“You may not realize that some unexpected or surprising things may be killing your sex drive,” Prof. Schwartz says.
Below are 4 common causes of low sex drive, as follows;
No. 1: Medications. Antidepressants and hypertension meds may lift your mood and lower blood pressure, but they may also decrease the sex drive of men and women alike.
“It is widely known that most of the mood mediators known as SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft can inhibit sexual interest and/or the ability to have an orgasm,” Prof. Schwartz says.
Blood pressure meds such as beta blockers and diuretics can lead to erectile dysfunction because they decrease blood flow. Drugs for diabetes also “often inhibit sexual drive and capability,” adds Pro. Schwartz.
Sex-drive solution: If you suspect a lower libido is a side effect of your meds, talk to your doctor about switching to a different drug. Sometimes it takes trial and error, but it is often possible to find a drug that does not affect libido but is still effective.
No. 2: Sleep deprivation. University of Chicago researchers tracked changes in sex drive in a group of healthy men allowed to get only five hours of shut-eye per night. In just 1 week, their testosterone levels were 15% lower than normal.
This is significant because it’s “about the amount that occurs with normal aging by 10 to 15 yrs,” explains lead researcher Eve Van Cauter, Professor of Medicine. This isn’t good news considering that testosterone has a direct link to your sex drive.
It also affects your mood and energy level. Plus, being tired is a top reason why many people do not want to have sex.
“Sleep disorders cause fatigue and you need energy for sex,” adds Prof. Schwartz.
Sex-drive solution: Sleep may be the best medicine for boosting things in your bedroom because most testosterone is released while you snooze. Try getting the recommended 7-8 hrs a night. Not only will you be more energetic and alert, your sex life may be, too. One way to enhance your sleep is to exercise regularly and do so within several hours before hitting the sack.
No 3: Excess body fat. Feeling pudgy can make you self-conscious about stripping down, but that’s not the only reason why being overweight can hurt your sex life. Extra pounds, especially around the middle, lower testosterone levels.
Researchers studied the link between weight loss and men’s testosterone levels by dividing almost 900 men into three groups: one exercised for 150 mins per week and changed their diets, another took diabetes medication, and a 3rd took placebo pills.
Those in the diet and exercise group not only lost weight, an average of 17 pounds, but 46% had an increase in testosterone levels. The 2 other groups saw no change.
Sex-drive solution: Break a sweat and slim down to give your testosterone levels, and your sex drive a boost. Although weight lifting is healthy, cardio workouts increase blood flow that is vital for sexual health.
No. 4: Stress. “Anxiety and stress lower testosterone levels, which inhibits sexual interest,” says Prof. Schwartz. When your body is busy releasing stress hormones like cortisol, it does not produce as much testosterone. Stress also saps energy and can disrupt sleep.
Once again, exercise is an answer. It is a great stress-reliever, helping shake off anxiety and causing the release of feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. Relaxation exercises also can help, as can meditation and massage.
Find the stress-busting activity that works best for you and do it regularly.
Shake off the anxiety, live well.