The Link Between Your Hormones and Your Sex Drive

Feb 13, 2024
The Link Between Your Hormones and Your Sex Drive
Have you ever wondered why the average adult experiences a significant slump in their sex drive as they get older? Often, it comes down to declining reproductive hormones. Here’s how your hormones fuel your libido.

The average adult experiences a noticeable slump in their sex drive as they get older. Why? While many factors can influence a person’s libido at any given time, reproductive hormones fuel your sex drive from its emergence in puberty and throughout adulthood.

But sometime in middle age, those key sex hormones — estrogen for women and testosterone for men — start to decline, often taking a relatively healthy libido down with them. 

As anti-aging experts who specialize in hormone replacement therapy at Fiamo Aesthetics, Nawo K. Fiamo, ARNP, and our team believe that good sexual health is an integral part of your overall well-being. 

Here’s what you should know about the link between reproductive hormonal imbalance and low libido. 

Understanding your fluid, fluctuating libido

“Libido” refers to your overall sex drive, or desire to engage in sexual activity, including sex with a partner and/or self-gratification via masturbation. Your libido isn’t static; instead, it’s a fluid aspect of your sexual health that’s influenced by a range of biological, social, and psychological factors.  

There’s no right or wrong level of libido. Sex drive naturally varies from one person to the next. Some people feel like engaging in sexual activity most days, while others only have sexual impulses a few times per week, month, or year. 

Your baseline libido is what’s typically normal for you. But given that so many factors can affect your libido (for better or for worse), it’s natural for your sex drive to fluctuate over time — and often, to change intrinsically over the course of your life. 

Reproductive hormones fuel your sex drive

While various psychological and social factors (e.g., relationship status, life circumstances, stress levels) shape your libido, your sex drive is biologically driven and regulated by your:  

  • Sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen)
  • Neurotransmitters (oxytocin, dopamine) 

Earlier in life, your sex hormones took you through puberty and gave you your secondary sex characteristics (e.g., female breasts, deeper male voice). In adulthood, they control your fertility and reproduction. They also govern your sexual function and drive.    

For men, testosterone fuels sex drive and erectile function. Declines in testosterone can lead to a lower libido as well as difficulties getting or sustaining an erection. 

For women, estrogen fuels sex drive and sexual response (vaginal lubrication). Diminished estrogen can lead to a reduced sex drive as well as persistent vaginal dryness, even during arousal. 

A hormonal imbalance or something else?

A diminished sex drive doesn’t automatically indicate a hormonal imbalance. There are many reasons for low libido. Non-hormonal factors that can undermine your sex drive include:  

  • Relationship issues
  • Major life events, such as pregnancy, divorce, or a job promotion
  • Psychological issues
  • Mental health issues
  • Ongoing health conditions
  • Alcohol, drug, or tobacco use
  • Certain medications
  • Too little or too much physical activity 

In middle age, reduced sex drive is frequently — at least partially — a result of an underlying hormonal imbalance. 

For women, it takes the form of dwindling estrogen levels brought on by perimenopause. For men, it’s the gradual decline in testosterone from the age of 30 onward that leads to low libido later.  

Balance your hormones, restore your libido

Just as many adults find that their libido is healthiest when their stress levels are low and they’re in a secure, loving relationship, many people find it diminished by stress, relationship concerns, illness, or declining hormone levels. 

If age-related hormonal changes are at the root of your libido problem, chances are you also have sexual function concerns like erectile dysfunction or insufficient lubrication. 

We can determine if a hormonal imbalance is contributing to low libido with a physical exam, symptom checklist, and a quick blood test. If it is, a custom hormone therapy plan can help you restore optimal hormonal balance, boost your sex drive, and support healthy sexual function.   

Are you distressed by low libido? We can help. Give us a call today, or use our online booking feature to schedule a visit at Fiamo Aesthetics in Yakima, Washington.