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with Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., LPCC

Top Myths About Low Sexual Desire

Top Myths About Low Sexual Desire.
Photo by Jared Sluyter on Unsplash

 

Low sexual desire or mismatched libido in a couple is the single most common reason I hear from couples who reach out to me for sex therapy. Despite the fact that the issue of low sexual desire is a very common complaint, a lot of misconceptions surround the issue.

There is confusion about what causes an individual’s desire to plummet, who is affected by it, what does the presence or absence of desire mean in a relationship and if low desire is even a real issue. To better understand sexual desire, here are some common misconceptions that I routinely come across in my sex therapy practice.

1. My desire is not normal-

This is the most common misconception about sexual desire. People with varying levels of desire often wonder if they are within the normal range. The truth is there is no agreed upon standard that determines that someone has higher or lower sexual desire. In other words, when it comes to libido- there is no “normal.” Everyone’s baseline libido is as unique as their individual self and bodies. It is perfectly normal to want sex once every month, once every day or never. The level of desire is problematic only if it is causing distress to the individual or the relationship.

2. Men don’t struggle with low desire or libido-

The idea that men don’t struggle with low sexual desire is a very frustrating & damaging misconception. The prevalence of low sexual desire among men is on par with women. In fact, there are plenty of women who report higher desire than their male partner and that is perfectly normal. This misconception is rooted in our societal & cultural scripts about male sexuality. Men are often stereotypically perceived as sex machines, always in the mood to have sex. Such stereotypes make it much more difficult for men to seek help because of fear of ridicule and shame.

 

3. If you are not in the mood, you are not attracted to your partner-

Desire and attraction are often confused as being the same thing. A lot of people who get stuck in the sexual rut of a long-term relationship struggle with low desire but their attraction towards their partner does not fade. And yes, you can have lower desire and still love your partner. However, this is not to imply that the connection between the two does not exist at all. Some people do lose interest in their partners because of varying reasons and once they end the relationship or meet a new partner, their desire peaks back up.

 

4. Low desire is a made up thing-

Many of my clients struggling with low desire have faced skepticism from their partners and other medical professionals about whether their low desire is all in their head or if it’s a tangible issue. Some of them had their partners question if they were having an affair while others were told by their physicians or gynecologists to just schedule sex and not worry too much about the mood. The reason for this is the complexity of desire- it can’t be cured by popping a pill and it is much more complicated to understand than the mechanism of an erection.

 

5. People with healthy desire are always in the mood-

Healthy sexual desire fluctuates not only throughout a relationship but also during the course of a day. If you don’t believe me, keep a daily log of your desire and notice if you see a pattern. Pick three points of time throughout the day- morning, afternoon & evening work best and rate your level of desire on a scale of 1-10. Record the data for at least a week. You will find that your desire fluctuates, depending on your energy and level of stress. Some people are more in the mood early in the morning whereas others experience a peak during the afternoon hours.

6. Low desire is caused by psychological issues-

It is true that the quality of the relationship and certain partner factors can cause the desire to dissipate. However, there is a long list of physical causes that can lead to lower desire among men and women. Cardiovascular problems, hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, side effects of anti-depressants & birth control pills, childbirth, surgery, low testosterone in males, sexual pain and chronic illness such as diabetes and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) are all physical causes of low desire.

Top Myths About Low Sexual Desire


Dr. Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.C.C.

Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.C.C. is a sex & relationship expert, founder of Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. - a thriving sex therapy & couples counseling practice in the Bay Area, CA. Dr. Clark is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist & PACT Level II Certified Couples Therapist. She specializes in working with couples & individuals struggling with low or mismatched libido, weak or absent orgasms, performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction, sexual pain, sexuality & aging, general sexual dissatisfaction etc. She also works with people interested in exploring sexual orientation, gender identity, kink, BDSM, polyamory, and atypical sexual behaviors. She has been in the field of sexuality since 2006, including 4 years of clinical experience in the area of forensic sexuality, treating sexual paraphilias. She is a licensed professional clinical counselor (L.P.C.C.) with license to practice psychotherapy in the states of CA, PA & LA. She holds a doctorate in human sexuality with specialization in sex therapy from Widener University, PA. Since 2002, her clinical experience has spanned individuals, couples & families from diverse cultural, ethnic & racial backgrounds in the United States as well as abroad. As a bi-cultural, multilingual woman of color, she possesses an expansive & versatile view of the world which she brings into her work and her writing. For more information or to reach Dr. Clark, please visit Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc.


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APA Reference
, . (2018). Top Myths About Low Sexual Desire. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 14, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-talk/2018/05/top-myths-about-low-sexual-desire/

 

Last updated: 23 May 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.