Libido: Definition & Explanations

Libido: Definition & Erklärungen

Do you love your partner but often don't feel like having sex? Your general desire for sexual activity has decreased? You've heard the term libido before but don't know what to do with it? Then you are exactly right here!

In our glossary article 2020 you will find the most important information on the subject of libido. We explain how the libido differs in women and men and what causes sexual loss. A few valuable tips will tell you how you can easily reignite your libido yourself.

the essentials in brief

  • Libido describes the sex drive. The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen control your desire for sexual activity.
  • The loss of libido can have hormonal, physical, psychological or partnership reasons.
  • You can increase your libido yourself through self-love, the right diet, the perfect balance between relaxation and sport as well as through honesty and openness.

Glossary entry: The term libido explained in detail

So that you are also fully informed, we have taken up all the important questions about the subject of libido for you in the following sections. We want to help you improve your general understanding of libido. Then you know exactly why libido loss can occur and how you can increase it.

What is libido?

Libido describes the desire for sexual activity or sex drive. The term originally comes from the Latin meaning desire and desire. Because the basic sex drive is based on biological nature and was considered the reproductive drive.

Today, libido is influenced by many cultural, psychosocial, and developmental factors. Libido is considered an indicator of quality of life and overall health.

man and woman in bed

On average, we spend 117 days in bed with our partner. That's just 0.45 percent of our lives. Not really much, right? (Womanizer WOW Tech/ unsplash)

Everyone has a sex drive. However, there is no "normal" libido worth it. Some people have more sexual desire than others. This depends on the distribution of sex hormones in our body.

The two most important sex hormones are testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is known as the male sex hormone and estrogen as the female. Men and women have both hormones, but in different proportions. While testosterone predominates in men, estrogen is more common in women.

When is libido strongest?

When the libido is strongest cannot be precisely defined. Because many factors such as environmental influences, general well-being and age have an enormous impact on our sex drive.

In general, the libido in men and women is different. Since the testosterone content in men is significantly higher than in women, they also have a much more intense sex drive. Because the higher the testosterone level, the higher the sexual desire of a man.

Men have 40 times more testosterone than women.

In men, the libido is most pronounced up to the age of 50. On average, women's libido is strongest between the ages of 27 and 45. The female sex drive peaks around the age of 40.

While in men testosterone is formed in the testicles, in women libido is controlled by the menstrual cycle. Just before the period, the libido increases to bring about the fertilization of reproduction. Therefore, women have a highly developed libido even during menstruation. Men feel this too, since women often seem more attractive to them during this period of time.

When does libido decrease?

When the libido decreases is different for each person and cannot be precisely defined. On average, however, 30 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 59 have reduced sexual desire. Among men in the same age group, only 17 to 19 percent report a lack of interest in sexual activity.

Especially in old age, from about 50 years, when men enter the andropause, the libido is often weaker. Andropause is a type of menopause in men, when testosterone production decreases. The lust of men can therefore slowly decrease with increasing age.

At around the age of 50, women also experience menopause, which is called menopause. During this time, the female hormones drop because the ovaries stop producing hormones more and more.

Mature women often have better sex than younger women.

Nevertheless, the testosterone in women is further developed in the secondary cortex. This ensures that the woman's sexual desire does not decrease further with age. Still, women in their 60s and 80s have very little sex or don't express interest.

However, a weakened libido has no direct effect on sexual arousal or the ability to have an orgasm. Because women with a weakened libido can still get wet and have an orgasm. Affected men can also get an erection and ejaculate.

Therefore, a weak libido is characterized only by sexual reluctance. People with a weak libido are therefore less likely to feel like having sex and are less likely to take the initiative.

What Are the Causes of Libido Loss?

Loss of libido is a common problem in both women and men. The causes of sexual reluctance are very diverse. We have listed the four most common causes of libido loss for you in the table below.

Caused examples
hormonal Lack of male hormones, contraceptives, pregnancy, lactation, menopause
Physically Pain, illness, taking medication
mentally Depression, stress, burnout
in partnership Quarrels, disagreements, problems in sex


Hormone-related loss of libido is relatively common in women. This is shown in particular by a lack of male hormones due to your use of contraceptives.

Because the ingredients of contraceptives stop the release of testosterone and thus reduce your libido. The most well-known hormonal contraceptives that reduce the desire for sexual activity are:

  • the birth control pill
  • the viginal ring
  • the spiral
  • the hormone patch
  • the contraceptive implant
  • the contraceptive shot

If you think one of these contraceptives is negatively affecting your libido? Then you can alternatively use a condom or try taking your temperature. In this case, it is best to ask your gynecologist.

However, studies have not found a major drop in libido associated with hormonal birth control. (2.3"> Only side effects such as weight gain, nausea or migraines were found from taking contraceptives. (3)

Various contraceptives

There are various contraceptives that differ in the way they are taken. You can take contraceptives by mouth, insert them just under the skin or inject them, and insert them vaginally. Which method you prefer is up to you. (Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition/ unsplash)

Loss of libido is also common during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The cause of the disappearing sexual desire can be traced back to the change in hormone levels as well as in the body.

Even after childbirth, the woman's sexual desire remains secondary. Because the focus is primarily on caring for the baby rather than enjoying being together with your partner. A loss of libido during this time is therefore quite normal. But usually, sexual desire returns over time.

In addition, many older women and men during menopause complain about a loss of libido. Because during this time there is often a hormonal imbalance in the body.

Tip: During menopause, it is advisable to do a blood test to determine hormone levels. Do you have low hormone levels? Then there are certain testosterone treatments or hormone therapies to reignite the libido.

Want to know more about libido during menopause? Then watch the following video. Here you can find out in a detailed report why the hormones in women and men go haywire during menopause and why they influence the libido.


Physical problems can also have a negative impact on libido. Long-term illnesses can lead to sexual reluctance. These include in particular cancer, heart disease or kidney disease.

Do you have an underactive thyroid? Then your sexual desire can also decrease because the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Libido can also decrease after removal of the ovaries or uterus.

Furthermore, taking some medications can have side effects that reduce desire. These include, among others:

  • tranquilizers
  • antidepressants
  • neuroleptics
  • Blood pressure lowering drugs
  • medication for seizures
  • Medicines for an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer


Emotionally, psychologically stressful situations in life or situations of upheaval can also have an inhibiting effect on desire. Are you stressed too much and finding it difficult to coordinate your private and professional life? Then your desire for sexual activity often falls by the wayside.

In Germany, around 4.2 percent suffer from burnout syndrome. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 3.3 percent of men are affected and as many as 5.2 percent of women. (4)

Sad woman sitting by the window

Psychological factors greatly influence sexual desire in women. Is your psyche out of balance or do you even suffer from depression? Then there can be a loss of libido. (Anthony Tran/ unsplash)

A burn-out leads to depression in many people, which has a particularly strong impact on your sex life. Because depression usually occurs together with extreme sadness, hopelessness, dissatisfaction and a general reduced interest.

Do you suffer from any of these symptoms for a long time? Then therapy is advisable to bring you and your body back into balance. This is the only way you can get your libido going again.

in partnership

Quarrels or disagreements in the partnership can reduce the libido. Because unspoken conflicts with your partner inhibit your lust. Long-term conflicts can therefore ruin your relationship.

Problems during sexual intercourse such as pain, vaginal dryness or the inability to have an orgasm can also have a long-term negative effect on desire. Weakened libido in men can lead to erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.

Is Libido Loss Treatable?

In most cases, the loss of libido can be corrected. In this case, the right contact persons are your family doctor, gynecologist or a trained sex therapist. However, there is no “cure-all” to restore libido.

Treatment options depend on the cause of the sex loss. Hormone treatment is possible if the sexual reluctance is due to a lack of hormones or an imbalance. Certain preparations help you to balance your hormone levels again.

In the case of illness, taking herbal medicines can help boost libido again. In the event of a loss of libido due to psychological or partnership causes, individual or couple therapy and sex counseling are advisable.

Attention: Sex therapies require patience and time. Because from one day to the next the libido does not come back. Alone or together with the partner, possible solutions are sought and strategies are developed to rekindle the libido.

Treatment also varies between men and women. Because according to a study, testosterone therapy helps men to increase their libido. (5) Testosterone patches or injections also help with lower testosterone production. Women, on the other hand, can use estrogen therapy. This increases the estrogen level and thus stimulates the sex drive.

How can I increase libido?

There are numerous methods to increase libido again and stimulate your sex life. We have put together seven valuable tips for you that will help you to boost your sex drive again.

1. Love your body

The number one tip for getting your libido back is to love yourself and your body first. Because self-confidence and body acceptance are the be-all and end-all to ignite the desire in your body.

It is particularly important in a partnership to accept your body. Do you feel comfortable in your body? Then your partner will notice and the desire for sexual activity will increase for both of you.

2. Pleasure-enhancing foods

Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and high-protein foods can increase libido. A few pleasure-enhancing foods include:

  • artichoke
  • avocado
  • oysters
  • chili
  • figs
  • Parsely
  • celery

Because these foods contain many minerals and vitamins, which are responsible for the blood flow in our body. So do you eat a lot of vitamin-rich foods? Then your blood flow also increases in the genital area and your sexual desire increases.

Woman eats dark chocolate

The absolute pleasure-maker classic is dark chocolate. Because this promotes the release of the happiness hormones serotonin and phenylethylamine. Snacking on dark chocolate stimulates female desire in particular. (Thought Catalogue/ unsplash)

In one study, researchers found that herbal remedies like maca powder, gingko, and ginseng boosted libido. Many spices such as ginger, saffron, truffles or garlic also increase sex drive. (6)

3. Relax

An important factor to increase libido is relaxation from everyday life and stress. For our body as well as for sexual pleasure it is important that you are completely relaxed. A few helpful relaxation methods that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life are:

  • yoga
  • pilates
  • meditation
  • autogenic training
Couple hugging in bed

Relaxation should not be neglected in the partnership either. Because cuddling on the couch, watching a film together in bed or a partner massage increases the libido. (Becca Tapert/ unsplash)

4. Getting enough sleep

If you give your body and mind enough rest through lots of sleep, you will recharge your batteries for the next day and reduce your stress level. Sufficient sleep is not only healthy for the body, but also increases your sexual desire. Good sleep quality is important to increase libido.

Research has found that improved sleep quality increases desire for sexual activity. In women, more sleep the night before has been found to increase sexual desire the next day. (9)

5. Stay active

In addition to sufficient relaxation and sleep, your body also needs regular exercise. One study found that exercise helps men increase libido. Relationship or body image problems can also be reduced by a regular training session. (7)

Another study confirmed that exercise and regular pelvic floor exercise increases libido in women. (8) Sport therefore helps to reduce stress and to feel better in one's body and to increase libido.

Tip: Exercising stimulates blood flow, which is also noticeable in the genitals. Because in men, better blood flow increases erectile function.

6. Talking is the be-all and end-all

Talk openly and honestly with someone you trust; whether with your partner, your best friend or a therapist. Because talking helps you to become aware of your problems and to treat them accordingly.

A study found that foreplay is particularly important to women during sex. Because only about 18 percent of all women can reach an orgasm through sexual intercourse. Approximately 34 percent require additional clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. However, many women do not address this with their partner. (10)

Man and woman kiss

Kissing releases infinite happiness hormones. It reduces stress and at the same time increases the desire for sexual activity. (Joanna Nix walkup/ unsplash)

Communication is therefore the key to a happy partnership and a fulfilling sex life. Talk about conflicts or about sexual preferences. Because in order not to let the libido fall asleep in a relationship, you should address your sexual desires and talk about them.

7. Be open to new things

Whether it's masturbation or sexual intercourse in a partnership - be open to new things. Because by trying it out, you not only get to know yourself and your body better, you also increase your libido.

Remote control from the sex toy

Some sex toys can even be operated by a remote control. This allows you to control your partner's climax yourself. (We-Vibe WOW Tech/ unsplah)

Sex toys are helpful to revive the libido.

Providers such as or offer you a large selection of sex toys of all kinds. Whether you use them alone or with your partner - they bring momentum to your sex life. Because with sex toys you gain new experiences and experience a completely different orgasm feeling.

When should I go to the doctor?

Have you not felt any sexual desire for a long time and are you worried about your loss of libido? Then a doctor's visit is advisable. Your general GP can usually give you advice, refer you to a specialist, or suggest treatment options.

The sooner you see a doctor, the faster you can increase your libido. However, do you find it uncomfortable to talk about your lack of sexual desire in person? You can also get advice from a doctor or therapist online or by phone.


The libido, the sexual desire, is controlled by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Men have a stronger sex drive than women. Hormonal, physical, psychological or partnership factors can strongly influence the desire for sexual activity.

With the help of the seven tips above, you can increase your libido yourself again. If you experience a loss of libido over a longer period of time, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Because through certain examinations, the doctor can prescribe you medication or therapy to revive the libido again.


  1. DGE press release on protein requirements
  2. A controlled randomized study of the effects of whey protein on the body.
  3. A study of the effect of different types of whey protein on gut microbiota. The results show that whey protein supplementation can stimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria and may improve intestinal disorders.
  4. Study mentioning that protein deficiency is very rare. Research shows that eating too much protein can increase the risk of some diseases.
  5. A study examining the effects of soy protein bars compared to whey bars. Specifically, it is about the effects on training. Soy protein bars impact muscle mass and antioxidant status.
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