Lack of sex drive (lack of libido) is common in women, but more rare in men. Even men with who have difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction) usually have a normal, or even high, sex drive.
However, some men do find that their interest in sex diminishes as they get older. And a very few have never experienced any sexual desire in their lives.
The 21st century has seen the emergence of a lot of firms and clinics that claim to treat low libido in males.
These organisations come and go. Often they charge very high fees for services that could be obtained free under the NHS. The treatments they offer are usually either so-called aphrodisiacs (like ginseng products) or else testosterone.
A few years ago, it was common to see large billboard adverts suggesting that low libido can be cured with nasal sprays. These ads now seem to have disappeared, but such claims should always be treated with caution.
How common is lack of libido in men?
Lack of libido in men is far less common than erectile dysfunction – with which it should not be confused.
In our practice, we have seen only about one man with low libido for every 25 with erectile dysfunction.
Most men with lack of libido can achieve erections, but have lost the desire to have sex.
What are the causes of lack of libido in men?
As is the case with women, lack of desire in men can be of either physical or psychological origin.
- Alcoholism – quite common.
- Abuse of drugs such as cocaine.
- Obesity – quite common; slimming down will often help.
- Anaemia – unusual, unless the man has been bleeding for any reason.
- Hyperprolactinaemia – a rare disorder where the pituitary gland produces too much of the hormone prolactin.
- Prescribed drugs – particularly Proscar (finasteride), a tablet used for prostate problems and also medications affecting the brain.
- Low testosterone level – contrary to what many people think, this is uncommon, except in cases where some injury or illness has affected the testicles.
- Any major disease such as diabetes.
- Head injury.
- An underactive thyroid gland.
- Depression – very common.
- Stress and overwork.
- Hang-ups from childhood.
- Latent homosexuality.
- Serious relationship problems with your partner.
What should a man do about lack of libido?
Begin by seeing your GP. Ask for a physical check-up, and also any blood tests which the doctor thinks necessary, like a blood count or thyroid tests.
If your doctor can’t help, he or she can refer you to a specialist.
All the above causes of lack of libido can respond well to therapy.
Among the most difficult to treat are those that involve marital problems or hang-ups about sex. For these, a good place to go is a Relate clinic.
Are there any medicines for low sexual desire?
At the moment there are no medicines available that will increase male libido except where there is a testosterone deficiency, in which case it is worth prescribing this hormone.
Drugs for ED such as Cialis, Levitra and Viagra have no effect on sexual desire – only on erection.