Having a low sex drive sucks, and it can be even more awkward to talk about it with your doctor or partner. But here's the thing: More often than not, low libido is the consequence of mostly preventable problems—and that means you have a good chance to right the ship before it gets any worse.
We talked to Dr. Birgit M. Fisher, a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of sexual disorders and professor at the University of the Rockies, and Dr. Gary Martz, a practitioner in general adult psychiatry in denver, about what could potentially throw your sex drive into "park"—and how you can get back on track in the sack.
Anti-depressants have a bad rap for messing with mojo, but often medical side effects are not to blame. Most people actually have something called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, which is just another name for low sex drive. It’s important to remember that not every guy wants sex all the time. Men have different libidos, different biological sex drives and desires, and just because they don’t want sex, doesn’t mean something is wrong.
However, any medications used to lower testosterone (like those used to treat prostate cancer), selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs, like paroxetine and fluoxetine), and serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs, like venlafaxine)—as well as lithium, benzodiazephines, antihypertensives, cardiovascular drugs, and lipid-lowering meds like gemfibrozil—could alter your sex drive.
While there isn’t a lot of evidence that supplements lower sex drive, scientists have found that people who take St. John’s Wort notice a lower libido. It’s always good to check the labels on anything you take, or ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re concerned.
2. Alcohol and caffeine
Booze and caffeine can lower your sex drive, but it depends on how much you're ingesting, how often and any underlying psychiatric issues. Caffeine, a stimulant, can aggravate underlying anxiety conditions, which can lessen desire for sex. Lots of alcohol is bad for libido, erectile function and orgasmic function.
Everyone knows that too little exercise can lower sex drive, but too much can, too. Excessive exercise that leads to conditions akin to eating disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder can have a negative impact on sex drive, putting your body into a negative, catabolic-like state.
Overall, of course, being fit helps people feel sexy, so moderate exercise is good. Yoga has been known to increase sexual interest and enhances sexual pleasure. According to a review published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, yoga has even been reported to stimulate genital blood ﬂow, which enhances erectile capacity and may improve orgasms. And obviously yoga is a huge de-stresser, which can stave off low sex drive as well.
Repeated viewing of porn or even just associated masturbation can cause over-stimulation of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that triggers sexual pleasure. If this happens over and over, it becomes harder for the brain to respond. This can be reversed by avoiding pornography and sticking to a healthier masturbating pattern. It might sound easy, but men often have a hard time self-regulating this behavior, which is why often people seek professional help.
5. Emotional imbalance
If you’re in a rough patch with your partner, it might be the culprit, lessening sex drive even in men who once had a healthy one, as a form of self-protection. If you sense a wall, identify what’s bothering you and talk to your partner about it, or seek professional help. You do have to address the issues, though. Avoiding the conversation might make your partner feel rejected or even suspect you’re being unfaithful.