It is common to lose interest in sexual activity from time to time. This could be due to certain undeniable factors like poor sleep. However, this should not continue for a long period so as not to become a concern. This varies from one person to another. Low libido is a decrease of interest in sexual activity. It can also be referred to as low sex drive. Here are some of the potential causes of low libido in men you should know.
- Low testosterone: This is a primary sex hormone (chemical messenger) that is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics like testes. Females also produce this hormone but in a small amount. The body produces it in the testicles. It stimulates the production of sperm. Low secretion of this hormone decreases sexual drive or disinterestedness in sexual activity. Doctors associate low libido with depression. When your levels fall below 300 to 350 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) you are considered to have low testosterone. Testosterone carries out a lot of other functions like regulating bone mass, fat distribution, muscle size and strength. Testosterone regulates a number of processes in the male body.
- Aging: After the age of 40, the concentration of circulating testosterone falls by about 6 percent every year in most men. By the age of 60, the low levels of testosterone would lead to a diagnosis of hypogonadism in younger men. This hormone is linked to a libido which is at its highest when men are in their late teens. Then the hormone levels begin to fall as the age increases. Men in their older years take a longer time to get aroused, ejaculate and have orgasms. They might take a longer time to get an erection. Medications can help give the needed response you need.
- Stress: Too much stress can have a toll on you and decrease your libido. This is due to the release of different hormones and neurotransmitters when faced with different challenging situations. One of these hormones released during prolonged stress is cortisol which suppresses sex hormones. Stress also causes narrowing of arteries leading to low blood flow to the penis and poor erection. Poor management can lead to erectile dysfunction. A study in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease supported the notion that stress, separate from psychological symptoms and relationship quality, has a direct effect on sexual problems. A licensed clinical psychologist at the center of marital and sexual health of south Florida, Alicia H. Clark, also said ‘Stress attack on your libido. During times of stress, we need to survive, not procreate. Stress increases your body’s most important functions for survival, like blood flow and increased heart rate, while diminishing non-essential functions, like sex’.
- Depression: This is otherwise known as low mood. It is a common condition that affects sexual desire. Its symptoms vary from person to person but low libido is usually evident. Sexual desire is cultivated in the brain and sex organs rely on chemicals in the brain to promote libido as well as the changes in blood flow needed for the sexual act. When depression disrupts these brain chemicals, it can make sexual activity more difficult. This may be worse in older adults who already have occasional problems with sexual dysfunction.
- Poor sleep: Sex is probably the last thing you want to do when you feel exhausted and tired. The impact of good and sound sleep on the body cannot be overemphasized. Sleep helps in the regulation of many body functions. The body replenishes much of the testosterone people use during the day at night. When you deprive the body of sleep, it causes the release of stress hormones (cortisone). This leads to low testosterone levels that decrease libido. Doctors say that older men who have trouble sleeping may likely have low libido.
- Medications: Taking certain drugs can cause low libido in some people. For example, anti-hypertensive drugs like ACE inhibitors and beta blockers may prevent ejaculation and erection. Other drugs include anticonvulsant and antidepressants used in treating mental conditions. You can see your doctor if you are experiencing low libido on use of any of this drugs.
- Chronic illness: Multiple types of chronic illnesses and pain can unavoidably lead to decreased libido. This could be due to the physical effects of the disease or its psychological impact on the body like fatigue, loss of weight and anxiety. All of these is capable of making sex the least priority. Therefore, it is advisable to communicate with your partner or seek help from a sex therapist.
- Smoking: For a better sexual performance, you should avoid smoking. Doctors have found that smoking cigarettes cause erectile dysfunction due to poor blood supply to the penis. Smoking also damages the smooth muscle of the penis thereby making erection difficult. It is a potential known cause of impotence. It affects the entire aspect of a man’s sexual health from the point of initial attraction to sexual performance and beyond.
- Poor diet: Most people are unaware that bad diet has a direct impact on sexual performance. Foods can greatly affect your sexual drive more than you think.High carbohydrates and fat diets like fried foods can cause low libido. Avoid consumption of sugary foods. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and spices can regulate testosterone, increase libido, and significantly improve sex drive.
- Lack of exercise: Mild to moderate exercises if done routinely can help boost your sexual appetite. During exercises, good blood circulation is promoted which helps to boost sexual function and reduce erectile dysfunction. Taking a simple walk for 10 minutes in a day is effective in giving your body the needed stability that it needs. You can find an activity you like and stick to it closely.