Is Low Sexual Desire a Problem?

Is Low Sexual Desire a Problem?

Last update: 28 March, 2018

When we talk about sexual problems, we usually think about problems related to orgasms. We talk about things like premature ejaculation or the difficulty some women have reaching orgasm. But are these the only problems?

Not at all. The fact is that among the problems that may affect our sex life, there are other problems we may not know how to solve or even know they’re a problem. In this article we’re going to focus on the phase prior to the sexual encounter, where sexual desire is supposedly born and fed. Keep reading to learn more about it!

What is the human sexual response?

To begin with, it’s important to be clear about what the human sexual response is like. Five phases make up the human sexual response:

  • Desire: Here the sexual response begins. It is characterized by the presence of sexual thoughts or fantasies, by the desire for sexual activity to happen, and by possible hormonal changes.
  • Excitation: This is the second phase. Here people have a subjective feeling of excitement. But not only that, the body gets prepared for sexual activity. In other words, changes occur in both men and women’s bodies for sex.
  • Orgasm: In addition to a series of contractions in both men and women’s bodies, orgasms produce a sensation and state of pleasure.
  • Resolution: After orgasm, a sensation of relief and relaxation appears as the body returns to its previous state before the sexual response.
  • Sexual satisfaction: This is the subjective psychological component of satisfaction with the sexual encounter. Here the sexual response ends.
A couple at sunset, sexual desire.

In each of these phases, different problems can come up. We can classify these difficulties in different ways: temporal, situational, degree of severity and etiological, for example. Regarding the first, if the dysfunction has always existed, it is always primary, otherwise it’s secondary.

If it is present in all situations we would call it general. However, it’s situational if there is a link to only very specific circumstances. As for the degree of severity, it is total if it occurs at its maximum level, or partial if not. Regarding its etiology, it can be either organic or functional, depending on its causes.

Problems with sexual desire

In the first phase of the human sexual response, several types of difficulties may appear. One of them is low sexual desire. But too high of sexual desire can also be problematic.

Even so, the most common dysfunction in this phase is inhibited sexual desire, which can lead to an aversion to sex. In other words, sex turns into an obligation and a person stops anticipating them as pleasure. Inhibition of sexual desire is the abnormal and persistent reduction of the desire to carry out sexual activities.

“There is only one driving force: The desire”


Why does it happen? The causes are actually quite varied. Let’s start with the relationship. If there are conflicts or a couple feels stuck in a rut, or if one person has a sexual dysfunction, then an inhibition of sexual desire may result. Desire comes from anticipating a pleasant situation. Thus, if sex is not perceived as totally pleasurable, desire will be low.

There are other causes too. On a physical level, some medical problems and medications play a role. O ral contraceptives and physical fatigue can also cause problems.

Then, as for psychological and individual factors, we find:

  • anxiety, stress, and depression
  • having an ambivalent sexual orientation
  • having had traumatic sexual experiences. This can turn inhibition into a true sexual aversion: a feeling of extreme disgust towards sexual relations.


A couple facing away from each other in bed.

The fact is, since sexual desire is the first phase of the human sexual response, a problem here can be a big deal. It’s important to seek professional help from a psychologist if you have a problem of this type. There’s a lot you can do to help!


Images courtesy of Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Charlie Hang and Jeremy Bishop.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.