What is a “normal” sex drive, anyway? The answer to that depends on who’s being asked; everybody’s different. Some people have a naturally high libido and are always ready to get it on, while others are more laid-back. Here’s something to think about, though – some people assume that they have a naturally low sex drive, when in fact it’s the result of imbalanced hormones.
If you want to know for sure what’s going on with your hormones, maybe it’s time to look into a sex drive test. You don’t even have to make a doctor’s appointment – you could get an at-home saliva test, like the one offered by Base. How can you even know if you have hormonal issues? Take a look at the most common symptoms below; if they sound familiar, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what your hormones are getting up to.
This is probably obvious, but a low sex drive will be accompanied by reduced sexual desire. Sleeping or waking, you just don’t really think about fulfilling your sexual needs. Even when the perfect opportunity presents itself, you may miss the cues because your hormones aren’t signaling your brain the way they should be. If your brain isn’t getting the right signals, you may end up neglecting your sexual needs simply because they never really occur to you. You might not miss it at the time, but if it’s a sign of an imbalance, reduced sexual desire could be a cause for concern.
Sex hormones are closely related to your state of mind, so mood changes could be a tip-off to the state of your libido. The relationship between sex drives and mood changes isn’t completely understood, but one thing is certain – there’s definitely a connection. A frequent culprit of low sex drive is high cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”. How many people do you know who are both stressed and happy? Probably not many. When cortisol levels are constantly spiking, your brain is getting “the world is ending” signals, which makes it very hard for you to maintain a good mood. If cortisol gets too high and stays that way, it could not only affect your mood, but your sex hormone levels as well – resulting in a low libido.
A poor sex drive can result in low self-esteem. This is especially true for people who have partners – when one of them suddenly loses their interest in sexual intimacy, they could feel like they’re letting their partner down. These feelings of sexual inadequacy can start to shape their own self-perception; even if they try to work on the psychological aspect of their low self-esteem, it’ll be hard to fully resolve the issue until the hormonal imbalance is also addressed.
Hormonal imbalances often cause sexual dysfunction in men. It’s possible for some guys to have low testosterone and still experience no mechanical issues; the link between testosterone and erectile dysfunction isn’t as clear as it could be. What is clear, though, is that when a man’s hormones are balanced, he’s a lot less likely to have problems in the bedroom. If you’re wondering what the difference is between having a naturally low sex drive and a hormonal imbalance, this is your clue that something needs to change.
Irritation or discomfort for women usually goes along with a poor sex drive. Female sex drives get a lot less attention than males’, partly because they tend to be less robust. Thanks to a woman’s menstrual cycle, it’s common for her to experience highs and lows in her libido throughout the month. What shouldn’t be changing, though, is her level of personal comfort, both before, during, and after sexual intimacy. If she’s consistently experiencing irritation or pain, it could be a sign that her hormones are in need of balancing.
What’s the next step?
If you suspect that your hormone levels could use a closer look, the best option is to get them lab-tested. Lucky for you, most hormone tests are done using saliva samples. This is the primary collection method for Base’s at-home sex drive tests, and they’re able to measure more than just hormone levels. Their tests also measure key protein and vitamin levels that are known to affect both men’s and women’s libidos, meaning the potential causes of your low sex drive will be analyzed from multiple angles.
In order to fully understand what’s going on with your hormones, it’s helpful to look at more than just sex hormones. Discovering your sex hormone levels could show what the problem is, but it wouldn’t necessarily show the cause. This is why saliva tests are used to measure other factors that are key to a healthy libido:
- Cortisol, which is necessary in certain amounts, but pretty disruptive when it’s too high
- DHEA, or the “age hormone”
- SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin), a protein that affects testosterone levels
- Estradiol, an estrogen steroid hormone that’s one of the big players in women’s menstrual cycles
- Progesterone, another key female hormone
- Vitamin D, which the body needs in order to make certain sex hormones
- HbA1c, a form of hemoglobin that can seriously mess with hormonal balance if it gets off-kilter
Does this sound intimidating? Don’t let all the weird names and mysterious initials put you off; this is why you can get experts to interpret all this data for you! Sex drive tests can help you resolve your low libido, but it might be better if you think of it as “tracking” your sex drive, rather than fixing it after one test. Your hormones didn’t get out-of-whack in just a month or two, so it’s best not to expect a quick fix either. A better approach would be to track your progress each month with a different hormone panel; each test will show you both the improvements you’ve made so far, and which areas to focus on next. Not only will you be able to achieve more balanced hormones, but you’ll understand how to maintain healthy hormone levels for years to come.