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What Is Libido? A Common Symptom Explained

So, what is libido? It’s more likely that low libido is your concern. First, let’s back up a bit and talk about why you’re searching for this in the first place.


If you’ve been experiencing sexual issues and you’ve started to do your research, you’ve probably come across this word term “low libido.” Libido is a word you’ll find used repeatedly in sexual health literature, and generally, low libido is presenting as a symptom.

The symptom of low or non-existent libido, while prevalent across a wide variety of sexual issues and illnesses, is used fairly often in the medical community without much explanation — it’s considered a common term, at this point.

Whether we’re talking about erectile dysfunction, low testosterone in men or women, menopause, or a number of other illnesses and issues, low libido is a symptom that just keeps rearing its ugly head.

So, What Is Libido? Simply Put, Libido Is Your Sex Drive, Your Desire to Have Sex, and Low Libido Is a Lack of This Natural Desire

Let’s answer the question: What is libido?

To simplify a very complicated matter, libido is not your ability to have sex, but your desire to have sex.

To make a simple contrast, erectile dysfunction is a lack of the ability to have sex, even if the desire is still present, while low libido is the lack of desire to have sex, even if you have the ability.

We see low/non-existent libido from time to time as a symptom of low testosterone, both in men and women.

While these people still retain the ability to have sex — they don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, or other physical issues — they may not want to have sex as much as they once did, or they may not want to have sex at all.

If you’re wondering, “What is libido, anyway?” Here is your answer:

If you have the capacity to have sex, you feel like you normally would want to have sex given the circumstances, but your normal level of desire seems to be missing, then you’re probably exhibiting this common symptom — low libido.

Low libido is also a symptom of low testosterone in women, believe it or not (and yes, women can have low testosterone too). Women undergoing menopause may also experience a lack of libido.

Allow me to use my go-to analogy here, but let me preface it by saying that a “healthy libido” my look very different from relationship to relationship, and so it can be just as much about what your significant other desires and/or needs as about your own biological urge for intimacy.

So, onto the analogy…

Let’s say you like cake—pretty much everyone likes cake, right?

Now, let’s assume it’s 6PM and you haven’t eaten all day. You are in our hypothetical room, sitting at a hypothetical table, and someone sets your favorite cake in front of you; it’s much larger than one slice, but not so large that you wouldn’t devour it in one sitting.

Now, let’s say that 30 minutes after finishing your generous portion of your favorite cake, in walks someone with another slice of your favorite cake and offers it to you.

In this scenario, you would likely say, “No thank you.” as your appetite has been sated; in that moment, your desire for it is gone. Well, certainly, you have not forgotten that this is your favorite cake, right?!

Surely, you could mentally acknowledge that you do in fact like cake, and that this is the type of cake you like the most.

But, mentally acknowledging that you like something you consider to be good, and having a healthy, and present desire for it, are two different things.

When it comes to libido and how we assess if it is normal for you, understand that we are not asking “do you like sex?” The question is, “do you feel that your desire/appetite for sex is normal and healthy?”

What Is Libido, or More Accurately, a Lack of Libido, Caused By? It Could Be Low Testosterone, No Matter Your Sex

Both men and women can suffer from low testosterone.

Even though a woman’s normal testosterone levels are only about 1/10th of a man’s levels, it still plays a critical role in a woman’s level of sexual desire, or libido.

For men, this is often a fairly obvious problem — they say, “Well, of course! If my testosterone is low, then it would explain why my libido is low.” I think this is because it is quite common to equate testosterone with manliness and sexual virility.

However, testosterone plays a strong role in sexual desire, regardless of your sex.

Women need testosterone, just as men do, and even though a woman’s total amount is much lower to start with, a small change can still have a significant effect on your quality of life.

If you’re asking yourself, “What is libido?” There’s a good chance you’re suffering from a lack of it, and low testosterone could be the culprit.

Click the button to learn more about our $25 Low T Test and how you can get a little peace of mind by ruling out low testosterone as a cause of your symptoms.

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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

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