Low sex drive and testosterone - how to increase them

The drive for sex is a powerful human motivation and healthy men and women throughout history have had a profound respect for it. Sex drive is understood as libido, lust, or the craving for sexual gratification. The drive is associated primarily with androgens (testosterone) and related brain pathways effecting motivation in both sexes.

Inhibited sexual desire (ISD) is much more common for men than commonly believed. The most striking fact is that when couple sex stops, in over 90% of the cases it's the man's decision - made nonverbally and unilaterally. Not only does intercourse stop, but so does sensual, playful, and erotic touch. If sex doesn't involve intercourse, many men want to avoid all intimacy. When it's intercourse or nothing, nothing ultimately wins.

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Neurotransmitters are involved in communicating messages from one part of the body to another. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and well balanced. However, it also happens to interfere with sexual drive and response. Anything that causes our serotonin levels to rise above normal has the potential, therefore, to negatively impact sexual fitness.

Dopamine, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in sexual motivation and reward. Activities that serve to boost dopamine levels, such as consuming plenty of folic acid, may therefore actually help to enhance your sex drive. Getting a massage or enjoying a great workout are just two ways to increase endorphins, neurotransmitters that deliver pleasure signals to your body and prime you for sexual activity.

Low testosterone hormone levels

In addition to neurotransmitters, hormones also play a crucial role in determining sexual functioning. Testosterone, which is known as the male sex hormone because men have about ten times more of it than do women, drives sexual interest and the biological response to arousal in both men and women. Increased levels of testosterone lead to more fantasizing, sexual desire, and sexual activity.

If testosterone levels are abnormally low, men will first experience a drop in libido and eventually have difficulty reaching orgasm. When they do reach orgasm, the volume of ejaculate may be smaller. Low testosterone levels may result in impaired fertility. In addition, lack of testosterone may decrease muscle strength and stamina and bring on depressive-like symptoms.

Many of the activities that you do every day, including exercising, sleeping, and reacting to stressful events, impact your body's production of testosterone.

Poor cardiovascular health

Your sexual capacity also depends on your cardiovascular health. In order to achieve optimum erections in men and arousal in women, adequate blood flow must be able to reach the arteries of the genital region. Your genitals act like a pump, with blood flowing in through a fine, flexible hose, which are your arteries. When the hose is clogged, blood flow is slowed and therefore arousal is reduced. On the other hand, when your blood vessels are free of cholesterol and your heart is pumping healthily, you are more likely to experience optimum sexual performance.

Cardiovascular health depends on consuming a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and reducing stress.

Chronic stress

Acute stress restricts blood flow to the genitals, which hinders physiological arousal. A stressful event - whether in the form of a car accident, a missed meeting, conflict in the workplace, or unhappy news - invokes the fight-or-flight response. When this happens, your nervous system is activated and your adrenal glands release the stress hormone adrenaline into your body. Adrenaline causes your heart rate to rise and your blood vessels to constrict so that blood is delivered to where it's needed - the muscles, and not the genitals. This response can save your life in case of crisis by enabling you to move more quickly and powerfully, but it inhibits male erections and female sexual arousal. During and immediately after a jolting, stressful event, adrenaline actually prevents men from being able to achieve or sustain erections.

Over time, chronic stress may also interfere with male erections and female sexual arousal by causing cholesterol levels to rise, exacerbating arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Anything that harms the cardiovascular system is bad news for sexual fitness, because narrowed arteries mean restricted blood flow through the tiny arteries of the genitals. Lack of testosterone due to chronic stress may also result in impaired fertility in men. In a study of men at a fertility clinic, sperm concentration and total number of active sperm decreased significantly when self-reported stress increased.