Libido lockdown

No Libido In Lockdown? You’re Not Alone

It’s clear that the pandemic has affected most areas of our lives. It’s an entirely new experience for all of us and we don’t have a concrete idea of what will happen next, in our lives or the wider world.

That uncertainty might be influencing our mental and physical health in unpredictable ways, whether we’re self-isolating at home or still venturing out to do essential work. Physical intimacy experienced alone or with a partner, is an important aspect of our lives that may be affected by the chaos of the times. 

So if your libido has gone on strike, it might help to know that it’s entirely natural and that you aren’t alone. 

It may also help to know that there are still ways to honour our intimate selves by nourishing and supporting ourselves through this crisis (and beyond). 

The Science of Sex And Stress

It’s important to note that, even without a pandemic, libido is variable to begin with. I think we have this idea that libido is stable, and it’s never really stable, it’s a function of so many different factors.

Some of the things that cause variability in your libido include your age, medications, smoking and drinking habits, self-esteem, body image, and your current relationship with your sexual partner. All of these things affect libido with or without a pandemic, but one of the biggest factors affecting libido is stress. 

You can’t be stressed and have great sex. You need to feel at ease, and safe. There are a lot of obvious reasons why people can’t relax right now.

Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can suppress our sex drives to the point of invisibility. Cortisol’s job is to increase our responses to immediate hazards, keeping us out of trouble in the moment, and it may also signal that it’s not a safe time to get intimate. 

We’ve stayed in this hyper-vigilant state for months now. We’ve had heightened anxiety about getting sick, losing loved ones, infecting others, on top of all the financial catastrophes so many have experienced, including the loss of jobs, income, lifelong dreams, and businesses.

Trauma, grief, stress, and crisis all have one thing in common when it comes to libido: they slam on the brakes. The body favours the production of cortisol to keep you alert and safe over other hormones that would increase your interest in sex.

As We Recalibrate, Libido Will Slowly Return

If you’re not feeling frisky, don’t place blame on yourself or your partner. No matter what, don’t look at a lowered libido as a personal failing. That’s not only invalid; it’s unproductive. We are all navigating this as we go, and putting more pressure on ourselves to have sex, or guilt because you don’t want to, isn’t going to help shut off the stress response and get your libido back up and running.

Even though there’s so much uncertainty about how this is all going to play out, people’s libidos are slowly returning, because we’re calibrating to this new context. We are innately, adaptive creatures. 

A wonderful way we can assist our bodies to ‘recalibrate’ is to nourish them through adaptogens. These are herbs that assist us to lower the stress response and we can narrow down adaptogens to be very specific for libido. Herbs like Ashwagandha, Maca, Rhodiola or Tribulus are all excellent options. Remember to always check in with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements or herbal remedies as these can all interact with medications. 


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