One in five men suffers from low libido at some point in their lives. Surprising, right? Men are supposed to be voracious sexual creatures, hungry for sex anytime, anywhere. Sex-based differences in libido are often the currency of male and female bonding, as well as the subject of more than a few comedy routines. So what happens when he's the one who says, “Not tonight, Dear”?
Several factors can be at work: Too much stress, certain medications and health conditions, or out-of-balance hormones can cause a man's sex drive to plummet. And just as with women, the quality of the relationship matters. When your guy doesn’t feel appreciated, ineffective as a spouse, put down, or disconnected from you, his hurt feelings and unmet emotional needs will negatively factor into his desire for sex and result in low libido.
Declining testosterone isn’t a myth: The first approach for getting to the bottom of low libido is to rule out any physical causes. His medications should be evaluated, and he should get a complete physical, including blood work to check testosterone levels. Testosterone levels decline steadily after age 40. While the decline is relatively small, at an average rate of about 1 percent to 2 percent per year, virtually all men experience some decline in testosterone around middle age. (However, only a small percentage of aging men has levels far below those considered normal for their age.) If a medical problem is discovered, medication changes or even testosterone replacement could be the answer.
What’s bad for the heart is bad for the penis: The common culprits include stress, obesity, smoking, and poor sleep habits, which can seriously impact a man’s health and lead to dangerous medical conditions — such as heart disease and diabetes. These and other conditions can also affect his libido. Become his partner in eating healthy, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and getting a good night’s sleep. You will both reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as well as help him feel better about himself and his sexuality.
Do a reality check on your relationship: Whether the causes are medical, physical, or emotional, it may be time to take a look at your relationship since these factors often work in tandem. Does he feel valued? Is there an unresolved conflict or resentment in either direction? Libido is part of his essential maleness and any feelings of inadequacy may only exacerbate his lack of desire.
Help him stay on course: Encourage him to do the things that make him feel masculine and powerful. Whether it’s going fishing with his friends or playing catch in the backyard, having him feel like himself may help him discover his dormant desire.
Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away: Low libido can impact a man’s self-esteem. Like any sexual issue, it’s important to address it and work together so your relationship doesn’t head completely off course.
Being proactive, whether it’s seeking appropriate medical treatment or finding a therapist to get to the underlying causes of the problem, is essential for your man’s emotional health and the health of your relationship.
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