Men’s Libido: What’s Behind the Dysfunction? 

Summary: We often hear of the dysfunction women face with the lack of or losing their sex drive all together. This also affects men, and not just those who are dealing with erectile dysfunction. The simplest and most common forms of stress can also trigger issues with the male sex drive, desire and ability to perform. Here you can learn about the top things that affects men’s sex drive and ability today, and how to work through these barriers.

In many situations you may hear how women tend to lose their sex drive with menopause, after childbirth, or during long segments of time while raising children. We do not hear of men’s sex drive often unless it is being referenced with erectile dysfunction. The truth is, a man’s sex drive can be affected by anything a woman’s can!

While scientific studies have proven that men can become aroused often faster and more easily than women, they can also face the same sexual blocks that females do when dealing with sex drive. Men can experience lack of desire, lack of drive, and erection difficulties from life stress, medical illness, worry and fear, medications, and a list of many other factors.

What are some of the top things that affect men’s sex drive and ability?

  • Low testosterone. This hormone is very important for males and is produced in the testicles. Testosterone is responsible for helping to build muscle and bone mass as well as stimulating sperm production. The levels of testosterone inside of your body will help to determine your sex drive. Your levels of this hormone will vary, however low testosterone occurs when these levels drop below three hundred nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), which are the numbers from the American Urological Association. When your levels are low, your sex drive will match. As you age, your testosterone levels will begin to decrease, which can also lead to decreased libido. There are many supplements, gels, creams and holistic approaches to help you keep up your drive.
  • Medications. Taking certain medications can lower testosterone levels, which in turn may lead to low libido. Blood pressure medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers may prevent ejaculation and erections, which can lead to lack of ability. Other medications that can lower testosterone levels include: chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer, hormones used to treat prostate cancer, corticosteroids, opioid pain relievers, such as morphine and oxycodone, an antifungal medication called ketoconazole, cimetidine, which is used for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); anabolic steroids, which may be used by athletes to increase muscle mass, and certain antidepressants.
  • Restless leg syndrome. Restless legs syndrome is the uncontrollable urge to move your legs. A study found that men with RLS are at higher risk for developing erectile dysfunction (ED) than those without RLS. ED occurs when a man cannot have or maintain an erection. In the study, researchers discovered that men who had RLS occurrences at least five times per month were about fifty percent more likely to develop ED than men without RLS. Also, men who had RLS episodes more frequently were even more likely to become impotent.
  • Depression. Depression changes all parts of life. People with depression experience a lessened or complete lack of interest in activities they once found pleasurable, including sex. Low libido is also a side effect of some antidepressants, including serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like fluoxetine and sertraline. However, the norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NRDI) bupropion has not been shown to reduce the libido.
  • Chronic Illness. When you are not feeling well due to the effects of a chronic health condition, such as chronic pain, sex is likely low on your list of priorities. Certain illnesses, such as cancer, can reduce your sperm production counts as well. Other chronic illnesses that can take a toll on your libido including type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic lung, heart, kidney, and liver failure.
  • Sleep problems. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that non-obese men with obstructive sleep apnea experience lower testosterone levels. In turn, this leads to decreased sexual activity and libido. In the study, researchers found that nearly one-third of the men who had severe sleep apnea also had reduced levels of testosterone. In another recent study involving young, healthy men, testosterone levels were decreased by ten to fifteen percent after a week of sleep restriction to five hours per night. The researchers found that the effects of restricting sleep on testosterone levels were especially evident between 2:00 pm and 10:00 pm the next day.
  • Aging. Testosterone levels, which are linked to libido, are at their highest when men are in their late teens. In your older years, it may take longer to have orgasms, ejaculate, and become aroused. Your erections may not be as hard, and it may take longer for your penis to become erect. However, medications are available that can help treat these issues.
  • Stress. If you are distracted by situations or periods of high pressure, sexual desire may decrease. This is because stress can disrupt your hormone levels. Your arteries can narrow in times of stress. This narrowing restricts blood flow and potentially causes ED. One study published in Scientific Research and Essays supported the notion that stress has a direct effect on sexual problems in both men and women. Another study of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that the stress disorder increased their risk of sexual dysfunction more than threefold. Stress is hard to avoid. Relationship problems, divorce, facing the death of a loved one, financial worries, a new baby, or a busy work environment are just some of the life events that can greatly affect the desire for sex. Stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and talking to a therapist, may help.
  • Low-Self Esteem. Self-esteem is defined as the general opinion a person has about their own self. Low self-esteem, low confidence, and poor body image can take a toll on your emotional health and well-being. If you feel that you are unattractive, or undesirable, it will likely put a damper on sexual encounters. Not liking what you see in the mirror can even make you want to avoid having sex altogether. Low self-esteem may also cause anxiety about sexual performance, which can lead to issues with ED and reduced sexual desire. Over time, self-esteem issues can result in larger mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and drug or alcohol abuse; all of which have been linked to low libido.
  • Too much or too little exercise. Too little or too much exercise can also be responsible for low sex drive in men. Too little exercise, or none at all, can lead to a range of health problems that can affect sexual desire and arousal. Getting regular exercise may reduce your risk for chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are associated with low libido. Moderate exercise is known to lower cortisol levels at night and reduce stress, which can help increase sex drive. That said, over-exercising has also been shown to affect sexual health. In one study, higher levels of chronic intense and lengthy endurance training on a regular basis were strongly associated with decreased libido scores in men.
  • Drugs and/or alcohol. Heavy alcohol drinking, or more than 14 mixed drinks in a week, has also been linked to a decrease in testosterone production. Over a long period of time, excessive amounts of alcohol can reduce your sex drive. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that men who consume more than three or more alcoholic beverages regularly should consider drinking less. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that an average adult male should have two or fewer alcoholic beverages daily; any more than this can lead to long-term health deterioration. In addition to alcohol, the use of tobacco, marijuana, and illicit drugs such as opiates has also been connected to a decrease in testosterone production. This can result in a lack of sexual desire. Smoking has also been found to have a negative impact on sperm production and sperm movement.

Treating low libido, loss of desire and drive often depends on treating an underlying issue like one mentioned above. If you are experiencing low libido and loss of ability, take these steps in your own life to help to increase your libido once more:

  • Live a healthier lifestyle
  • Get enough sleep each night
  • Practice stress management
  • Eat a healthy diet all of the time

How can I improve my sex drive and revive my erection?

If you are struggling with erection difficulties due to ED or some other penial issue, there are devices and holistic approaches that can help you in varying ways to once again receive, achieve, and enjoy being intimate. Reclaiming Intimacy Through HOPE offers a wide variety of male-associated devices to help do just that!

  • Pumps. Penis pumps can be used to help increase girth, size and the firmness of your erection. These are available in many different styles. Reclaiming Intimacy’s Leviathan has a basic pump style, with easy hold handle. The Reclaiming Intimacy offers pumps that utilize the power and soothing aspects of water. The Commander and Colossus are size-based pumps, so you will want to know your own penis size going in.
  • Enhancers. Erection enhancers come in a variety of styles from rings, to half-support devices, to fully supportive erection devices. If you’re in the market for rings, check into Reclaiming Intimacy’s set Enhance, which gives you three multi-sized rings. To put on any support ring, you will always want to use a lubrication like Reclaiming Intimacy’s Flourish or Satin. This helps to keep your sensitive skin from tearing or being injured. Reclaiming Intimacy’s Retain set of erection enhancers come with two that also have easy-grip side handles for easy-on and easy-off use. The Empower is a wearable erection enhancer that gives firmer shaft support, and the Extend, which is a hollow strap-on device made for those with little to no erection capability.

If you are still experiencing these symptoms, contact your doctor to discuss your options. Remember, there are many options, both medicinal and holistic, to help you reclaim your libido and drive!

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Resources Used:



Reclaiming Intimacy

American Urological Association

Scientific Research and Essays


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