Loss of Libido in Men
Why men lose interest in sex -- and 8 tips to rekindle desire.
What Accounts for Loss of Libido in Men?
The causes of this complex problem range from the physical and medical to
the psychological and social. Quick fixes don't solve
Impotence, or ED, erectile dysfunction, is not the same as loss of libido,
but when you experience one, sooner or later you are likely to feel the other
as well. "Only 7% of young men report being unable to keep an erection,"
Laumann says. Though ED does increase with age: "It's 12% by age 40, 18% for
ages 50-59; and then a sharp rise by age 60 to 25%to 30%," says Laumann.
The good news: depending on the cause, "drugs can help that," Laumann says.
Vasodilators, such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, enhance blood flow to the
penis. It also helps to understand that it's normal for erections to come and
go during lovemaking -- "It can happen two to five times in a 45-minute
sexual session," McCarthy says.
Performance Anxiety and Loss of Libido
Men report two major problems -- anxiety about performance and climaxing too
early, according to Laumann. Almost one in three men report premature
ejaculation, while under one in five are worried about performance, according
And the anxiety doesn't stop there. Many modern, loving, and conscientious
husbands feel they have not truly "performed" unless their partners climax
during sex, too. And as Laumann's statistics show, only 26% of women report
that they always experience orgasm during sex, compared with 75% of men. No
wonder men feel the pressure - and performing under pressure can cause loss of
Stress Leads to Loss of Libido
Job stress and self-esteem are also big factors. "If a man's performance at
work is challenged, and he doesn't feel he is achieving or doesn't feel
self-worth, he often numbs himself sexually," says Perel, "Desire is a
healthy form of entitlement -- when you don't feel deserving, you shut
Medical Conditions Can Cause Loss of Libido
A variety of medical problems and chronic physical conditions can diminish a
man's sex drive. Serious illnesses, such as cancer and depression, can
certainly dampen any thoughts of sex. Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and
diabetes can reduce blood flow to the body, including the genitals, wreaking
havoc on libido as well. Chronic alcoholism and even occasional excessive
alcohol consumption are notorious for inflaming desire but impeding
performance. Conditions such as thyroid disorders and tumors of the pituitary
gland (which controls most hormone production, including sex hormones) can also
Medications Can Interfere With Libido
The class of depression drugs called SSRIs can inhibit desire. So can
tranquilizers and blood pressure medications. Illicit substances, such as
heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, when used heavily and chronically, may also
cause loss of libido. On the positive side, when you talk to your doctor about
these issues, there are alternative drugs for depression and other conditions
that may have less of an impact on sexual desire.
The Quality of the Relationship Is an Important Part of Libido