the psychological effects, such as self-image and tiredness, can decrease libido.

Pregnancy: One study found that women tended to reduce their sexual activity during pregnancy. One of the main reasons for this was a decrease in their libido.

Relationship satisfaction: One study found that the libido of some females may decrease, depending on their satisfaction with the relationship.

Medication: Medicines or treatments may cause a decrease in a person’s sex drive. Some of these include:

Chemotherapy: In males, chemotherapy may reduce testosterone levels, which leads to a decrease in their sex drive. For females, chemotherapy may also cause the libido to lessen, as it can cause the early onset of menopause.

Female hormonal contraceptive: A review of women and hormonal contraceptives highlights that the following contraceptive methods may decrease libido:

  • contraceptive ring;
  • injection;
  • implant.

Antidepressants: A historical look into antidepressants and sexual dysfunction suggest they may decrease sex drive.

How to increase sex drive?

Some people can try the following methods to help increase their sex drive:

Sex therapy

A sex therapist can assist with sexual problems. While they can help increase sex drive, they can also support people to achieve orgasm.

Increase sleep

A study found that longer sleep duration in females led to a higher level of next-day sexual desire.


Herbal aphrodisiacs may help to increase male sex drive. Certain foods such as strawberries, chocolate, and raw oysters could also have aphrodisiac properties.


People may increase their libido through exercise, mindfulness, and yoga.

Testosterone therapy

Testosterone therapy in older males has shown it could help them regain sexual desire.

Research that explores testosterone treatment and sexual desire in females varies. A 2016 study argues it is unlikely to increase female sexual desire, however, another study suggests that it can boost libido in females.

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