A health expert has said the unprecedented economic hardship that has left millions of Nigerians struggling to make ends meet could cause low sex drive (low libido) among couples.
Libido refers to sexual desire and the emotion and mental energy relating to sex.
Abubakar Abubakar, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto State, who spoke with Punch stated that low libido is a decrease in sexual desire and was common but could be temporary or for a long time.
He further explains that libido varies among individuals, could fluctuate throughout life and could be caused by other factors, including diseases, lifestyle changes, medications, hormonal changes, unresolved relationship issues, traumatic sexual experiences and past surgeries like mastectomy.
Abubakar explained, “Libido is complex and is influenced by a lot of other factors such as physical, social, biological and psychological causes. Economic hardship, which belongs to the psychological and social factors, can lead to decreased drive in anyone and can cause relationship problems among partners.
“But the economic hardship also depends on the individuals. For those who are affluent, no matter the hardship, they are not affected and it does not have any effect on them. But for the common men and the middle class, the fuel subsidy removal, exchange rate and inflation have taken a downturn on the day-to-day life activity.”
The gynaecologist, however, said that for some couples who are average earners and workaholics, the situation might have forced them to stay at home more and concentrate on the relationship.
Abubakar further noted that economic hardship can lead to financial stress, which also impacts stress levels and libido.
“Stress and libido are intricately linked because financial stress can affect a man by adversely impacting his sleep, self-esteem and energy levels. It can lead some men to be ashamed, fearful or angry and this may cause some tensions and arguments among couples.
“So when the relationship is already affected, you cannot be talking of libido because sex is a two-way traffic even if the man does not have the desire and the woman has the desire and there is a problem in the relationship, the ego will step in and there will be no encounter. It is no secret that the problem of money can be a huge source of relationship fights.
“Most surveys report money as the biggest source of stress in relationships. Economic hardship will lead to decreased libido because money is widely known as the leading cause of divorce.
“After all, financial problem constitutes 20-30 per cent of all divorces. Stress and exhaustion can reduce one’s sex drive by taking one’s mind off sexual desire because other things are occupying your mind. Sex needs a lot of concentration and once there is anything that takes away that concentration, it reduces the sex drive,” the don said.