Why Am I So Horny? 9 Causes Of High Libido & What To Do 

Why Am I So Horny? 9 Causes Of High Libido, In Case You're Curious

Image by mbg Creative x Valeriya Simantovskaya

While low libido is a cause for concern for many people, others may wonder why their libido is always so high. Overall, libido is an incredibly individual feeling, and there's no such thing as being "too horny." If your desire is interfering with your ability to focus in daily life, here are a few potential causes and how to get that sexual energy out.

Factors that can affect libido, aka how horny you are:

1. Hormones

When thinking about hormones and sex drive, testosterone often comes to mind. Indeed, testosterone is linked to sexual functioning and desire across genders, and when your testosterone is high, your libido may be higher too. Lots of lifestyle factors and bodily processes are associated with increases in testosterone, such as regular exercise, ovulation, or hitting puberty, among many others.

While testosterone is linked to libido, naturopathic doctor and sexologist Jordin Wiggins, N.D., says it's more nuanced than that. Both estrogen and progesterone also affect libido. "Estrogen is more clearly linked with physiological arousal (blood flow to the genitals, vaginal lubrication)," certified relationship and sex therapist Indigo Stray Conger, LMFT, CST, tells mbg.

Beyond that, Wiggins says it's also important to look at the hormones that contribute to pleasure, connection, and arousal, like dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones tend to be flaring when we're at the height of romance, which is why libido can sometimes seem higher at the start of a new relationship.

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2. Diet

Certain foods, sometimes labeled aphrodisiacs, are believed to increase libido in some people. According to osteopathic OB/GYN Anna Cabeca, D.O., both chocolate and cheese contain a substance called phenylethylamine (PEA). The substance is a "natural amphetamine manufactured by the brain in response to the feeling of love," she says. "And PEA is believed to be responsible for that hormonal rush during sex."

Research is still inconclusive as to how effective aphrodisiacs really are for increasing libido, but some common aphrodisiacs like oysters, avocados, and omega-3 fats do contain vitamins and minerals that support overall health, including hormone health and therefore sexual health. 

3. Alcohol

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In general, many people find that alcohol can make them feel more horny. That said, the relationship between alcohol and sex drive is complicated. A 1995 review published in the journal Recent Developments in Alcoholism says, "Alcohol consumption increases subjective sexual desire, arousal, and pleasure for many women, although it lowers physiological arousal."

This may be because alcohol increases testosterone in people with vaginas but then decreases genital responsiveness, making it more difficult to orgasm. The physiological effects aside, the lowered inhibitions sometimes produced by alcohol can also simply make people more open to sex than they ordinarily would be when sober.

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4. Frequent masturbation 

Masturbating frequently can both directly and indirectly increase libido. "When we ignore our body's drive and arousal cues for too long through distraction, stress, or lack of a partner, those cues begin to go dormant," Stray Conger explains. So, the more someone engages in sexual activity of any kind, including masturbation, the easier it is to become physiologically aroused.  

More directly, Wiggins says, "It can also increase the release of hormones, like dopamine and testosterone." And while masturbating is often a solo sport, it can also help to increase pleasure with a partner. "Individuals who masturbate often know what they like and how to communicate it to their partner so, therefore, report greater satisfaction in relationships and better intimacy and sexual communication," Wiggins says. 

5. Menstrual cycle

If you've ever felt horny before or during your period, you're not alone. The hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout the menstrual cycle can both increase and decrease libido. Reproductive endocrinologist Sheeva Talebian, M.D., explains that both testosterone and estrogen peak during ovulation (about 14 days before the period), and the influx of both hormones tends to heighten sex drive. 

During the period, OB/GYN and integrative women's health expert Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, M.D., says there is an increase in blood flow to the pelvic and genital regions. Similar to an increased blood flow to the penis during an erection, blood flow to the vagina may increase desire. (And yes, it is generally safe to have sex during your period.)

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6. Pregnancy

There are a couple of factors that could increase sexual arousal during pregnancy. "All that estrogen in women's bodies can improve their sex drive," functional medicine doctor and OB/GYN Wendie Trubow, M.D., says. "Additionally, there's a lot more blood flow going to the genital areas, which increases and improves sensation." According to her, all of these feelings are "totally normal and good!"

Unless a doctor or OB/GYN advises against sex and orgasms while pregnant, it's perfectly safe to engage. If sex becomes uncomfortable further into your pregnancy, you may need to try a different position. For heterosexual couples, Trubow recommends having the woman lie on her side with the male partner behind her. For two female partners, the pregnant person will probably still be more comfortable on her side, Trubow says, but her partner doesn't have to be behind.

7. Your bladder

For people with vaginas, a full bladder could potentially make you feel horny. Because the clitoris, vagina, and urethra are all so close to one another, a full bladder can put pressure on the genitals and stimulate arousal. The placement of these body parts, unfortunately, also increases the risk of developing UTIs from sex.

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8. Seasons 

Some studies have pointed toward a drop in male testosterone (and therefore libido) in the summer and a subsequent peak in the fall, drawing a connection between sex drive and seasonal changes

Changes in mood triggered by seasonal changes can also affect sex drive. "If you are someone who has seasonal depression, you may also notice a drop in libido during these times," Wiggins says. "Women with low sexual desire are far more likely to experience symptoms of depression than women who do not have low sexual desire, highlighting how closely linked mental health and libido really are," she says. 

While most people associate seasonal affective disorder with winter, the symptoms can also occur in the summertime. According to psychiatrist Roxanna Namavar, D.O., seasonal affective disorder is a response to the drastic change in weather and sunlight—which occurs both at the end of fall and the end of spring.

9. Situational factors

There are plenty of situational factors that can cause someone to feel horny. "What's really important to understand about female desire in most cases is that it isn't usually spontaneous," certified sex coach Gigi Engle tells mbg. "Sexual desire is a bio-psychosocial event. Meaning, for desire to occur, we need the right number of factors to be in play." A few common factors that can turn someone on in the moment are new relationships, erotically charged situations, or people you find attractive:

  • New relationships: The "honeymoon phase" often describes the beginning of a relationship when two partners can't keep their hands off each other. During this part of the relationship, Engle says couples' brains tend to be awash in feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine. "That's why we feel so sexually aroused and horny all the time in new relationships," she explains. "We don't need many of the other situational factors because we're so high on 'new relationship energy."'
  • Erotically charged situations: According to Engle, any type of sexually charged situation, like sexting, dirty talk, or watching erotic materials, can trigger desire and arousal in the brain. "This factors in the psycho-social aspects of desire," she says.
  • Being around people you find attractive: Naturally, when you're around someone you find attractive, it can make you feel horny. Especially if the two of you are flirty or touchy with one another. "Being around people you think are hot is creating your own micro-erotic climate," Engle says. "You'll wind up hornier because those people are acting as activating events for your desire."

(Here's more on contexts that turn women on.)

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Is there such a thing as being too horny?

There's nothing wrong with frequently feeling horny. In fact, a healthy sex drive and sex life are important for overall health and quality of life. "Sexuality is normal and healthy, and having sex in any amount is a positive contributor to both mental and physical health," Stray Conger says.

Some people will naturally have a higher sex drive than others, which is only a problem if it's distracting or disruptive for the particular individual experiencing it.

"Being too horny is a thing when it becomes a problem for you and causes difficulties in your life," clinical sexologist and sex therapist Cyndi Darnell tells mbg. If that's the case, some of the methods for releasing sexual energy below can help, as can speaking with a reputable sexuality professional.

What about hypersexuality?

Hypersexuality has been defined in research as the "inability to regulate one's sexual behavior that is a source of significant personal distress," though the concept is hotly debated among experts. Not all experts agree that it's a real condition, and it is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Likewise, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists states that there's not enough empirical evidence to support the existence of "sex addiction."

All that said, if your experiences around sexuality and desire feel distressing or out of control, it's worth reaching out to a sex therapist or other sexuality professional for support.

"It is understood that out-of-control sexual behavior, as referred to by skilled professionals, is a thing, but it's not a disease as such," Darnell says. "It's about a balanced relationship with sexuality, pleasure, values, and emotions."

How to deal with horny feelings:

Have sex regularly.

If you're feeling horny and have a consenting partner, have sex. Not only does frequent intimacy increase overall satisfaction in a relationship, but sex also boasts health benefits, like lowering stress and increasing cognitive functioning, according to sex therapist Sara Sloan, Ph.D., LMFT-A. In fact, she recommends having sex every 48 hours.

Masturbate.

One of the easiest ways to get your sexual energy out is through masturbation. "Somatic techniques and mindful masturbation are a great way to energize the body and release stored erotic energy," Darnell says. "Tantric practices can also be helpful, moving sexual energy around the body to use in other ways."

There are many other health benefits of masturbation, too.

Find other sexual outlets.

Virtual sex and phone sex are creative ways to get your sexual energy out without actually engaging in any physical acts if you don't want to. Watching porn, either with a partner or on your own, can also help scratch the itch. (Here: our guide to finding ethical porn.)

Exercise.

While it's definitely a different type of physical activity, exercising can also help lower stress and release feel-good hormones. In that sense, engaging in exercise may release some built-up sexual tension in the body.

Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness meditations are meant to help people connect with their breath and focus on the present moment. This technique has often been used to help treat addiction and in that same sense may help with compulsive sexual behaviors if they begin to interfere with your daily life. Some people use meditation as a way of getting the effects of masturbation without doing it.

When to get help.

If feeling horny begins interfering with work, relationships, or other areas of life, or if it feels significantly distressing to you, reach out to a reputable sexuality professional such as a sex therapist. It may also be important to get help if you're engaging in risky sexual behaviors that could have a potentially damaging impact on your health, Stray Conger adds.

One of the biggest hang-ups for people who feel horny often is shame. According to Megwyn White, certified clinical sexologist and director of education at Satisfyer, this shame is often due to a stigma around the topic of sexuality and masturbation. A sexuality professional can also support you in working through these negative feelings so you can feel more at peace with yourself.

The bottom line.

There are plenty of everyday factors that can make you feel hornier than normal. Some of them can be controlled, like what we eat and how often we masturbate. Others, like our hormonal fluctuations or the change in seasons, are inevitable.

"It's important to recognize that it's totally normal when you feel horny," White says, noting that feeling horny is just your body sending you a message about what it wants and what feels good. Unless your high libido is interfering with your daily life, there's nothing wrong with those sexual urges.

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