Low Sex Drive In Men
Low sexual desire, often thought of as low sex drive or low libido, is when you have, perhaps obviously, low interest in sex. For it to be diagnosed as a sexual dysfunction according to how the DSM-5 talks about male hypoactive sexual desire disorder, it needs to persist or recur over at least six months. It also must cause you “clinically significant distress” — an important distinction, since it’s part of what separates low sexual desire from asexuality. Low sexual desire can also be lifelong or acquired, and can be general or situational.
Among allosexuals, or people who do generally experience sexual desire and sexual attraction, the level of that desire fluctuates over the lifetime. Sometimes, brushing up on how to work with your desire type can be all it takes to get your groove back. Other times, you may benefit from chatting with an expert about your situation in a more casual setting, or even seeking sex therapy.
Is my sex drive normal?
So how do you tell if your sexual desire is normal? The truth is, what a “normal” sex drive looks like is different for everyone. First of all, there’s no objective way to measure sexual desire across different populations to arrive at a universal standard. Second of all, even if there were, how you feel about your sexual desire — and, to a lesser extent, how it lines up with anyone you’re in a relationship with — is far more important. Some people are totally happy and satisfied with what for other people would be a very small amount of sex, while others are happy and satisfied with what for other people would be a very high amount of sex.
Sexual desire also shifts over time. This is the case for everyone eventually. Unless you find yourself at an extreme of no sex drive at all and feeling concerned about it, or a sex drive so high it’s interfering with your ability to live your life, a fluctuation in sex drive doesn’t need to be a cause for concern. However, if it’s impacting your life and relationships, or if it’s making you unhappy, it might be time to consider seeking expert support.
What causes low sexual desire?
There are so many things that can cause a low sexual drive, and they can be both psychological and physiological.
Psychological causes can include relationship dissatisfaction or problems within a relationship, stress, and depression. On top of that, if the sex you are having is not pleasurable, or you have a sexual dysfunction, this will likely be impacting on your levels of desire too.
Physiological causes include underlying health problems like reduced hormone levels (low testosterone), aging and even doing too much exercise or too little exercise. Likewise, if you're using drugs or alcohol you might find this causes sexual dysfunction, including decreased desire.
There is usually no one reason why a person will be experiencing low desire, so it’s about checking in with yourself and seeing where the problem may lie.
What does having a low sex drive mean for men?
Because our society still has a lot of work to do around sex, masculinity, pleasure, and what they say about us, if you’re experiencing low desire, you might worry that it says something about you as a person or as a man. It doesn’t. All it means is that you’re experiencing low sexual desire.
If you’re in a relationship, low sexual desire can lead to conflict if you have a desire discrepancy with your partner. Yet that can be the case even among partners who each consider their sexual desire to be at the usual levels. What’s important is not the objective sexual desire itself, and instead how you address desire discrepancies together. The Lover app has suggestions on ways to initiate erotic intimacy in a mixed-desire relationship.
If you have a penis, low desire isn’t the same thing as erectile dysfunction, though if it leads to anxiety around sexual experiences then erectile dysfunction can result. Like with a mixed-desire relationship, communicating with your partner can alleviate some of that risk.