Libido

Libido, or sex drive, is the level of overall desire to engage in sexual activity. The inner drive for sex has several different internal and external influences. These include such factors that are psychological, biological and social.  Sex drive is regulated by different sex hormones and neurotransmitters. Primarily, these are affected by levels of dopamine and testosterone. Societal influences, such as family and work are other factors that influence the human libido. The libido can also be affected by internal factors of psychological influence like stress and individual personality. Medical conditions and medications also play a role in the affecting one’s sex drive. Further influence stems from lifestyle. The human sex drive may also relate to age, i.e. puberty and old age. Certain biological conditions, like hypersexuality, can also increase the sudden frequency of sexual urges. Those whom experience the opposite of this condition may be experiencing hyposexuality.

Effect On Relationships

The desire for sex may stem from the biological necessity to procreate. The intensity of its influence can lead to the engagement of sexual activity. This plays and important role the intimate relationships of human for their formation and maintenance. On one hand, an increased libido can help form healthier and more sustainable relationships. However, a decrease, loss or lack of a libido can have adverse effects on relationship intimacy. Alterations in the sex drive of either sexual partner can cause relationship issues if it is sustained or unresolved. A decline in sexual desire may indicate a sexual partner’s infidelity, or that they are “cheating.” Poor communication of the sexual preferences or needs of intimate partners, or a disparity of sex drive could lead to relationship problems.

Factors That Affect Libido

As mention, there are a number of factors that can influence the human libido. There can be very specific biological, psychological and social controls that change the level of sex drive.

Endogenous Compounds

Human libido is primarily governed by the level of mesolimbic dopamine pathway activity. Regulation of the libido is affected by dopamine and race amines which play a critical role in the modulation of dopamine neurotransmission. There is a correlation, inversely or directly, between libido and other chemicals activity on these pathways, such as neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and sex hormones include

Direct Correlations

  • Testosterone And Other Androgens
  • Estrogen And Related Female Hormones
  • Oxytocin

Inverse Correlations

  • Progesterone
  • Serotonin

Other Correlations

  • Norepinephrine
  • Acetylcholine

Menstrual Cycle and Hormone Levels

This is a correlation between female libido and the menstrual cycle during peak fertility. Several days prior to ovulation, women may experience a heightened desire for sex. This relates to the change in female testosterone levels due to the direct correlation between libido and testosterone.

Social and Psychological Factors

The desire for sex may be influenced by social or psychological influences, including depression, stress, distraction, and the lack of intimacy or privacy. Stress factors that are environmental in natural can affect sex drive, i.e. prolonged exposure to bright light or elevated levels of sound. Anxiety and body images also have an influence on libido. Other factors such as sexual neglect, assault, trauma or abuse can change the sex drive.

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