DECREASED SEX DRIVE
A loss of libido or sex drive can occur at any time during a man’s life. At one time or another nearly every man will experience a waning of his sexual drive. The cause can be either physical or psychological. The libido in both men and women is “intimately” connected to the hormone testosterone, a hormone produced in the testicles in men or at a lesser amount in the ovaries of women.
There are a large number of drugs, such as medications to treat depression, high blood pressure, and medications used to treat prostate cancer that can be responsible for eroding a man’s sexual desire. A simple blood test can be obtained to determine the level of testosterone. If it is deficient, there are injections and skin patches that deliver a constant blood level of the hormone to replace the deficiency. (One caveat: Men with prostate cancer cannot use testosterone because the hormone can activate an existing prostate cancer).
There are several herbal remedies to lowered testosterone, which include yohimbine and gingko biloba. These herbs are available at most health food stores.
By far, the most common cause of a low libido is a result of communication gaps between a man and his partner. It is usually the non-sexual aspects of the relationship that are responsible for the lowered sexual desire. This can occur at any stage of the relationship. When there are problems that result in anger, anxiety and frustration, a loss of the desire for sexual intimacy will soon follow. Men may find that they their biologic clock is not in sync with their partner’s. Men may be interested in sexual intimacy in the morning only to find his partner is aroused in the evening or visa versa. Counseling and marital therapy may be effective in resolving conflicts in the relationship and improvement in sexual desire will soon follow. A marriage therapist who has expertise in sexual counseling can give advice to couples and help them alleviate their sexual problem.
Another cause of decreased libido is depression. Unfortunately, some of the medications used to treat depression can also be responsible for suppressing the libido. For those men and women suffering from severe depression, psychotherapy is recommended as most men can be treated with therapy and with medications that will restore their libido.
A loss of sexual desire may be a result of the normal aging process that affects most middle-aged men. As man reaches the “golden years” his erections may occur less rapidly, he may need more direct genital stimulation to achieve an erection, and his erections may be less firm or rigid. These normal changes may cause a man to avoid sex, thereby reducing the couple’s sexual frequency. It is important to realize that the presence of any sexual dysfunction, whether it be a problem with erections, rapid ejaculation, orgasm, or painful intercourse, is likely to result in a loss of sexual interest. When the sexual dysfunction has been resolved, the sexual desire returns to normal.
One solution is for a couple to place an emphasis on revitalizing their sex life. They may need to set aside specific times during the week when they can be intimate. Since most couples have busy lives and find that the only time available is late at night when they are fatigued or have had too much alcohol and intimacy is not possible, they must make a priority of sexual intimacy and reserve time for this important function. Setting aside blocks of time that are free from distractions allows a couple to look forward to leisurely and successfully engaging in mutually satisfactory lovemaking.
Even stable relationships can lose their sexual allure when intimacy has been placed on the back burner and other aspects of the relationship such as work and other social obligations have been given a higher priority.
Seldom can a man sustain the sex drive of a teenager or a man in the first year of his marriage. But it is reasonable for a man to maintain a sex drive that meets his needs and the needs of his partner. For those men who have a problem, contact your physician and he/she can help you put the “gleam back in your eye.”
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