Sex is one of the most important parts of any relationship. It bathes the brain in feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin. It can even improve mental health.
But what happens when your sex life comes to a grinding halt? What does it mean for your relationship, and can lack of sex cause anger?
1. It’s a symptom of low libido
Many people find that their libido decreases over time for a variety of reasons. This can include menopause, physical changes and medications such as antidepressants. It also may be a result of life stress, including work or school pressures, family problems or medical conditions like diabetes mellitus, thyroid dysfunction and hypogonadism.
In addition, some women report that their libido declines after they have children. The loss of sex can cause a feeling of sexual frustration that is not easily remedied. This can lead to feelings of resentment and anger, which in turn can negatively impact the relationship.
A couple may not be able to resolve their differences regarding sex, but they can try to find other ways to feel closer to each other. Kissing, hand holding and other forms of physical intimacy can help couples feel connected emotionally while they wait for their sex drive to return.
Both partners can benefit from counseling to identify and address the underlying issues that are contributing to low libido. Education about sex and sexual responses can ease anxieties, while stress management techniques and medication changes can reduce or alleviate the symptoms. Often, a lack of libido is a sign that there are unresolved conflicts or tensions in a marriage or relationship, and therapy can help to identify these issues and work through them.
2. It’s a symptom of depression
Frustration is a normal part of the human experience, and it can occur in many areas of life. Whether it’s feeling frustrated at work, in the grocery store line, or not getting enough sleep, frustration is a part of life and can lead to a variety of emotions, including anger. However, it can be especially challenging when that frustration revolves around sex.
Depression can be a serious mental health issue that affects millions of people, and one symptom is decreased sexual desire. This can lead to feelings of anger when a person doesn’t get the satisfaction they need. It’s important to remember that while this is a symptom of depression, it’s also a normal experience that shouldn’t be taken personally.
The causes of depression vary from person to person, but it’s often triggered by major life events or ongoing stressors. Fatigue is another common symptom of depression, and it can make it difficult to maintain energy throughout the day or engage in activities such as sex.
If you’re struggling with a lack of sex, it’s important to talk to your doctor or therapist about it. They can help you find treatment options that may improve your symptoms, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people recognize and reframe negative thoughts. Additionally, they can recommend antidepressants that don’t have side effects that interfere with sex drive.
3. It’s a symptom of anxiety
Often, when people are experiencing low libido it can be a symptom of anxiety. Anxiety is an overwhelming form of daily stress that affects many areas of life and can lead to feelings of sadness, discomfort and fear in situations that wouldn’t have caused these emotions before. This can also affect a person’s enjoyment of things that once made them happy like sex or intimacy with their partner.
Anxiety can cause a decrease in a person’s libido for a number of reasons, including the feeling of being unsafe in sexual situations or the inability to have an orgasm due to the distraction of anxious thoughts. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to talk about these feelings with your partner or with a mental health professional to determine what the next steps should be.
For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (available on the NHS) is an effective way to treat anxiety and help reduce dysfunctional thinking patterns that can cause a lack of libido. In addition, reducing stress levels by practicing self-care such as getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising regularly is another great way to improve a person’s mood. Lastly, taking antidepressants to treat anxiety can also impact a person’s libido, as certain types of medications such as SSRIs can lower a person’s desire for intimacy and sex.
4. It’s a symptom of stress
There are many things that can lead to stress in a relationship, including sex loss. Regardless of the cause, a sudden lack of intimacy can be incredibly frustrating for both partners and can eventually erode a loving connection. Rather than stewing on it, couples should try to communicate openly and honestly about the issue and find ways to address it together.
Sexual activity releases a number of hormones and endorphins that boost mood, elevate confidence, relieve stress, and increase feelings of satisfaction. That’s why it can be so devastating to go too long without sex. For some people, a prolonged “dry spell” can deprive them of these mood enhancers and may even contribute to symptoms like depression, low energy, or anxiety.
Chronic stress can also cause changes in cortisol levels and testosterone, which can negatively impact libido. This can be especially problematic for women going through menopause, as they can experience the symptoms of menopause and a lower libido at the same time.
If you’re struggling with a lack of sex, it’s important to seek out help. A sex therapist or counselor may be able to provide guidance on communication and help you overcome the issues that are contributing to your loss of desire. You can also try taking some time to relax and indulge in your hobbies, as this can help reduce stress and improve mood.