Having a high sex drive or high libido can be an exciting new development in your life. Initially, it can also be a surprising or even unsettling change. Don’t worry – people’s desire for sex shifts and evolves as we go through life, and there are many different factors, like stress, medications, hormones, and age, that can all influence how often you feel like having sex.
What Is a High Sex Drive?
Identifying whether or not you have an increased libido means knowing what your own normal is. Sex therapist Ian Kerner says that “normal is such an elastic word…it depends on what your baseline libido is.” And Dr. Jill McDevitt says, “It’s completely normal for your libido to fluctuate and for there to be points of time – days, weeks, months, years – where your sex drive is higher than usual.” There is no objective test to measure a high sex drive – it’s entirely based on an evaluation of your own habits and desires. If you find yourself wanting sex more than usual, then it’s likely you’re going through a period of having a heightened sex drive.
Can a High Sex Drive Be a Problem?
If your high sex drive isn’t matched by your partner’s, try talking about it with them. Libidos decline and increase over the years, so it’s likely you’ll go through times when the two of you may not be exactly in sync. Increased communication, not taking rejection personally, and consulting with a sex therapist are all methods to improve your intimacy.
An increased sex drive is usually perfectly normal. It is only a problem if it has a negative effect on your life. Skipping important events, not being honest with people you care about, and engaging in risky or distressing behavior can all be warning signs for sex addiction. Consulting with a doctor or therapist can help you develop a game plan to manage this condition if you feel like your increased libido puts you at risk.
What Causes High Sex Drive in Females and Males?
Because libido can fluctuate, you might find yourself wondering, “why is my sex drive so high suddenly?” There are many things that might cause an increased sex drive.
Stress of all kinds, but particularly financial stress, can take a huge toll on sexual desire. 26% of American men 45 or older say that having better finances would make their sex lives more satisfying. The resolution of a stressful situation, finding helpful coping mechanisms, or even just taking a break, like a vacation, can all make you want sex more.
Better Mental Health
Lowered libido is a major warning sign for depression. Taking steps to care for your mental health can lead to increased desire both for sex and general intimacy.
Studies have shown that regular exercise greatly increases sex drive. Whether from increased blood flow in the body or having a better self-image, if you’ve started a new exercise routine, you may experience a higher libido. However, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. A new study from the University of North Carolina suggests that too much high-intensity training can actually lower sexual desire, particularly among men. Active men who trained at the lowest intensity reported sex drives seven times higher than men doing high-intensity training in running, biking, swimming, or lifting.
Having better sex can lead to increased sexual desire. Good sex releases dopamine, a hormone linked to pleasure and excitement. Hormonally, if you enjoy sex more, it’s more likely that you’ll begin to crave it.
Certain medications like antidepressants, hormonal birth control, and beta-blockers can all affect sexual desire. 24% of participants in a Contraceptive CHOICE study reported a lack of interest in sex for six months after starting a new birth control method. Adjusting to certain medications, going off of them, or changing them, can all lead to fluctuations in libido.
If sex were all about reproduction, it wouldn’t make sense for menstruation to be a time of increased libido – and yet, it often is. It may be that the increased lubrication, as well as a slight uptick in testosterone levels, lead to increased desire for sex during menstruation.
High Sex Drive in Women
What age is a woman’s prime? At what age does a woman stop being sexually active? There are many harmful misconceptions around the female sex drive that insinuate that women become less interested in sex, or less able to have pleasurable sex, as they age. However, changes in fertility are not always linked to decreased interest in sex. In fact, some scientists believe that female sexual desire increases in the late thirties, just as fertility begins to decline.
The average age for menopause in the US is 51, and it’s true that a common side effect of the hormonal change is vaginal dryness, which can be linked to decreased libido. (At what age does a man’s sex drive decrease? The average age for Viagra users to begin using the drug is 53.) However, multiple studies have suggested that at least for women, middle-age sex and sex after menopause may be better than it was before. Many older women report that factors like increased comfort with their bodies, a more creative understanding of sex that incorporates activities like oral, anal, and vibrators, better communication, more time for sex, as well as lubricants and vaginal moisturizers all lead to more fulfilling sex lives later in life.
Sexual desire and drive fluctuate throughout our lives for many different reasons. Everyone’s sexual journey is different, and having a higher or lower sex drive for periods of time is usually perfectly normal. Changes in hormones, stressors, age, medications, exercise, and so much more affect sexual drive. With open communication, creative thinking, and a no-stigma attitude, you can have fulfilling, enjoyable sex, and intimacy throughout all of these fluctuations.