Seasonal decreased libido syndrome exists and is recognized as a separate entity. In people who consult for sexual desire difficulties, we must look for several possible causes including this seasonal drop in libido.
A frequent syndrome
This syndrome affects nearly 5 to 10% of adults. These are not small slumps that each or everyone may have had on the sexual level but real loss of libido, bothersome and uncontrollable, throughout the autumn-winter period with a return to a satisfactory libido in spring summer.
Who is concerned ?
Experts usually say this mostly affects people under 50 and especially women before menopause.
It is likely that this is in fact present regardless of age except that after fifty, it is easily confused with other causes of low libido (menopause, life events, health problems, etc.) is more difficult to identify but it probably exists at any age.
Seasonal affective disorder
This drop in libido is rarely isolated. People who have a seasonal drop in libido very often have other symptoms that they systematically experience during the winter: intense fatigue that can go as far as a state of lethargy, sleep that becomes very heavy with a need to sleep very increased, great difficulty waking up in the morning, low morale, increased appetite especially for sugar and a need to withdraw into oneself with loss of desire to see friends, family etc …
This is called seasonal affective disorder or seasonal pattern depression. It is an entity which has been recognized by the medical world for more than 20 years and which clearly appears in the DSM which is the reference manual for the classification of mental disorders.
In many cases, low libido is the most visible and bothersome symptom, especially for people who live in a relationship.
How to explain this phenomenon ?
Not all neurophysiological explanations are known to fully understand this phenomenon.
- Some people seem to have an excessive neurobiological sensitivity to the change in light during the winter period. It could therefore correspond above all to a matter of light which disturbs serotonin and not of temperature.
- They are also people who can also experience jetlag or change of hours very badly. Probably there is an excessive disruption of their biological clock.
- There is even a newer drug called Bremelanotide which improves libido and the main effect of which is to stimulate receptors which are usually stimulated by exposure to sunlight.
This link between libido and light is therefore real and deserves more research to better understand it.
How to remedy this disorder?
Three simple tips:
- Seek the light. Exposure as much as possible to daylight, especially in the first half of the day (going out or even standing near the window) and if you have the means, invest in a light therapy lamp. You will easily find them these days.
- Do physical exercise even if it is at a minimum, even if it is taking steps at home or moving your limbs like gentle gymnastics. Do not seek performance but simply to move.
- Listen and follow the rhythm of sleep and if necessary take melatonin at the end of the evening to regulate this rhythm of sleep.
If despite this, the discomfort remains great, then it is necessary to consult a doctor to verify that it is indeed a seasonal affective disorder and to see for a medical treatment (certain antidepressants which act on the cycle of the sleep seem to give of good results when necessary).
Difficulties for the partner
These elements help to improve but unfortunately this may not be enough to find a harmonious sex life in a couple. Indeed, the consequences of this seasonal decrease in libido can themselves become a cause of sexual difficulty.
If in a couple one of the two goes through a period of seasonal decrease in libido, the other also suffers it by ricochet.
The most common reactions in partners in this case are as follows: “Does he / she really love me“, “Is there another reason besides fatigue that keeps her away from me like this?” . Other questions lose the spontaneity between the two and add to the heaviness of the situation, which does not help the return of libido.
Other classic reactions: “Since she / he needs to be alone, okay, I’ll leave her / him alone, I’ll take care of it differently”…so I’m going to go away necessarily. This adds to the drop in libido.
Advice for these couples
- Realize that this is a known neuropsychic phenomenon and not a problem related to the relationship in the couple.
- Do not try to regain libido at all costs, no one can force themselves to want by simple will. On the other hand, keep physical contact, moments of non-sexual intimacy, emotional gestures of tenderness, “hugs”. Sexological studies show that couples who are used to having physical contact (holding hands, hugging, touching, brushing, etc.) are more likely to have a regular sex life.
- Talk about this subject together. It doesn’t matter how, but talking about it makes it possible to find a solution for two, a kind of compromise that works for both. There are exciting studies that have shown that couples who have a mismatch in their libido are more likely to find a solution when they are looking for it together than when one is looking for it alone.
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