What Is A Sex Drive? — And Is Mine Normal?

5 minute read

Sex drives vary from person to person, as some may experience a high sex drive, while others may experience a low sex drive. Some may have no sex drive at all. While there is no universal “normal” sex drive, you can gauge what is normal for you based on your sexual history. If your sex drive is too high or low for you, there are things you can do to get it back to a place you’re comfortable with. Read on to learn more.

What is sex drive?

Your sex drive, or your libido, is how often you desire sexual activity. It can be influenced by a number of factors, including your biology, psychology, and your social and physical environments. There is no such thing as a “normal” sex drive as everyone is wired differently. It could be perfectly normal, for example, for an asexual person to have zero sex drive, and perfectly normal for another person to have a high sex drive. Whatever your personal baseline libido is (your average sex drive), is your normal sex drive.

Why is my sex drive so high?

There are few reasons why you might have a high sex drive. You could just be wired that way, and it could be perfectly normal for you. If your overactive sex drive is interfering with your life, however,  some psychological, environmental, and social factors to look into. 

  • Mental health. Impulse disorders or bipolar disorder, for example, can increase sex drive. 
  • Hyperadrenalism or hormonal imbalances. Experiencing hormonal imbalances can cause your body to react differently to sex. For example, pregnancy and menopause can cause hormone changes that make you hornier. 
  • Overwhelming life events. Sex can become an outlet for stress relief to deal with big life changes or overwhelming events. 
  • Sexual trauma. There are a few reasons sexual trauma can later cause survivors to become compulsively sexual or hypersexual. For some, it serves as a kind of coping mechanism. For others, it can signal a loss of control. The reasons vary from person to person. 

If you feel your sex drive is too high and interfering with your everyday life, it’s important to seek guidance — from a therapist or doctor — on how to best manage your sex drive.

Why has my sex drive increased so much?

There are a few reasons why your sex drive may have increased so much. 

  • Hormonal changes. Before periods, during pregnancy, and during menopause some people report having a high sex drive. If you are taking testosterone, your libido might also go into overdrive. 
  • Life changes. Big life changes can sometimes trigger sexual responses as a form of stress relief. 
  • Health issues. Hyperadrenalism, impulse control disorders, and mental health issues such as bipolarism can cause sex drive to increase. 
  • Sexual trauma. Some experience an increased sex drive after trauma. This could be due to any number of factors, as sex can then become a coping mechanism or a way to reclaim power.
How to get my sex drive back?

If you’re experiencing a low sex drive, there are few things you can do to get your sex drive back, including seeking medical help and/or making certain lifestyle changes. Here’s how to fix a low sex drive: 

  • Communication. Oftentimes, a lower sex drive can be a symptom of issues in a relationship and getting to the root can  help. It can also help to schedule intimacy dates with your partner and plan to try new things in the bedroom. 
  • Therapy. Seeing a sex therapist or therapist can also be a way to get to the root of a sex drive issue if you think what’s going on is a psychological issue. 
  • Medication and hormone treatment. A lower sex drive could be caused by any number of physical factors, including hormone imbalances. Talk to your healthcare provider to try to rule out or address any physical issues that may be affecting your sex drive. 
  • Lower your stress. Easier said than done, but lowering your stress levels, whether through meditation yoga or whatever else works for you, can help you get your sex drive back. 
  • Stick to healthy daily habits. Exercise and cutting out things like excessive drinking or smoking can generally help your sex drive.
What is considered a high sex drive for a woman?

If you’re wondering what is considered a high sex drive for a woman, there’s not really an answer. That’s because “normal” means different things to different people. For example, it is normal for an asexual woman to have no sex drive, and it is normal for a woman with a high sex drive to desire sex all the time. To find out what’s normal for you, determine your baseline (or average) libido. According to sex therapist Ian Kerner, PhD, your sex drive is only abnormal if it suddenly deviates drastically from that baseline.

What hormones increase sex drive in women?

There are several hormones that influence sex drive in women. These include progestin, estrogen and testosterone. These hormones can have an effect on your libido and your body’s response to physical touch. For example, higher levels of estrogen can help the vagina self-lubricate when the body is aroused. Note that a person’s hormone levels can fluctuate due to a number of factors, such as age, medication, pregnancy, menopause, stress, environment, etc.

How to get your sex drive back while on birth control?

If you’ve noticed your sex drive decrease while on birth control, there are a few things you can do to get your sex drive back. If you’re on a combined birth control pill, talk to your doctor about switching to a pill with a different combination of hormone levels. This may take a bit of experimentation to find the hormone combination that works best for you. 

You can also try a progestin-only pill, which won’t affect testosterone levels in your body, one of the hormones responsible for libido. If you don’t want to change your pill, you can try making lifestyle changes to try to reduce your stress, and generally try to create daily exercise and healthy eating habits.

How to increase sex drive after menopause?

While many report having a higher sex drive before or during menopause, others report losing their libido and physical sensitivity. This may be due to changing hormones, and other physical and emotional factors. Because your body is producing less estrogen, it’s harder for your vagina to self-lubricate. To remedy this, try a water-based or silicone lube that works for you. Stephanie Faubion, MD, says you can also try flibanserin, a medication for those who experience a loss of libido during menopause.

There is no such thing as a “normal” sex drive, but if you feel your sex drive is too high or low for your personal comfort, there are things you can do to remedy it. Learning about the different methods and ways to get your sex drive back can be empowering. And once it’s where you want it to be, the fun can really begin.

Louise Bourchier, MPH

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Louise Bourchier is a sex educator and sex researcher with 8 years experience in the field. She teaches about sexual health, sexual pleasure, and communication in relationships through workshops, live-streams, and with written content. Using a sex-positive approach, a dash of humour, and bag full of fun props, Louise’s style of sex education for adults is not what you got in high school! Since 2011 she has taught over a hundred workshops to a wide range of audiences, from university students, to refugees, to medical professionals, to adult store clientele. She has a Masters of Public Health, and is currently a PhD candidate.

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