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What is Low Libido?

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low libido

Low libido, or low sex drive, describes a lack of interest in sexual activity. While not wanting to be intimate can cause serious relationship woes, lower self-esteem and make you feel guilty – treating the underlying cause can correct the problem.

Everyone has a different sex drive, and sexual desires naturally fluctuate over the years, so “normal” libido is very difficult, if not even impossible, to define. However, if you personally feel distressed about decreased sex drive, it is wise not to ignore the issue.

Having a lack of interest shouldn’t be confused with erectile dysfunction, although the two can co-exist. In both situations, seeking help from a professional may be the necessary step towards resolving the problem.

Additionally, open lines of communication and honesty are key in navigating this delicate situation. Loss of libido is a quite common concern which shouldn’t be a cause for embarrassment – it’s imperative that you tell your partner what’s going on.


Having a low libido or decreased sex drive can lead to a one direct source, however, it is usually multi-factorial and may be caused by a combination of different aspects. Some of the most common causes of low sex drive are low levels of testosterone, medication, depression, medical conditions and lifestyle choices.

Low Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone which is crucial to male development, muscular strength and sex drive. Also known as hypogonadism, low testosterone levels can occur at any age. Although testosterone production typically decreases with age, it is not only a concern for older adults, but may happen in younger men, too.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, normal testosterone levels can range between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL. When total testosterone levels drop below 350 to 300 ng/dL, male libido is usually significantly decreased. Low testosterone is only medically diagnosed when the male sex hormone falls below the above levels.


Certain medications may also cause a low sex drive in men. These can include entire classes of medication and even over-the-counter drugs.

The most common culprits are:

  • Statins
  • Beta-blockers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antipsychotics

Although changing medication or completely discontinuing usage often alleviates the problem, that’s not always the case – particularly in chronic medical conditions like atrial fibrillation or hypertension. If you believe the issue may be related to medication, consult with your doctor before changing or discontinuing certain medicine.


Men with decreased testosterone levels may experience significant mood changes. As the male hormone affects physical processes in your body, low testosterone may more likely lead to irritability or even depression.

In fact, depression and low libido are intertwined – when depression is the cause of decreased sex drive, it can make a tough situation even worse. This can also occur in reverse – having low libido or sex drive may trigger unwanted negative feelings and lead to depression.

Chronic Illness

Living with a chronic disease definitely causes distress, both mentally and physically. This is particularly true if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or even cancer.

Regardless of the specific diagnosis, many people affected by chronic disease may experience a decreased interest in sexual activities. Furthermore, the sexual issues occurring during this time tend to be linked to the specific treatment itself.


The way you live your life can also contribute to low libido in males. Some of the most common negative choices include:

  • Smoking. Nicotine increases the risk of erectile dysfunction and can impair sexual arousal.
  • Alcohol. When consumed in excess over a long period, alcohol redirects specific enzymes needed to synthesize testosterone. This, in turn, can result in reduced testosterone levels.
  • Obesity. Being overweight not only impairs hormone function but can significantly reduce both free and total testosterone levels.

To the contrary, regular exercise and healthy weight loss will boost your mood and energy. It can also improve feelings of self-confidence and improve sexual function.


Treatment for low sex drive depends on the particular underlying cause. There are various options that can tackle a low libido. Decreased libido, which is caused by low testosterone levels, can be treated with supplemental testosterone. If the cause is more of psychological nature, various therapies or counseling can help.


If bloodwork shows decreased testosterone levels, your doctor may prescribe supplementation. Vitamin D, D-aspartic acid, Ginseng and Maca work well to boost your testosterone.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

When your testosterone levels are significantly low, supplemental testosterone can be used in various forms. Some options of this include:

  • Gels and patches – Transdermal testosterone is another treatment option. It’s provided in a gel or patch form that you apply directly to the skin, which delivers a certain amount of testosterone each day.
  • Injections – Given by your doctor, these injections are either testosterone cypionate or enanthate, which you’re supposed to receive every two weeks.


Relationship problems may be a common cause for loss of libido. Various psychological therapies and counselling can help address the concern.

One of the examples being sex therapy – very much like other types of psychotherapy, it’s about discussing your feelings and moving past physical or emotional barriers.

Lifestyle changes

Healthier lifestyle choices – improving your diet, cutting down on alcohol as well as exercising regularly – all constitute to having an increased sex drive.

Another thing to consider is stress management. If you’re constantly feeling upset, tired or anxious, you should consider the possibility of reducing the stressors in your life. If your stress is related to an underlying anxiety disorder, medication may be required.


As the topic of low sexual desire is a very sensitive one, men don’t always want to talk about it, even less admit that it might be a recurring issue for them.

Sex drive is different for each individual, and is likely to change over time. It’s quite common and normal for your interest in sex to not match your partner’s on occasions.

However, changes in your libido that are persistent for a long period of time may indicate an underlying physiological or psychological issue. Therefore, it is essential to notice changes in you personally and if needed, seek medical help for appropriate intervention.

Robert Thomas has written a lot on in-depth content about similar topics. If you are more interested, it’s worth checking out Sextopedia (alternatively their Facebook of Twitter).