Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos
The desire for sex, also called libido, changes throughout one’s life. Sometimes this change can be due to a negligible issue like lack of sleep, while other times, it can be due to a serious underlying problem such as hormone imbalance. Whatever the cause might be, removing it can help a man restore his sex drive.
In this article, we will talk about common causes of low sex drive, but before we do that, let’s first see what low sex drive actually is.
A low sex drive means little to no interest in sex or any kind of sexual activity. It tends to decrease with age in men but it can affect men of all ages.
Having no sexual interest for a short period of time may not cause concern for some people as it is normal, but if you have it for a long time period and it is affecting your relationship with your partner, we suggest you consult with a doctor as it could be due to a serious underlying health problem.
Sometimes men confuse low libido with erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the inability to gain and retain an erection. While both conditions can co-exist in a person, they are entirely different from each other.
Low sex drive can be due to a single factor or a combination of different factors. Some of these factors might be:
Stress has become a major health problem. According to the American Institute of Stress, 33% of people feel extreme stress and 77% of people believe that stress affects their physical health.
When you are stressed, certain changes occur in your body. For instance, your body starts releasing the stress hormone ‘cortisol,’ your heartbeat increases, your blood arteries narrow down, and your blood flow gets restricted. All these changes somewhat affect your sexual desire and potentially cause ED.
Depression can affect your physical, social, and sexual life in many ways. With depression, you become disinterested in things you once enjoyed, for instance, sex.
Depression can alter your biochemistry, making you no longer interested in sex. Low sex drive is also a side effect of the antidepressant. If you are already taking them, your low libido might be due to the medications.
While improving libido is important, you should first focus on getting rid of depression. Talk to your partner about your mental health and the side effects of medications. Discuss the matter with your doctor as well; they may suggest another medication that does not affect libido.
When a person experiences pain and fatigue due to a serious illness, survival becomes his priority, and his body does not care much about sex hormone production.
Certain illnesses such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer directly affect the synthesis of sex hormones; as a result, your sex drive declines. These illnesses may also cause depression, another cause of low sex drive. Moreover, low sex drive may also be a side effect of medications people use to treat these illnesses.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for developing secondary sexual characteristics in men, increasing their muscle mass, and improving their bone strength. Its concentration fluctuates throughout a man’s life. It is at its peak in your late teens and early twenties, while its level starts dropping when you cross 30.
According to the American Urological Association (AUA), normal testosterone levels in men range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). If your testosterone levels are below 300 ng/dL, you might have low testosterone (low T) condition that may reduce your sex drive.
Low T is a common problem in older men, but younger men can also experience it due to a medical condition such as head injury, testicular cancer, etc. Restoring their testosterone levels may help them improve their libido.
Sleep is another factor that disturbs the sex drive. When you are sleep deprived, you would rather try to get some sleep than think about sex. Lack of sleep also increases cortisol levels, which reduces testosterone levels.
Another problem is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which your upper airway gets nearly closed or narrowed, cutting off breathing temporarily during sleep. A study shows that one-third of men suffering from OSA have low T, which is known to affect libido.
In men, testosterone levels decrease by 1% every year after age 30, which may reduce their sex drive and cause trouble in getting an erection. It shows that a gradual reduction in sex drive is a natural part of ageing in men.
Smoking for a long time period has a detrimental effect on the sexual life of both men and women. It can reduce sex drive in the following ways:
Alcohol abuse can damage your mental, physical, and sexual life. When you consume too much alcohol, your nervous system fails to perform normally, making it difficult to become sexually attracted and gain an erection.
Certain drugs can also reduce your interest in sex. For instance, marijuana makes the pituitary gland stop producing a normal amount of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the testicles to release testosterone.
Couples who fight a lot or have unresolved relationship issues may feel distant from each other and have no desire to be intimate.
Whatever is affecting your relationship with your partner, know that communication is the absolute solution. Discuss the problem with your partner when you both are relaxed and try to find a way out.
If you cannot sort out the problem, reaching out to a relationship counsellor might be a good option.
Men who have had negative sexual experiences tend to avoid sex to not have a bad experience again. This behaviour can gradually reduce their sex drive.
For instance, if your partner is hard to please and is very critical, you may lose interest in having sex with her because it is no longer a pleasing experience for you; rather, it lowers your self-confidence and affects your mental health.
Certain medications, such as anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and statins, can reduce your libido to varying degrees. Adjusting the dose or changing the medication may help solve this problem.
Men who are not confident in their body structure and feel unattractive are more likely to avoid sex. They may also have a fear of rejection. All these things gradually make them disinterested in sex.
Low sex drive is a treatable problem. Its treatment can vary from person to person. If you think you do not show interest in sexual activities and it is affecting your relationship with your partner, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will likely run different tests to diagnose the underlying issue and then offer a solution accordingly.
Here are the three possible ways that can help you improve your low sex drive.
Poor lifestyle habits can kill your sex drive in no time. These habits include smoking, drinking, and not getting enough sleep.
You should replace poor lifestyle choices with healthier ones, for instance:
Reach out to a behavioural therapist to discuss the problem and find its effective solution. The therapist will help you discover the emotional cause of your low sex drive and will also share practical tips to help you get rid of low libido.
If the cause of your low sex drive is low testosterone, TRT can be an efficient solution. It is a hormone therapy used to increase your testosterone levels if your body is unable to produce enough of it.
TRT has different forms based on how the testosterone is administered in your body, for instance, injections, gels, creams, and skin patches.
Before starting this therapy, your doctor will first find out how low your testosterone level is by conducting testosterone blood tests. He will run a few other tests to determine whether this treatment plan is suitable for you or not. He will prescribe a testosterone dose based on your serum testosterone levels.
A man can experience low sex drive for multiple reasons, such as poor lifestyle habits, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and low T. Low sex drive may not cause you any concern if it is not affecting your relationship with your partner. But if you think you are suffering due to this issue, you should not hesitate to reach out to us by clicking the button above and discuss your options.
Viana Jr, A., Daflon, A.C., Couto, A., Neves, D., de Araujo-Melo, M.H. and Capasso, R., 2017. Nocturnal hypoxemia is associated with low testosterone levels in overweight males and older men with normal weight. Journal of clinical sleep medicine, 13(12), pp.1395-1401.
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