Low Sex Drive & Aussie MenLow sex drive in men is Australia’s worst kept secret, according to Sydney sexologist Elaine George who has been researching the problem. Although the very idea of men suffering from low sex drive “goes against widely held cultural beliefs,” Elaine George says she believes it’s a much bigger problem that we realise.
Men may be embarrassed about acknowledging low sex drive, but the Australian Study of Health and Relationships found around 25 per cent of adult Aussie men may be affected by low male sex drive.
Sexual Health Australia describes low sex drive in men by its medical definition, Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) and defines it as the “absence of sexual fantasies, thoughts and desire which causes personal distress or relationship difficulties.” Low sex drive is the commonest reason couples seek help in their relationship.
One American study estimated a third of all men may not be able to initiate sex, resulting in “sexless marriages” – defined as sex less than ten times a year. And the problem of low male sex drive affects men of all ages.
Causes of Low Male Sex DriveLow sex drive in men can be caused by a wide range of reasons, from relationship issues to work stress, and from low hormone levels to the side effects of medications.
Psychological issues: Stress and anxiety over work, sleep deprivation, relationship or family problems, depression, and mental disorders can all lead to low sex drive in men.
Medical problems: Conditions like diabetes and obesity, as well as prescription medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, some hair-loss remedies, and anti-depressants can all cause low male sex drive.
Hormonal causes: Low testosterone levels usually mean low sexual desire, says Harvard specialist Dr Ira Goldstein. Testosterone levels dip as men age; other causes include chronic disease, medications, and other drug use. Other hormones can play a role, too, such as low levels of thyroid hormone or, rarely, high levels of prolactin, a hormone produced in a gland at the base of the brain.
Low dopamine levels: Sexual desire obviously involves the brain -- and the brain's chemical messaging system is intimately linked to sexual desire. One of those messengers is dopamine. Doctors have noted that Parkinson's disease patients treated with dopamine-stimulating drugs had increased sexual desire. Dr Goldstein says these drugs help some men with HSDD.
What To Do About Low Male Sex DriveMen don’t need to suffer in silence if they are affected by low sex drive. Elaine George says low sex drive “is almost always fixable.” Often the most difficult step to seeking treatment for low sex drive is the first one – admitting there is a problem. It’s important to accept this is a couples issue whether it is the man or the woman who has low desire. Talk about the low sex drive, and seek ways to resolve it.
Give priority to getting a medical check up to see if there are any likely physical causes for low sex drive.
Investigate Physical Causes
- Check testosterone levels
- Decide if medication could be the problem – and if it is seek an alternative
- Ensure you are getting enough sleep. You must get more than five hours a night regularly.
- Tackle work stress – cut back on your hours if necessary
- Exercise more – any exercise will life sex drive. One study showed men who swam regularly had the sex drive of a 21 year old.
Deal With Relationship IssuesSydney sex therapist Dr Rosie King in Where Has My Libido Gone? offers comprehensive advice on how to overcome desire discrepancy (any situation where one partner wants sex more than the other to the extent that the difference is causing problems.)
Couples who are dealing with one partner with low sex drive can find guidance to break the pattern of one partner being the initiator (pursuer) and the other distancer (or rejector) by:
- Breaking the pursuer – distancer cycle
- Accepting both partners need to change
- Restoring regular sex once you’ve learned sexual negotiation techniques
Restoring sex in a relationship will require:
- Open communication
- A willingness to schedule regular dates
- Making desire a conscious decision
- Taking responsibility yourself
Drugs For Low Sex DriveWeb MD notes in cases where the problem is low testosterone, men can take testosterone supplements if they have measurably low levels. About 25% of men go for weekly testosterone shots, Dr Ira Goldstein says, but most opt for skin patches or gel formulations applied directly to the skin of the chest, shoulders, or abdomen.
However, a new drug now in clinical trials -- for women -- increases dopamine levels while decreasing a specific kind of serotonin in the brain. Early clinical studies suggest the drug could help women with low sexual desire. Dr Goldstein says it’s a promising development and if it's approved for women, it will likely be tested in men as well.
Herbs for Low Male Sex DriveMany herbs like tribulus terrestris and horny goat weed have been successfully used to treat low sex drive in men and women for centuries. The herbal approach treats the whole body, not just improving hormone levels but also boosting energy and mood and reducing stress and anxiety.
Herbal remedies like Herbal Ignite help not only with erectile dysfunction and impotence, but with low sex drive as well. Although the low sex drive and impotence are not the same thing they may be linked – for example anxiety over erectile difficulties may kill sex drive as well.
Don’t Give Up on Low Male Sex DriveResearch is beginning to recognise that men’s sex drive is affected by many of the same things as a woman’s sex drive. Men need the emotional intimacy that a close sexual relationship brings and can be just as negatively affected by external factors like anxiety over work performance or feeling rejected by their partner.
Recognising that men’s sex drive is more complex than once thought helps couples realise finding answers for low sex drive in men is a vital part of overall health.