3 Common Causes for Low Sex Drive in Men
Low sex drive or low libido is a common issue that can affect both men and women, but men tend to be less open to talking about it since virility plays such a central role in our definition of manhood. We have this idea that real men should always be in the mood for sex, although that couldn’t be further from the truth.
This disruption of sexual activity, combined with the reluctance to discuss it, can create tension in a relationship leading to doubt and feelings of inadequacy in both partners. With honesty and empathy, the couple will be able to identify the underlying cause and seek appropriate treatment, which can include lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, or medications.
Testosterone is an important male hormone produced mostly in the testicles but also by the adrenal glands, and it’s used in the process of building bone mass and muscles, as well as in sperm production.
Normal testosterone levels can vary, but according to the American Urological Association (AUA), adult men with a level below 300 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliters) are considered to have low testosterone. Testosterone levels play a vital role in your sex drive, so once they fall below a certain threshold, your desire for sex decreases.
Decreasing testosterone levels can be a normal part of the aging process or can result from taking certain medications. If you are experiencing problems, you should consult your doctor, who will take a look at what medications you’re currently on and run some tests. They can prescribe supplements or gels that will increase your testosterone levels. Medications like Cialis can also help in the short-term.
We already mentioned that certain medications can decrease testosterone levels resulting in low sex drive for men. Since this is such a common cause, more details are necessary.
Chemotherapy, radiations, and the hormones used to treat prostate cancer can lower your testosterone. ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, typically used to treat high blood pressure, may make it difficult to ejaculate or have an erection.
Anabolic steroids, commonly referred to simply as steroids, are synthetic substances that mimic testosterone and are used to increase athletic performance and build muscle mass faster. However, they can cause significant health problems (i.e., liver damage, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, and tumors), including infertility, shrunken testicles, erectile dysfunction, and loss of sex drive.
Corticosteroids are not to be confused with anabolic steroids and are typically prescribed to reduce swelling. Taken long term and in high doses (for example, to treat chronic pain), they may affect testosterone levels and libido.
Other medications that interfere with testosterone levels and sex drive in men are:
- Opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone and morphine
- Ketoconazole – an antifungal medication
- Some antidepressants
- Cimetidine – an H2 receptor blocker used to treat conditions associated with excessive stomach acid such as heartburn
Chronic stress (stress over an extended period) can interfere with your hormone levels and cause your arteries to narrow – two factors that can lead to erectile dysfunction. Moreover, whatever life changes are creating this stress can be very distracting, which will affect your sexual desire.
The results of a 2012 study published in Scientific Research and Essays support the link between high levels of stress and sexual problems in both men and women.
Another 2013 study done on veterans with PTSD showed that stress disorders triple the risk of developing sexual dysfunction.
Stress can be hard to avoid, especially in our fast-paced modern world, but psychotherapy sessions, mediation, and breathing exercises can help you increase your resilience to it.