Doc Q: Do you feel hot or not? Dr Rhys Young on libido

dr rhys young libido sex drive

Dr Rhys Young asks has COVID increased or decreased your libido? Do you feel hot, or not? How’s your sex drive? Doc Q has the answers.

Dr Rhys Young is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and has a special interest in LGBTQ+ individual & family health. He believes in the importance of good sexual health, STI screening & prevention, including PrEP prescribing.

Hi readers, I want to introduce myself as your new Doc Q. My name is Dr Rhys Young and I’m a Brisbane GP. I love all things LGBTI+ and sexual health. History doesn’t look favourably on the way medicine has cared for our community, so we’ve got a lot of work to do! I’m passionate about empowering people to take control of their health and I hope this shows in my writing.

More importantly, I want to thank the phenomenal DocQ, Dr Fiona Bisshop. She is an advocate and absolute champion of LGBTI+ health and a great role model. Her work for the LGBTI+ community is second to none. As DocQ, she left big shoes to fill, but I’m up for a challenge! I hope to channel her eloquence and wisdom with a bit of that classic DocQ-humour.

Has COVID affected your sex drive?

If your sex drive isn’t what it used to be, you’re not alone. The COVID pandemic impacted our jobs, home life, toilet paper supplies, and yearly trips to Bali. Now you can add a change to libido to the list.

What’s a libido?

Your sex drive (aka libido) is your craving for sexual pleasure. It can be for solo fun or playing with others. Your sex drive will ebb and flow and can vary drastically from person to person. There’s no ‘normal’. But the changes might not feel that crash hot.

Right now, pandemic stress is a pervasive influence. Not a day goes by without a reminder of good-old Coronavirus. Even when we’re not directly impacted, the pandemic is all around and so is the stress.

When you’re under stress, the body’s number one goal is survival. I’d compare it to our stone-age relatives. If a bear (not the fun type) attacks your village, you become a bit on edge. Your body instinctively drops your libido – the last thing you want is for that bear to return when you have your pants around your ankles (again, not the fun type of bear). But eventually, the bear doesn’t come back, you chill and your sex drive goes back to baseline. Right now, that bear is the COVID pandemic.

If your sex drive has risen over the last year, there’s a reason for that too: sex is a natural stress reliever! When the world feels scary, people are drawn to things that make them feel safe like physical intimacy. But remember, an increased sex drive isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it can feel as uncomfortable as a drop in libido.

dr rhys young libido
Dr Rhys Young, Gasworks Medical Practice

What to do about it?

What you do about your libido will depend on how you feel about it. If the change doesn’t concern you, then keep on keepin’ on. If it’s not that great, remember that the changes aren’t permanent.

I recommend checking in with your GP if you’re concerned. There are lots of things that can impact libido: alcohol, sleep, medications, medical conditions or problems like painful sex or erectile dysfunction.

There are ways to help if stress fueled by the pandemic lessened your libido. If you are single, take the time to build other types of connections in relationships – a date need not always lead to sex. If you have a regular partner, tell them about your changes and how they can help. Put the focus on intimacy — a conversation over dinner, listening to a podcast together, or a shoulder massage.

The bottom line: If your libido changed during the COVID pandemic, you’re not alone. It’s a normal response to a stressful situation. To resume normal service, check in with your healthcare team.

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Dr Rhys Young

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