Libido refers to sexual desire, or the emotion and mental energy related to sex. Another term for it is “sex drive.”
Your libido is influenced by:
- biological factors, such as testosterone and estrogen levels
- psychological factors, such as stress levels
- social factors, such as intimate relationships
High libido is difficult to define since the baseline for “normal” libido depends on the person. It’s different for everybody.
One person’s “normal” may be a desire for sex once a day, while someone else’s “normal” is having zero sex drive.Is there such a thing as ‘too high’?
This is also known as hypersexuality or out of control sexual behavior (OCSB).
Signs of sexual compulsion often include:
- Your sexual behavior is having a negative impact on other areas of your life, such as your health, relationships, work, etc.
- You’ve repeatedly tried to limit or stop your sexual behavior but can’t.
- You’re secretive about your sexual behavior.
- You feel dependent on your sexual behavior.
- You don’t feel fulfilled when you substitute other activities for your sexual behavior.
- You use sexual behavior to escape from problems, such as anger, stress, depression, loneliness, or anxiety.
- You have difficulty establishing and maintaining stable, healthy relationships due to your sexual behavior.
What causes compulsive sexual behavior?
The causes of compulsive sexual behavior haven’t been clearly established yet.
Potential causes include:
- Neurotransmitter imbalance. Compulsive sexual behavior may be related to high levels of chemicals in your brain known as neurotransmitters (think dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) that help regulate your mood.
- Medication. Some dopamine agonist medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease may cause compulsive sexual behavior.
- Health conditions. Parts of the brain that affect sexual behavior may be damaged by conditions such as epilepsy and dementia.
If you feel that you’ve lost control of your sexual behavior, help is available.
Sexual behavior is deeply personal, making it difficult for some people to seek help if they’re having any sexual issues.
- You’re not alone. There are many people also dealing with sexual problems.
- The right treatment can help improve the quality of your life.
- Your doctor will keep your information confidential.
Your libido isn’t quantifiable on a one-size-fits-all scale. Everybody has their own standard libido. If your sex drive drops from that standard, you’re experiencing low libido. If your sex drive increases from that standard, you’re experiencing high libido. If your sex drive starts interfering with your quality of life, speak to a doctor or other healthcare provider. You can also speak to a mental health therapist who specializes in human sexuality. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) has a nationwide directory of certified sex therapists.References:
Derbyshire K, et al. (2015). Compulsive sexual behavior: A review of the literature. DOI:
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Compulsive sexual behavior.
Sexual dysfunction & disorders. (2015).
Yes, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond. (2017).