There was once a time when you were ready to hop into bed the second someone said the word “sex”. Now? It seems your sex drive has just…vanished. Poof. The horny guy that used to be you, gone. While it may be a bit alarming, don’t freak out. Low libido affects everyone now and again, and there’s usually a logical (and easy-to-fix) reason your mojo is dwindling—it just may not be obvious to you.
To help you pinpoint what’s wreaking havoc on your sex drive, we talked to a relationship expert, dug through medical journals, and compiled this list of the most common (yet surprising) things sabotaging your bedroom game. Read on to find out if one of them is to blame for your lack of desire and discover how to get it back—stat.
YOU’VE BEEN SKIPPING WORKOUTS
When you’re consistently working out, you just feel better about your body. When you’re playing hooky it can have the opposite effect—even if you have totally legit reasons for bailing on your gym sessions. “Your body image has a huge effect on how you feel and act sexually,” says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great. “When you feel invigorated from your workouts and confident with your body, you’re more likely to initiate and enjoy sex with a partner.”
It may seem hard to believe, but the best way to get in the mood before your next date has nothing to do with your Pornhub account. Ditch your late night, ahem, movie habit and clock some extra time with your pillow instead. A study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that sleep deprivation can actually lower levels of the sex drive hormone, testosterone, by up to 15%. Testosterone is also vital to increasing strength, muscle mass, and bone density—all the more reason to aim for seven and a half hours of shut-eye per evening.
YOU’VE BEEN HITTING THE DRIVE-THRU
Strange but true: Your fast food habit may be to blame for your nonexistent sex life. (And no, it’s not because your apartment reeks of the stuff.) Not only can the excess fat and salt in greasy grub diminish blood flow, making it more difficult for you to stand at attention, it can also leave you feeling bloated and dehydrated—two things that don’t make anyone feel like stripping down. There’s more: Drive thru nuggets and patties are riddled with phthalates, a chemical used to make conveyer belts and other pieces of equipment in food factories, says a recent report. Why’s that matter? A study of women found a connection between phthalate metabolite concentrations and lack of sexual interest. If a woman’s sex drive is negatively affected by the chemical it’s not such a huge leap to assume men may experience similar effects, too. Play it safe by breaking up with Ronald and saying “see ya later” to Wendy.
YOU’RE PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT
That super-stressful work project isn’t just giving you insomnia and zapping your appetite, it could be killing your sex drive, too, says Orbuch. “Chronic stress can affect your desire to have sex because your thoughts and energy are caught up in whatever is weighing on you.” If you’re constantly feeling under pressure, Orbuch suggests keeping a stress journal for a couple of weeks to help you pinpoint the main source of worry in your life. “Jot down where you are and what you’re doing when you feel extremely anxious. Notice how these situations and your reaction to each one affects your sex drive. Then, find a stress-reduction technique that works well for you—whether it be hitting the gym, taking a yoga class, or watching TV— and do it once a day. Also, surround yourself with people who care about you, rather than facing the anxiety alone. It may not be easy, but it can help to talk about how you’re feeling with others.”