According to pretty much every college movie ever, now is the time to go wild with hookups. Go home with one frat boy Friday night, leave with one of his brothers on Saturday, and make-out with the hot girl from Econ the next weekend. But what if you’re just… not feeling it? Not because you dislike the idea of hooking up with these people, but because your sex drive seems to be operating at more of a low rumble than a motorcycle roar.
College kids are depicted as lusty, horny sluts most of the time, and it’s easy to feel guilty when your sex drive doesn’t seem to match up with those around you. Luckily, you’re not alone in your low sex drive. Below, we’ve gathered reasons behind a low sex drive, and some ways to deal.
Huge disclaimer: there’s nothing wrong with having a low sex drive, unless it’s causing issues for you. If you identify somewhere along the asexual spectrum, or are otherwise content not having sex, no worries, either.
Having anxiety and depression sucks in about a million different ways; one of which is having a lowered sex drive. One major symptom of depression is disinterest in things you were once really into, like sex. Feeling fatigued or having racing thoughts and trouble concentrating can also be brought on by anxiety and depression. None of these symptoms make it easy to relax and be fully present during sex, which significantly cuts down on how much you’re able to enjoy the act.
Antidepressants, the things that may keep the mental health issues mentioned above in check, can also limit your desire for sex. SSRIs, like Zoloft, Lexapro, and Prozac, are especially known for their libido-decreasing effects. These effects tend to hit women the hardest (because honestly, what doesn’t) and can lead to lowered sexual desire and difficulty reaching orgasm. This does not, however, mean you should go off your medication. Instead, talk to your doctor about the side effects you’re experiencing; they may be able to lower the dosage of the medication you’re currently taking, or help you switch to something else. Wellbutrin is one antidepressant known to have little impact on sex drive; some doctors will prescribe a low dosage along with your normal SSRI to help bring desire back up.
If you’re too hung up on the way you look and feel inside your body, it can be hard to enjoy using that body with someone else. This fuels a self-deprecating cycle of feeling insecure, not wanting sex, and then feeling even more insecure for not wanting sex in the first place. It’s exhausting, and doesn’t help to solve either issue.
What you can do
Sex therapist Vanessa Marin emphasizes practicing self-care. Things that may seem basic in theory but are harder in practice, like eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising can all boost self-esteem and sex drive. Set reminders on your phone to eat or drink water if you find yourself forgetting, and try to at least fit in a good night’s sleep on weekends if balancing assignments makes that impossible during the week.
Marin also recommends experimenting with how you define sex. If penetration or another sexual act isn’t doing much for you, explore other ways of giving and receiving pleasure.
Again, talk to your doctor! Antidepressants, blood pressure meds, and birth control can all fuck up your sex life, but they don’t have to. If you feel embarrassed mentioning these issues to a doctor, think about the countless other embarrassing body things they are trained to deal with every day. If your doctor is dismissive when you bring up a low sex drive, seek out your local Planned Parenthood. Clinics offer valuable sex ed and birth control consultations, and “checkups for sexual health problems” is listed under their general healthcare offerings.