Most people experience sexual pleasure as a satisfying and positive emotion. But more and more couples are faced with the problem that their partner doesn't feel any urge for physical closeness at all. This is known as listlessness or, in technical jargon, as libido syndrome. The causes are as varied as the symptoms themselves.
In this article you will find out how listlessness manifests itself and whether you are one of the few who experience sexual reluctance. We also want to look at the various reasons for listlessness. At the end of the article we give you valuable tips & tricks that will let your feeling of pleasure flare up again in its old strength.
the essentials in brief
- Listlessness in men and women belongs to the spectrum of disorders of sexual function. This can either be reduced sexual desire or a sexual arousal or orgasm disorder.
- Sexual aversion is a growing phenomenon in society. The causes can be physical, psychological or otherwise.
- In most cases, simple tips help to rekindle the old feeling of pleasure. This includes, for example, stress-reducing drugs and enough sleep. Aphrodisiacs have also had a positive effect in some studies.
Definition: What is listlessness?
Some definitions of terms are collected under listlessness. In this article, however, we do not define listlessness as a form of listlessness that can be traced back to psychological or other causes. We define listlessness as follows:
Listlessness in men and women is part of the spectrum of sexual dysfunction. If there is no or insufficient pleasure, it can either be a listlessness with regard to sexual desire (appetence disorder), a disorder of sexual arousal or an orgasm disorder.(1)
But not everyone who doesn't feel like having sex has to have a sexual disorder. The reasons why one is no longer so interested in sexual intercourse can be very diverse. You can find out what causes this can be in another section.
Background: What you should know about sexual reluctance
Before you get to our useful tips & tricks for increasing sexual desire, we would first like to give you background information on the subject of listlessness that is worth knowing.
For this purpose we have put together the most important questions and answers on the subject so that you are informed as best as possible about listlessness.
How is listlessness expressed?
To put it simply, listlessness expresses itself in a reduced desire or disinterest in sexual intercourse. This sexual reluctance can have various reasons, some of which can only be situational.
To give you a better idea of what constitutes sexual reluctance, the American Psychiatric Association defined symptoms manifested in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition ( DSM -5). (2)
This book contains a questionnaire designed to provide information about whether women suffer from a sexual disorder. The following symptoms must last for at least six months, of which at least three characteristics must be detectable. These include:
- Absence/decreased frequency or intensity of interest in sexual activity
- Absence/reduced frequency or intensity of sexual/erotic thoughts or fantasies
- Absence or decreased frequency of initiating sexual activity and is usually not receptive to partner's attempts at initiation
- Absence/decreased frequency or intensity of sexual arousal/pleasure during sexual activity in all or almost all (approximately 75%) sexual encounters
How common is listlessness in society?
Sexual aversion is becoming an increasing phenomenon in our society. According to a scientific textbook, women in a gynecological consultation stated the following:
Listlessness is by no means an unknown phenomenon in society. More and more people have a decreased sense of pleasure. (Image source: Emma Filer/ Pexels)
20% of women reported sexual problems, a third of which they attributed to lack of sexual desire. Another 20 percent said they no longer enjoyed having sex with their husbands. And even 35 percent reported temporary phases of listlessness. According to the women, this is not least due to the lack of desire on the part of the men.(3)
Men's listlessness has increased significantly over the past 20 years. Today, 15 percent of men experience sexual reluctance, compared to 1 in 25 in the 1970s.(4)
What can be the physical causes of listlessness?
Listlessness is caused by various factors. In addition to physical causes, there are also many other reasons that cannot be explained medically, but rather psychologically. Before we get to the alternative reasons, let's first differentiate between the physical causes of sexual reluctance between men and women.
Sexual reluctance in men
The decrease in testosterone levels with age is primarily responsible for the loss of sexual desire in men. A study by MacIndoe in 2003 found that men's testosterone levels decrease by one percent every year after the age of 30.(5) Other physical causes also include sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.
Sexual reluctance in women
There can be many reasons why a woman no longer feels like having sexual intercourse. We have compiled them for you in this list: (6)
- Cycle dependency: when a woman feels more sexual desire depends heavily on the timing and surge in hormones. Some feel more cravings during ovulation, and some before their period.
- Three-month injection: The alternative to the birth control pill can reduce sexual desire. Many women report a reduction in pleasure.
- Physical illnesses: A disease of the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland, i.e. a hormone gland in the brain, can increase sexual reluctance. A disease of the thyroid gland also leads to a hormone deficiency and consequently to reduced sexual desire.
- Menopause: For most women, menopause begins between the ages of 40 and 50. There are of course exceptions here. The associated reduced estrogen release lowers the sexual need.
In the next section we want to look at what other causes there may be.
What other reasons can listlessness have?
In addition to the physical causes, there are other reasons that we have listed below. It is important to know that the reasons can go far beyond the causes mentioned in the article.
Many medications can reduce your sexual desire. Especially during an initial consultation in a doctor's office, all medications that are being taken should be listed. These include: (6)
- antihypertensive agents
In addition to these drugs, there are other groups of active ingredients. If listlessness occurs in connection with taking medication, the group of active ingredients should be determined by reading the package insert. A doctor should then be informed about this presumed connection.
Many women report reduced sexual desire after taking birth control pills in forums. However, a study released in 2018 shows surprising results.
The pill is the safest contraceptive. However, some women complain of reduced sexual desire after taking the pill. (Image source: JESHOOTS.com / Pexels)
Of 13,673 participants, 8,422 women took the pill. Of the women who took the pill regularly, 85% reported an increase or the same in their sexual desire. The remaining 15% experienced a reduction in their sexual desire. (7)
In order to be able to make more well-founded statements, the connection between the pill and sexual reluctance needs to be further investigated in the future.
The reasons for one's own sexual reluctance often do not lie in biological aspects or relationship problems. Psychological problems can also greatly reduce the desire for sex. These include :(6)
- Stress: A stressful working day often means that thoughts only revolve around the next working day or the next big task. It is understandable that the imagination for other things is almost lost. The ever-increasing stress in everyday life means that our sexual desire is reduced.
- Dissatisfaction with one's own body and appearance: Until a few years ago, only people with slim, supposedly "perfect" bodies were seen on social media. For many men and women, this has led them to take a more critical look at their own appearance and body. If the body does not correspond to those in the advertisement, feelings of shame in front of the partner increase. As a result, sexual reluctance also increases. That is why it is important in such cases to love oneself first of all.
- Depression: Unprocessed experiences, permanently negative emotions and a negative attitude to life lead in most cases to a decrease in the desire for sex. If depression is present, it should be taken seriously and ideally treated by a doctor.
Psychological reasons for listlessness are not easy to explain. In most cases, these can only be discovered through a psychological counseling session.
Often sexual displeasure can not only be traced back to the causes mentioned in the article. There are many other reasons, including partnership or other reasons, which we have summarized for you here.
|social causes||Social causes can be very diverse. Sexual reluctance is mainly caused by stress in the professional or family environment. If the job is particularly stressful or your parents are seriously ill, this usually leads to sexual reluctance. Of course, relationship problems are also symptomatic of a reduced sense of pleasure.|
|Increased pressure of expectations||An enlightened generation develops higher demands on their own sex life. Not doing justice to this puts a lot of pressure on many people. Porn, which anyone and everyone can easily access on their smartphone anywhere, creates an illusory world of sexual imaginings. Unfortunately, many forget that the pictures shown do not correspond to reality.|
|Sexual pain||If instead of feelings of pleasure only pain during the joint sexual intercourse remains, this can have a very strong effect on sexual desire. Often there is no sex at all.|
Consequently, sexual aversion cannot be explained by just one single cause. In the next section, we will look at whether and when you should have your listlessness examined by a doctor.
When should listlessness be treated medically?
When and whether you should treat sexual reluctance depends heavily on what the causes are. If, for example, sexual disorders or other diseases are present, medical treatment is necessary.
In most cases, listlessness is only situational and does not need to be treated.
However, if you are unsure as to what factors are causing your listlessness, an initial consultation, a so-called anamnesis, in a doctor's office may be advisable. In the joint discussion, various aspects such as e.g. B. age, gender and the entire context of the person considered.
The doctor can take targeted measures based on the anamnesis and make decisions. In most cases, these lead to an increase in your sexual desire.
Listlessness: The top five tips for increasing sexual desire
Now that you have learned a lot about the reasons and symptoms of sexual reluctance, we would now like to deal with how you can easily increase your sexual desire.
We have listed valuable tips for you that are guaranteed to end your listlessness.
Tip 1: Relax a little!
Stress is an absolute "pleasure killer". And that is by nature. Because if the human body gets into stressful situations, many stress hormones are produced, which push every sexual desire into the background. Instead, our hearts beat faster, we have elevated blood pressure, and we breathe faster overall.(8)
Do you have a lot of work to do at the same time? Many people then feel overwhelmed and quickly become stressed. This has a strong dampening effect on our feelings of pleasure. (Image source: Elisa Ventur / unsplash)
Are you having a very stressful time right now? According to a study, this could even lead to the sex hormones being broken down by your body. (9)
Therefore: try to relax in your rest phases, listen to yourself and switch off. Here z. B. Meditation, relaxation exercises or routines in everyday life can be very helpful. Otherwise, do more and more of the things that make you relax.
Tip 2: Do more sport in your free time!
Exercising is not only good for your physical health and muscle building , but it also helps increase your sexual desire. There is a simple explanation for this:
During sport, the body produces more of the sex hormone testosterone, which increases the desire for sex. Studies also show that high-intensity interval training (HIT) releases more testosterone than low-intensity training. (12)
Therefore: Do more sport in your free time. Start with simple exercises that don't take you much time in the beginning and then work your way up. This not only improves your physical health, but also makes sexual intercourse more enjoyable.
Tip 3: Get some sleep!
Stress causes sleep problems for many people. Especially when everyday working life is very stressful or other situations negatively affect the length of sleep, there is a loss of sexual desire. A study conducted on women showed the following:
Longer sleep has resulted in more sexual desire the next day. Just one hour more sleep led to a 14% increase in desire among women. (13)
Therefore: Go to bed earlier and try to only deal with things in the evening that do not trigger any negative emotions in you. Haven't you read a book in bed for a long time? Then now would be the best time to do so.
Tip 4: Try it with red ginseng & maca!
Many positive properties are attributed to ginseng, which originates from East Asia and Russia. It is one of the natural aphrodisiacs and, according to a study, helps to increase sexual desire in both men and women. (10)
Numerous studies also prove the sexually stimulating effect of the Maca plant, which comes from South America. A study has shown that an eight-week treatment with maca in men between the ages of 21 and 56 led to more sexual desire. However, the treatment had no effect on testosterone levels.(11)
Therefore : If you have never heard of maca and red ginseng, you can try to increase your sexual desire in this way. The two plants are available in capsule form in online markets and pharmacies.
Tip 5: Vitamin D not only helps with lack of sun!
As you have already learned, the increase in the sex hormone testosterone leads to more sexual desire. A 2010 study proved that vitamin D can be effective not only for sun deprivation, but also for increasing sex drive.
In the study, men were given a certain dose of vitamin D or a placebo daily. After one year of treatment, increased testosterone levels were detected in the vitamin D test group. However, the study does not make any statement about the effectiveness of vitamin D in women.(14)
Therefore: If you are a man, taking vitamin D capsules is definitely an option to increase your feeling of pleasure. These are also available in selected drugstores or pharmacies.
As you learned in our article, listlessness can have very different causes. However, it is important to mention that reduced desire is often only situational and does not have to be a sexual disorder. If the feeling of pleasure remains low over a longer period of time, it is advisable to consult a competent doctor's office. This will help you in an initial consultation to find the causes of your listlessness.
The tips & tricks in our article should help you to let your feeling of pleasure flare up again. However, be aware that these don't work like magic and may take a little time.
- Psychotherapie-Brueckelmayer.net: listlessness - why?, Bettina Brückelmayer Source
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013). Arlington, TX: American Psychiatric Publishing. Source
- Haselbacher, G. (2007). Sexual listlessness - Occurrence and treatment in the gynecological consultation. Elsevier-Urban & Fischer, Sexuologie 13 (2–4), pp. 109-113. http://www.elsevier.de/sexuologie Advanced training in sexology Sexuologie 14 (3–4) 2007 109–113 / Elsevier-Urban & Fischer Source
- Minimed.at: If you don't feel like it, Mag. Ingo Schlager, February 3, 2015 Source
- MacIndoe, JH (2003). The challenges of testosterone deficiency. Postgrad Med, 114:51-62. Source
- Gnirss-Bormet, R. (2004). libido disorders. Psychotherapist, 49(5), 341-349. Source
- Pastor Z, Holla K, & Chmel R (2013). The influence of combined oral contraceptives on female sexual desire: a systematic review. The European journal of contraception & reproductive health care, 18(1), 27-43. Source
- Herman JP, McKlveen JM, Ghosal S, Kopp B, Wulsin A, Makinson R, Scheimann J and Myers B (2016). Regulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical Stress Response. In Comprehensive Physiology, R. Terjung (Ed.). https://doi.org/10.1002/cphy.c150015 Source
- Shackleton, CH (2012). Role of a disordered steroid metabolome in the elucidation of sterol and steroid biosynthesis. Lipids, 47(1), 1-12. Source
- West E, Krychman M. Natural Aphrodisiacs-A Review of Selected Sexual Enhancers. Sex Med Rev. 2015 Oct;3(4):279-288. doi: 10.1002/smrj.62. Source
- Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo S. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519 source
- Kumagai, H. et al. (2016). Increased physical activity has a greater effect than reduced energy intake on lifestyle modification-induced increases in testosterone. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 58(1), 84-89. https://doi.org/10.3164/jcbn.15-48 Source
- Kalmbach DA, Arnedt JT, Pillai V, & Ciesla JA (2015). The impact of sleep on female sexual response and behavior: a pilot study. The journal of sexual medicine, 12(5), 1221-1232. Source
- Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., ... & Zittermann, A. (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43(3), 223. Source