How Burnout Affects Your Sex Drive

Apr 7, 2021

Dr. Ashley Margeson, ND

Dr. Ashley Margeson, ND


Burnout isn’t just a mental reaction to stressors, there is also a physical reaction that can come along with chronic burnout. Long term stress, leading to burnout, will eventually affect your sex drive, whether you are male or female.


Burnout’s attack on your libido, or sex drive, is innate. Think about it, if you’re constantly running away from a bear (or if your body thinks that you are running away from a bear), we don’t need to procreate, we need to survive. Stress increases your body’s most important functions for survival, like blood flow and an increased heart rate, while diminishing non-essential functions, like sex.

It’s not even a fight or flight response that gets triggered in long term stress; there is also a hormonal change. As your burnout progresses, your body increases it’s output of adrenaline and cortisol, while down regulating the production of less “survival-focused” hormones like progesterone and testosterone. For women, this can lead to a decrease in the ovulation window (where your testosterone and sex drive is supposed to be highest). For men, this can lead to a decrease in testosterone production overall.

And, as we’ve learnt about burnout before – there are a whole myriad of symptoms that come along with it. From symptoms of depression and anxiety, to changes in metabolism and weight changes; all these symptoms can impact our sex drive. Understanding where the decrease in your sex drive has come from is one of our jobs at Cornerstone Naturopathic. Getting a plan together to get you back up and running? That’s something we figure out together.


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