5 Physical Reasons Your Libido is Sub-Zero: How to Bring a Low Libido out of Hibernation

by | Feb 5, 2020 | Libido | 19 comments

Feel like you have no libido–as if it’s in hibernation or something?

You’re not alone!

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I love talking on the blog about how libido is so much more than just physical–how it’s spiritual and emotional, too. In my Boost Your Libido course, I went over some of the emotional reasons and relational reasons why we may have very little libido, and how our faulty understanding of what libido is can make us feel as if we have no libido–when really we’re just more “responsive”!

But I also talked in the course about some of the physical reasons that your libido may fall, and as we’re spending this month talking about sex and your body in our Monday series, I thought it would be worth elaborating on it today, especially since now is a great time to get help with a lot of these problems, as the Ultimate Women’s Wellness Bundle launches. It’s 79 different products that retail for more than $4500, giving you tools to move towards wellness, including 32 eBooks, 32 eCourses & audios, 12 workbooks & printables, and more.

So let’s go over some of the physical problems that can contribute to low libido–all of which the Women’s Wellness bundle can help you tackle.

When we lose our libido, we often wonder if there’s something wrong with the marriage.

Why don’t I get turned on by my husband anymore? But maybe it’s simply that your hormones aren’t working properly, or  you’re just too tired and achey. And that, my friends, has cures! Let’s take a look together.

Why Is Your Libido Sub-Zero?

I’ve been devouring the information in the Women’s Wellness Bundle for the last few days, especially focusing on the resources regarding hormones, since that affects so much of what I write about.

What's in the Ultimate Women's Wellness Bundle

Today I want to share with you what I’ve learned from three primary resources: 14 Day Thyroid Alive Kickstarter Program; Secrets to Controlling Your Weight, Cravings, and Mood; Well and Good: Supercharge Your Health for Fertility and Wellness.

For all those women who wonder why they’re so tired and stressed and achey and can’t figure out how to feel alive and excited again, to you, today, I’d say: “No, you’re not frigid!” To all those of you who wonder why you have zero libido, there may be a simple answer. You may simply have an imbalance, and that’s good news. Because that can be fixed!

What is “Libido”?

Libido is the desire to have sex and the ability to enjoy it. For women, it’s highly dependent upon how we feel about our relationship, our bodies, and sex itself. But it’s not only that. It’s also largely hormonal. Our “sex” hormones (progesterone, testosterone, and, of course, estrogen) prepare the body to want and enjoy sex. Estrogen “lubricates” everything. Testosterone gives us desire. Progesterone regulates all of that. So when something is out of whack, you’re going to want chocolate more than sex. It’s that simple (that may be a HUGE generalization, but it does come down to balance!).

So let’s look at why!

Could you simply have poor nutrition?

Nutrition is everything. All of the cells in our bodies rely on the proper food to function at tip-top level. And if they don’t have what they need, they’ll be limping along, and they’ll often favour the vital things over the not-so-vital things (sex hormones).

Causes: Even people who look healthy can have poor nutrition! If you don’t get enough healthy fats, for instance (like coconut oil, avocados, fish, nuts), then your body will crave them. Even if you eat what looks like it’s healthy, like a vegan diet, your body could be crying out for things it’s missing, like protein. If you’re busy and you’re always grabbing food on the go, you could have some serious deficiencies.

Solutions: Eat lots of fiber! Add healthy fats to your diet. Eat more protein. Eat far fewer refined sugars, because they can cause “leaky gut”, which stops the intestine from absorbing nutrition.

Could you have adrenal fatigue?

Our adrenal glands work overtime in producing hormones. But the adrenals like to play triage: they look at certain deficiencies as “Defcon 5” and will work to fix those first. And one of the hormones our bodies really need is cortisol. It gives you energy, and regulates everything else in your body on sort of a time schedule (your bowels, your sleep, your energy, your digestion). But it depends on this 24 hour clock.

Causes: Our bodies work on a clock. So light=daytime. Eating protein=energy, it’s time to wake up! Eating carbs=it’s time to rest. That’s an oversimplification, but that’s roughly how it works.

Here’s something absolutely HILARIOUS I read recently.  Dr. Kellogg was a bit of a quack. In the 1800s he started a sanitorium to help people deal with lust and masturbation. And one of his main “cures” was this neat cereal that he had developed that you eat with milk. You see, this big carb intake would lull the body into a contented, placid state, and then you wouldn’t feel the urge for lust anymore.

Well, Dr. Kellogg found out that people LIKED eating this cereal, and soon it became the breakfast staple everywhere.

Think about our modern lifestyles: we get up before it’s light in the winter; feed our bodies massive amounts of carbs in the morning; and then keep our bodies up at night with artificial light. And we confuse the heck out of them!

Again, there’s more to it than that. But if your body is working overtime to produce cortisol, then your adrenals will get tired and won’t produce sex hormones as much.

Solution: Eat protein for breakfast, and avoid heavy carbs (like cereal, toast, and bagels). Wake up to natural light, or get lightbulbs in the winter that mimic it. Stay away from blue light at night. Keep carbs for dinner time. Stay away from caffeine, which confuses everything. Sleep 8 hours at night, if you can, AT THE SAME TIME everyday (if you can).

Could you have low progesterone?

Progesterone balances estrogen and regulates the metabolism. It’s made primarily in the ovaries, but also in the adrenal gland (and if you’re perimenopausal or postmenopausal, then you’re REALLY relying on that adrenal gland!).

Causes: If your adrenal glands are working overtime, you’ll likely have less progesterone. Also, if you’re producing TOO MUCH estrogen, then you’ll likely produce less progesterone, leading to a real imbalance.

Solution: Do everything above to regulate nutrition and cortisol. Stay away from beauty products with lots of chemicals, especially shampoos and body washes. Choose things like the Diva cup or cloth sanitary pads instead of disposable ones, because they can artificially introduce a weird chemical that mimics estrogen and can mess everything up. Do some moderate exercise four times a week. Try some essential oils, especially clary sage (that one’s helped me a lot!)

You may find that when you eliminate these foods, you have so much more energy and mental clarity! WHY? Well, you gave your digestive system a break from hard-to-digest foods and foods that you may be intolerant to. Therefore, your organs and digestive system (your liver, kidneys, pancreas, and stomach) do not have to work as hard and aren’t in constant distress. Your body can use that newfound energy to repair itself rather than constantly putting out fires, which means rockin’ hormones and periods! Yay! 

Fix your Period Cleanse

Women's Wellness Bundle

Could you have low estrogen?

Secrets to Controlling Your Weight, Cravings, and Mood lays out so well how not all estrogen is good estrogen–and how imbalances can affect our libido.

Causes: Age decreases estrogen, so being perimenopausal or menopausal can hurt us. Having other imbalances, as above, can also affect estrogen–and the neurotransmitters that regulate it.

Solution: Have sex regularly! (the more you do it–the more hormones you produce! Libido is use it or lose it!). Avoid caffeine. Don’t overexercise. Add lots of ground flax seed to your diet (I put some in my smoothies everyday). And add some supplements and lots of healthy fats to support your brain and hormone production. There are so many creams and capsules that you can take to help with low estrogen that are really safe.

Could you have low thyroid function?

When your thyroid isn’t functioning really well, it tends to “bind up” the sex hormones, leaving them unable to be properly used. And then, when thyroid production is low, you start producing fewer sex hormones, too. It’s a vicious cycle.

And some studies have shown that MOST people have at least mild hypothyroidism.

Imagine if you lived in a very small space. What would it be like if you could only remove 20% of the trash you brought in? What would it feel like to be in that space after a week? What about a month? Now imagine a year! How does it feel to be in that space now? This is how your cells feel when they are under toxic burden. Detoxing your cells will improve your ability to absorb nutrients and hormones and eliminate waste. It will also stabilize and improve your energy. During this program you will improve your health, increase your energy, and eliminate waste that causes disease, weight gain, and cravings. When your body cannot eliminate waste properly it become acidic and toxic. When it becomes acidic and toxic, your blood and your cells slow down. When this happens, your body starts to slow down and break down.

14 Day Thyroid Alive Kickstarter Program

Women's Wellness Bundle

Causes: When your cortisol levels have been out of whack for a LONG time, this eventually affects the thyroid.

Solution: Avoid soy. Throw seaweed into your soups and stews! Stay away from raw broccoli, cauliflower and kale, but throw in lots of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. And no smoking!

But how do I know what I have?


I know. When we start to read all this stuff, we think: “I’ve got EVERYTHING!” But don’t worry; that’s likely not true.

Here are two simple approaches:

  1. Eat well, with good nutrition, avoiding processed foods, caffeine, and too much refined sugar. Try to eat properly to a 24-hour schedule. Do that, and no matter what the problem is, you’ll likely start to fix a lot of it.
  2. Read through Secrets to Controlling Your Weight, Cravings, and Mood–an information-packed ebook with self-assessments so you can see where your hormones may be out of whack.

I know this is a LOT of information, but I find it really empowering. If you can figure out what’s triggering some of the ill-effects in your body, then you can stop it!

And wouldn’t that be worth it?

The Women’s Wellness Bundle is for sale right now until Monday at midnight, and it has resources covering hormone balance, heathy eating, fertility and pregnancy, chronic illness, mental health, confidence, and more (they’ve even got some AWESOME products on building a wardrobe for moms, including building a great capsule wardrobe).

I was talking to my daughter Katie last week about how she and David have started sourcing their chicken from a supplier that doesn’t use antibiotics or hormones. The stuff that is in our food can actually really impact our health, our mood, and our libido. And these resources can help you figure out what maybe the biggest culprits in your life–and how you can deal with them.

Women's Wellness Bundle Works

So check out the Ultimate Women’s Wellness Bundle now–and you may find yourself with more energy, less pain, and even more libido!

Have you ever made improvements in how you ate or how you moved that made you feel better in general–including your libido? Tell us about it in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Randi

    My birth control affected my libido, but it was hard to recognize until I switched forms of birth control. I had to go through several different forms before I found one that didn’t cause my libido to plummet. Once I switched to an IUD, I felt like myself again.
    Low libido isn’t often mentioned as a side effect of birth control, but for me it was a huge factor.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      That is INCREDIBLY common, Randi! And so glad you figured out the cause of the problem!
      We actually did a whole series on birth control because it can so significantly impact our lives. Check it out here!

  2. Ashley

    what if it’s not that you don’t want to have sex but you don’t have time for it because of handling all of the daily household duties as a housewife, homeschooling the children, and being the sole caregiver of a grandparent?? The spouse doesn’t help with household duties, but still wants me to participate in wifely ones..

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Ashley, that is so hard. I think it’s very reasonable to have a rule that both spouses “work” at the same time (E.g., if you have to care for a grandparent he does chores while you do that) so that you each get time to yourselves, too. You can say something like, “I am not going to be able to have sex unless we are a team so that we each get time to unwind and rest. I need X amount of time to myself every day and if you do not help with household duties unfortunately I will have to take that time when we could be having sex. I would love to have sex with you, but I simply cannot be used while you take advantage of me like this.”
      This is not you refusing to have sex–it’s refusing to placate childish behaviour. Not taking family responsibilities seriously is childish, and you can draw boundaries around that so that when you are in a mutually respectful, adult relationship you get to do adult things. But if he wants to be treated like a child who is waited on, then you are simply not going to have time for adult things.
      Just please know that you don’t have to put up with that–marriage is a partnership and if you’re homeschooling the kids you’re both working a full-time job. So you can work to create really good systems at home so that the evenings are free as much as possible, but there will still be housework to get done and he needs to do his share.
      Anyone else have thoughts about this?

      • Maria

        “Anyone else have thoughts about this?”
        Yeah. Hubby should be grateful that, after carrying the entire weight of the household, she even still wants to have sex.

      • Julia

        “I need X amount of time to myself every day and if you do not help with household duties unfortunately I will have to take that time when we could be having sex. I would love to have sex with you, but I simply cannot be used while you take advantage of me like this.”
        I am usually a huge proponent of the advice on this blog and have been a follower for years and years, but this seems overly harsh and punitive to the husband, even bitter or sarcastic, especially since we don’t know if they have had this discussion before. I also homeschool and handle 90% of the household chores, and have had this conversation with my husband several times. It is something that frustrates me but I know I have set a precedent over the last ten years of allowing him to rest while I worked, and I know that I am partly to blame. Plus I have seen how he was raised watching his parents handle chores and gender roles, as well as how hard my husband works on his career as well as working to maintain our property and vehicles. This is an ongoing issue in our marriage and has improved a lot in the last couple years but still could be improved upon.
        However I have never spoken to my husband as if he is one of my children nor have I threatened to withhold sex if he didn’t help with chores. Both of those ways of “communicating” seem extremely vindictive, divisive and likely unnecessary. Not to mention, you catch more flies with honey… Put another way, It is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. Not the threat of taking away what might be the one thing that makes him feel loved and appreciated.
        I agree that she should not be expected to handle all the household chores, and that she would have more desire and energy for her husband if she didn’t feel so unappreciated. But it’s the tying of the two together, the tit for tat mentality that seems dangerous here. Perhaps if she asked him how he feels the most loved, and then took the opportunity to share how SHE feels the most loved (his helping take household responsibilities off her plate), it would open up a positive and mutually beneficial discussion!!
        I know that if I said to my husband what you suggested, Rebecca, it would seriously hurt him. I would like to be assured that my husband loves me even when I fall short in behavior, and I would never want to imply that my love is predicated on his behavior. Let’s try to promote unity instead of discord, while achieving the same goals. ❤️

        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          I actually think you’re entirely right, Julia, and that likely was a bit too harsh. I think, though, that if you’re in a marriage where despite consistently bringing up the issue he still refuses to do anything you can draw boundaries even around sex. The two are already linked for this woman–she feels resentful because he asks for sex after lazying around all day. So it’s not a “if you do your chores you get some” as much as “It is not fair for you to have free time and then for you to expect me to use all of my free time having sex. So that will no longer happen.” Or maybe explaining it as “I don’t feel loved and cherished when I watch you play video games/watch TV/lounge around while I clean up in the evenings. Because I had to work so long into the night I am too exhausted for sex. If you would like to start being more involved in household duties that would help me feel more enthusiastic about sex since it will make me feel like we’re partners in this and it will give me time to relax and get in the mood.”
          How would you, then, advise a woman whose husband just refuses to change even after the conversations? Because I agree we should try all of the softer ways first where it’s conversation based and you make plans together and get on the same page, but what if your husband ISN’T loving? What if after all of that he doesn’t change? Should she still have to have sex with him despite the fact that it means it takes away her only time to herself when her husband could be shouldering some of the load?

  3. Anonymous

    All 3 listed causes have impacted by wife’s libido for over 30 years now. She has been through a variety of treatments but overall her libido has remained low. I hope others have success with treatments that are available now!

  4. Cynthia

    While breastfeeding comes with a bunch of health benefits, it can also tank your libido (which might have been part of nature’s way of spacing babies). Lactation can cause estrogen levels to plummet, which in turn can cause vaginal atrophy (tissues become thin, shrunken and dry). I had this and it sounded alarming when my doctor made this observation to a medical resident while giving me an exam, but the good news is that things went back to normal and my libido returned several months after I weaned my youngest.

    • MidwestWife

      Yep I agree! It caused not only low libido but anxiety and PPD for me. Was it worth it? I think so but I wish I would’ve known what we both know now. This must be made known and accounted for so women and their spouses don’t feel like freaks and like that’s just how things have to be.

    • Kya

      Breastfeeding didn’t necessarily cause low libido for me (I think the lack of sleep did that!), but it made sex pretty uncomfortable. My midwife told me that even though we had never used lube before, we would probably need to while I was breastfeeding. She was so right. I still haven’t weaned that baby (who is now 2.5), but as breastfeeding has slowly decreased, things have gone back to normal. We haven’t needed the lube in at least a year at this point. The things no one tells you about having a baby!!!! Maybe that would be a good post/series for the future: how pregnancy and breastfeeding affect your sex life, just because of all the changes your body goes through so quickly? It seems like every new mom I know has so many questions in that area, and there are so few resources.

    • Natalie

      (speaking as a currently breastfeeding mum) Orgasms are also great for staving off vaginal atrophy. 😉 (as are kegels and such exercises. I got myself an Elvie trainer as a postpartum gift to myself and have been loving that a lot). So even if you don’t always feel like going to the trouble of having sex, maybe the health benefits could persuade you. Also, if orgasms don’t come easily, I don’t think introducing a vibrator during this stage of life would be out of place (assuming both spouses are okay with it); the health benefits of regular orgasms – especially in the postpartum recovery months – outweigh the cons in my opinion. But then again, it does depend a lot on the state of the marriage and the dynamic between husband and wife.

  5. Tanya

    I’m currently dealing with some thyroid, progesterone, and slight adrenal fatigue issues. I think regular intimacy with my husband and the fact that I’ve learned to think about intimacy in a healthy and godly way is the reason low libido wasn’t a symptom for me with these issues. I am looking forward to my hormones being regulated again and seeing how much better I feel soon! Who knows how it might help improve my libido even more!

  6. Cara

    Just finally admitting to myself that my adrenals are in pretty bad shape.
    (My real clue was working out so hard and gaining weight).
    We’ve had pretty high stress for several (5+) now. It’s impacting every area of my life.

  7. Heather

    Obviously this was not written by a medical professional. If you suspect hypothyroidism (fatigue, hair falling out, constipation, weight gain, etc), don’t buy this junk, go to your doctor and get a TSH test. If you’re hypothyroid, you should be on levothyroxine, which is thyroid hormone replacement. This can only be given through a prescription, and a bunch of vitamins and other “natural” crap isn’t going to solve your condition. But someone will make money off you.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Yeah, definitely see a doctor if you think you may have a medical condition! But many people struggle with libido issues simply because they’re just not actually eating a balanced diet. Most of the points here weren’t actually about supplements–literally just a omega 3 supplement was mentioned–but is instead about cutting out the junk and adding in more vegetables. No natropath is making money off of you simply not eating Doritos anymore 😉

  8. Momof3

    Caffeine definitely affects my libido…… if I don’t have it, he’s not having it. 😜
    All jokes aside, I think these are some great thoughts. I noticed a huge difference in my libido with my baby girl’s pregnancy vs my 2 boy pregnancies. I was physically and mentally healthier with her but it was hard for me to get aroused and even harder to reach orgasm.

  9. KellyK

    As an RN and soon-to-be Family Nurse Practitioner, I think it’s important to also see a doctor/nurse practitioner to have your hormone levels checked if you are feeling ‘off’.
    While there are natural things you can do to boost them, if your thyroid is malfunctioning, there isn’t any amount of sex, etc, that will boost it.
    I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (thyroid isn’t producing enough hormone to function properly). I have to take a thyroid replacement medication for the rest of my life.
    Because I had hypothyroidism, I was having difficulty trying to conceive. Once I started taking thyroid replacement, I got pregnant within 3 months!
    OK, off my soapbox now.


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