What causes a lack of sexual desire in men? That’s a good question. Diminished libido is more common in women than men. In fact, a lack of libido is rare in men. Even those with erectile dysfunction usually have a normal sex drive.
It's natural for men to notice a gradual loss of libido as they age. Yet, as one Mayo Clinic expert (endocrinologist Todd B. Nippoldt) suggests, most men continue to enjoy sexual interest well into their 60's and 70's.
So what causes men to lack sexual desire? Dr. David Delvin and psychotherapist Christine Webber, say low libido can have physical or psychological origins. Writing for the UK's NetDoctor, Delvin and Webber outline some common causes.
Physical Causes Of Impaired Sexual Desire
- Alcoholism. Alcoholism is the most common cause of low sexual desire. In addition to diminished libido, alcoholism can cause impotence and sterility. It can damage testicular cells and brain cells, causing sexual dysfunction.
- Drug Abuse. Like alcoholism, drug abuse also causes low libido. Drug use, even smoking, disrupts hormone balance, leading to low sexual desire.
- Obesity. Obesity is another reason for low sexual desire. Overweight and obese men have hormone imbalances that impair libido. On the opposite end of the weight spectrum, severe underweight and malnourishment have the same effect.
- Anemia. Although it’s a rare condition in men, anemia can cause diminished sexual desire. Men can get anemia after experiencing blood loss for any reason.
- Diabetes. Diabetes and other major diseases have a negative effect on sex drive. Endocrine issues, like hypothyroidism, also play a role in sexual desire.
- Testosterone Level. Testosterone level is another physical factor that determines sexual desire in men. Low levels of testosterone in the bloodstream can cause a lack of sexual drive.
- Prescription Drugs. Prescription medications can also affect a man’s libido. One example is flutamide, a nonsteroidal drug used to treat prostate cancer.
Psychological Causes Of Impaired Sexual Desire
- Depression. Depression is the most common psychological cause for a diminishing interest in sex. Treating depression frequently improves sexual desire.
- Stress And Fatigue. Stress and fatigue are also determine sex drive. When men feel stressed and overworked, they experience very little sexual desire.
- Childhood Abuse. Childhood abuse (sexual abuse, assault, trauma, and neglect) can cause serious sexual problems in adult men. Even certain childhood hang-ups can impair libido in adulthood.
- Body Image. Body image plays a big role in sexual desire. A low self-image diminishes a person’s desire for sex. The attractiveness and fitness of his partner is also a major factor.
- Relationship Problems. Problems like sexual performance anxiety are common psychological causes for decreased libido. According to NetDoctor experts, suppressed homosexuality is another possible cause.
Treatments For Impaired Sexual Desire
- Prescription Drugs. Many men wonder, can doctors prescribe drugs to treat sexual desire problems? To date, no medications can increase libido, including the popular male enhancement drugs currently on the market. These drugs affect erections rather than libido. If the problem is testosterone deficiency, a hormone prescription may help.
- Therapy. After a medical doctor rules out any physical cause for impaired sexual desire, therapy is a good place to turn. In fact, a lack of libido usually responds very well to therapy and counseling. Marital problems and sexual hang-ups are the most difficult to treat, but not impossible.
- Lifestyle Changes. Lifestyle changes may also remedy the problem. Men who quit smoking, lower alcohol consumption, and stop using drugs often see an increase in sexual desire. Exercise and weight loss usually have a positive effect, too. Learning stress management techniques can also help.