Sex drive: What is normal and how to increase it

Sex drive: What is normal and how to increase it

Every person has their own sex drive that is normal to them. A number of factors may cause it to increase or decrease.

Read on to understand why some people may have a high or low sex drive, plus tips on how to increase it.


Sex drive, or libido, refers to a person’s desire to engage in sexual activity. A low libido refers to a decreased desire relating to sex, while a high libido is an increase in desire for sex.

Causes of higher sex drive

Some reasons that a person may have a higher sex drive include:

  • Exercising: One study suggests that people who engage in physical activity tend to have higherTrusted Source sex drives.
  • Drug-taking: Stimulant drugsTrusted Source, such as cocaine, can cause an increase in libido.
  • Changes in neurotransmitters: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. People with Parkinson’s disease may receive dopamine replacement therapy. This can cause hypersexuality and sexual compulsions.
  • Testosterone: Some older research suggests there may be a link between higher testosterone levels in men and higher sex drives.
Causes of lower sex drive

There are many reasons a person could have a lower sex drive, including:


Studies looking at female libido highlight that during menopause, sexual hormones decrease. This can cause a decline in sex drive and arousal.

Learn more about how menopause affects sex drive.

Culture and religion

People who are subject to highly restrictive religious or cultural beliefs may have lower levels of sexual desire.

Mental health

Studies have found that males and femalesTrusted Source with mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, may have a higher risk of sexual dysfunction. This can lead to a decrease in sex drive.


Sex drive may fluctuate as a person ages. One reviewTrusted Source highlights that once people reach the age of 60, there is a decrease in libido.


There is some research to suggest that a link exists between obesity and sexual dysfunctionTrusted Source, which may lead to a lower sex drive.

Chronic conditions

Chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can cause sexual dysfunction, which may reduce sex drive.

One study highlights that both the biological effects of diabetes, such as nerve damage, paired with the psychological effects, such as self-image and tiredness, can decrease libido.


One study found that women tended to reduceTrusted Source their sexual activity during pregnancy. One of the main reasons for this was a decrease in their libido.

Learn more about how pregnancy affects sex drive.

Relationship satisfaction

One study found that the libido of some females may decrease, depending on their satisfaction with the relationship.


Medicines or treatments may cause a decrease in a person’s sex drive. Some of these include:

Chemotherapy: In males, chemotherapy may reduceTrusted Source testosterone levels, which leads to a decrease in their sex drive. For females, chemotherapy may also cause the libido to lessen, as it can cause the early onsetTrusted Source of menopause.

Female hormonal contraceptive: A review of women and hormonal contraceptives highlights that the following contraceptive methodsTrusted Source may decrease libido:

  • contraceptive ring
  • injection
  • implant

Antidepressants: A historical look into antidepressants and sexual dysfunction suggests they may decrease sex drive.

Learn more about causes of a low libido.

How to increase sex drive

Some people can try the following methods to help increase their sex drive:

Sex therapy

A sex therapist can assist with sexual problems. While they can help increase sex drive, they can also support people to achieve orgasm.

Increase sleep

A study found that longer sleep duration in females led to a higher level of next-day sexual desire.


Herbal aphrodisiacsTrusted Source, such as yohimbine and Eurycoma longifolia, may help to increase male sex drive. Certain foods such as strawberries, chocolate, and raw oysters could also have aphrodisiac properties.


People may increase their libido through exerciseTrusted Source, mindfulness, and yoga.

Testosterone therapy

Testosterone therapy in older males has shown it could help them regainTrusted Source sexual desire.

Research that explores testosterone treatment and sexual desire in females varies. A 2016 studyTrusted Source argues it is unlikely to increase female sexual desire, however, another study suggests that it can boost libido in females.

More research is necessary to establish the effects of testosterone and sex drive in females.

Learn more about ways to boost libido.

What is a normal sex drive?

It is best to view sex drive as a spectrum. What someone may consider normal, may be different for another person. Sex drive can also fluctuate, leading to a higher or lower libido.

In some cases, a person’s sex drive may become extremely high, or extremely low. This may develop into a sexual functioning disorder, which can include:

Female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD): This is a form of sexual dysfunction where there is a persistent lack of sexual desire, which is not caused by a medical condition or medications.

Treatment for FSIAD may include counseling or medication.

Compulsive sexual behavior:The World Health Organization (WHO) includes compulsive sexual behavior in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It is defined as an impulse disorder “characterized by a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior.”


Sex drive is a spectrum, and what may be normal for one person may not be normal for another.

There are many reasons why a person may have a high or low sex drive, or why it might fluctuate. Medication, age, and chronic conditions can all affect it.

There are ways to increase libido, which include exercise, sex therapy, or getting enough sleep.

If a person is worried about any changes in their libido, they should discuss this with their doctor.

Libido Enhancement