For many couples, the frustration of dealing with infertility has a profound effect on their lives. In one area – sexual desire – this impact can make the process of conceiving a baby even more difficult. Loss of sexual desire is a common side-effect of infertility in both men and woman. This can result from physical or psychological causes, and often it’s a combination of several factors.
An imbalance in critical hormones can have a negative impact on both fertility and sexual desire. In particular, testosterone is known to affect sexual desire in both men and women – though its exact effects on women are debated. Low testosterone is known to reduce sperm count and quality in men. Research also shows that androgens like testosterone help a woman’s follicles develop and release eggs.
Physical conditions that affect fertility may also make sex painful, and knowing that something is painful makes people shy away from that activity. In women, these conditions include endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease, which are also associated with infertility. In men, the causes are usually temporary, such as sexually transmitted infections like herpes or gonorrhea, though deformities of the penis and foreskin can also cause pain during intercourse.
One psychological issue that can affect sex drive is the fact that trying for a baby turns the act of sex from something intimate into “work.” Both partners may feel anxiety over their performance, and anxiety is known to contribute to sexual dysfunction, including low libido.
Fertility problems can also contribute to depression, which in turn lowers the sex drive. Unfortunately, many common medications for depression can also lower the libido and can even cause hormone imbalances, which we talked about earlier. Still, it is better to treat depression first and pursue other fertility treatment options later.
If you are trying to conceive but facing issues of decreased desire, consult with your doctor – no one is better qualified to help you navigate the minefield combination of health issues and lowered sex drive! If you want more information about improving fertility or tips for conceiving, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or sign up for our newsletter below.