Let’s face it: none of us enjoy discussing sexual problems with our partner. When something isn’t working as it should in the bedroom the natural instinct is to stay quiet and hope and pray that the issue resolves itself naturally.
This is an unhealthy attitude, of course, and we know that the best way to resolve sexual issues – especially when they begin to negatively impact a relationship – is to get them out in the open. Often simply talking about a problem can help us overcome it, and while the conversation may be difficult or embarrassing it’s usually the best way to go.
One of the least pleasant sexual problems a couple may face is inhibited sexual desire (ISD). This is the term given to a general condition that can be caused by any number of factors, but in layman’s term it simply means that one (or even both) partners in a relationship lose interest in sexual relations. The sufferer will rarely, if ever, initiate sex, and may often fail to respond to sexual relations initiated by their partner.
It’s important to understand that there are several ways in which this condition can manifest itself in a relationship. One partner, for instance, may lose interest in sex with the other, and yet still maintain healthy sexual interest (though hopefully not act on it) with others outside the relationship.
ISD can also manifest generally, in which case the sufferer experiences a reduced interest in sexual relations in general, both within and without of the relationship.
ISD can also be both an acute or chronic condition. Sufferers of primary ISD may have lived their whole lives with a reduced sex drive, while secondary sufferers may have felt sexual desire in the past, but no longer do.
In the most severe cases sufferers of ISD may not only lose interest in sex but may begin to find the act unpleasant and even physically repulsive.
ISD can have a wide range of causes both mental and physical, and to successfully overcome the problem it’s vital to diagnose the root cause in the hopes that it can be treated.
ISD can be caused by something as simple as insomnia or prolonged lack of sleep. The sufferer may simply feel exhausted by the idea of physical activity, but their fatigue may also cause a depression of certain hormones in the body, reducing sex drive.
ISD can also be caused by many illnesses, especially if they cause physical pain or sickness, and various medications can reduce libido.
Perhaps more difficult to pin down and treat are the psychological and emotional causes of ISD. Stress, depression and anxiety can all affect libido, as can a history of sexual abuse, sexual health problems or any other factor that causes the sufferer to associate sex with negative feelings.
Even more difficult to confirm are the simple interpersonal factors that affect every relationship. A sufferer of ISD may find the condition arising when they feel they are not appreciated by their partner, don’t have enough time to spend with them or feel an imbalance of power in the relationship.
Due to the wide range of potential causes of ISD it can be extremely difficult to ascertain the cause in the hope of fixing the problem. As we said at the top of the article, though, the first step is always communication. A condition such as ISD can put a tremendous strain on a relationship, and without communication the problem could become too serious for the partnership to survive. Talking to your partner about your concerns is always the best place to start.