Sexual desire is different for everyone and fluctuates naturally over the course of your life. There can be normal dips during times of stress and a decline as you age of the many reasons he might not feel up for it as much.
Low libido is fairly common. However, it is also an issue that men don’t like to talk about because they think men should be ‘up for sex’ all the time, which is a myth perpetuated by mass media and porn. But in reality, it is more complex than we think. Here’s what to know about sex drive and the reasons behind a decreased sex drive in men.
What is low sex drive?
There’s no set amount of interest in sex that’s defined as high or low, and it’s our fixation with the term ‘normal’ which makes it an issue. Some men struggle with wanting sex once or twice a week based on the belief that men should be much more sexually active, while others deal with more complex factors that affect their sex drive. These can range from relationship issues, finding you partner unattractive, not like being touched, being overworked and tired, and in some cases where a man is HIV-positive, he is afraid of transmitting the virus which is not possible if he is on effective medication. Sex and sexuality run on a broad spectrum, and different things work for different people — just like in many other aspects of life, the idea of what is ‘normal’ isn’t very helpful.
Some couples have a mismatch in libidos, which might require extra consideration and communication. When it comes to sex drive, there is no normal, although we often use terms like high and low, what really matters in a relationship is how well your sexual desires align and how you manage any differences in sexual desire.
What causes low sex drive in men?
A man’s sexual desire is influenced by a variety of physical, psychological, and personal factors, ranging from extra work stress to underlying health conditions. Here are some of the reasons why you might be dealing with low libido.
High stress levels, poor sleep, and too little or too much exercise are some lifestyle factors that can impact arousal. General wellbeing through a healthy lifestyle may improve your chances of having a healthy sex life. I try reducing excessive consumption of alcohol, drug use and smoking, exercise regularly, and manage stress levels.
A person’s physical health can affect their desire to have sex in a range of overlapping ways. Chronic pain might put sex low on your list of priorities, recovery from cancer might impact your body image, or a noticeable drop in sex drive could be a side effect of medication or indicate an underlying health issue. Low testosterone (or androgen deficiency) is an example of the latter. It’s when your body isn’t able to make enough testosterone to work as it usually does, which may be due to problems within the testicles or with hormone production in the brain. Testosterone deficiency is also a common side-effect of anabolic steroid use. Diabetes can cause low testosterone levels.
Given the number of underlying health issues that could cause loss of libido, it’s important to consult a doctor about any concerns you may have. If a person is managing other conditions or taking medication that may be affecting their sex life, talking to the doctor about that too might help find solutions strategies to improve the situation.
Depression can reduce, or completely eliminate, interest and satisfaction in the things that once made you happy. That includes sex. Dealing with depression can be a double-edged sword for sex drive with medications used to treat the condition, such as antidepressants, also reducing libido as a side effect. However, it’s essential that depression is tested first and foremost. Talk to the doctor about options for restoring sex drive while still reducing symptoms of depression.
Unresolved tension or problems in a relationship can understandably affect the desire to be intimate. It’s important to talk with your partner about how you’re feeling because ignoring the issue can make the situation worse.
Men, because of the way they are socialised, can struggle to talk about these things. More men are affected by relationship dynamics than we often might expect because of this stereotype that men are raring to go, no matter what’s going on in their heads. The key here is communication.
Negative sexual experiences
Negative sexual experiences are not uncommon, however, for some people they can have a lasting impact. For example, if someone’s partner is overly critical, the individual may become avoidant of sex, and lose interest in it as for them it is not a pleasurable experience, but rather a negative one.
The impact of trauma is also a factor and this includes things such as childhood sexual assault, combat PTSD, health-related trauma such as being diagnosed with HIV. These experiences can lead to behaviours that can impact libido such as drug or alcohol misuse. Speaking to a doctor, psychologist or sexual therapist can help treat libido issues associated with trauma.
The treatment for low sex drive varies from person to person. If you notice a persistent lack of interest in sex that’s interfering with normal sexual activity and causing you concern, consult a doctor. They can run a variety of checks to try find the cause.
If you contemplating the use of alleged aphrodisiacs like oysters or stocking up on supplements, you might want to save your cash. There is no evidence found proving that any one food heightens sexual arousal or desire. Some people find different things helpful but there isn’t a whole lot of evidence behind the kinds of tonics and herbal supplements available. That being said, there can be a placebo effect and some people do find it helpful.
Note here that asexuality is a sexual orientation. An asexual person has typically had little interest in sexual contact with other people, rather than experiencing a noticeable change in sexual desire.