Why sex may be the last thing on his mind

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Low libido can be described as a decrease in or a lack of desire for sexual activity. Both men and women suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (low libido) but since June is a month to celebrate fathers and pay attention to men’s health issues, we will focus on the causes and management of male low libido.

The number one reason a patient schedules a visit at my practice is because of sexual problems. “I think there might be a problem with my libido” is something I hear on a daily basis. It is important to understand that it is perfectly normal to lose interest in sex from time to time. It is also normal for you and your partner’s libidos to not to be in sync all the time. But if the decrease in or total lack of sexual activity persists over a period of time, it might an indicator that something is wrong. Let’s go through the most common causes of low libido in men.

“Testosterone is quintessential male hormone. It is what make men, men. It is common for testosterone to drop as you age, but if the drop is drastic it can cause low libido as well as erectile dysfunction.”

Drop in testosterone levels

Testosterone is quintessential male hormone. It is what make men, men. It is common for testosterone to drop as you age, but if the drop is drastic it can cause low libido as well as erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone can not only wreak havoc on your sex life but it can cause depression, diabetes and an increase risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as a drop in your bone density. If you are worried about your testosterone levels talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Stress

We all have to deal with stress on a daily basis. But ongoing stress can cause your cortisol levels to skyrocket. Cortisol plays a vital role in modulating the immune system, regulating blood sugar and keeping blood pressure steady. High levels of cortisol can suppress the production of testosterone and low testosterone equals low libido.

Chronic illnesses

This is self-explanatory; if you’re not feeling well you won’t be in the mood to get kinky. But there are certain conditions that can have serious effects on your sex life. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions globally. Diabetes can have an effect on your testosterone, but it can also affect the small blood vessels and tiny nerves of the penis. If those blood vessels and nerves are damaged, it can result in erectile dysfunction. That said, any condition that affects the nerves or blood vessels of the penis can cause erectile dysfunction and the stress of getting it up can cause low libido. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, prostate problems, depression, cancer … the list goes on. Any chronic illness can influence your sex life.

Certain medications

Chronic illnesses are common, which means that many men need medication to deal with these conditions. But some of these drugs can be tough on your libido. The most common culprits are high blood pressure medication, especially diuretics and beta blockers, antidepressants and antihistamines. Don’t suffer in silence. If you feel that your medication might affect your libido, talk to your doctor. It might be possible to change to a more sex-friendly option.

What next?

I know it can be very difficult to talk about sexual problems, especially for men. But low libido is not just about sex. It can be an indication that something else more serious is wrong. The good news is that low libido can be managed.

The first step it to find out what the cause is. If it is purely because of low testosterone, your doctor can start you on testosterone replacement therapy. But it is very important to understand that testosterone replacement will suppress testicular function resulting in infertility. In general, testosterone replacement is advised for older men who completed their families. If your testosterone is low and you are below the age of 40, you should rather address the cause of the low testosterone. If your sexual problems are a result of an underlying illness, it is important to manage that condition optimally. Your sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol should be the best it can be.

This article was specifically written for BabyYumYum by our expert Dr Jireh Serfontein and can also be found on her blog.

Boost your libido by:

  • Following a healthy diet
  • Geting enough sleep
  • Managing your stress better
  • Exercising three times a week 

Also read:

M is for masturbation
Picking up where the sexual revolution left off: The orgasm gap