What is Low Testosterone?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone that plays an important role in the sexual development and functioning of the body. It contributes to sperm production, develops muscle mass, and aids fat distribution.
So, why do some men have low testosterone? The reasons vary, with age being the most common, but you can also be born with lower levels of testosterone or acquire this through an injury.
The prevalence of low testosterone among men is not fully understood in science. Testosterone typically reaches its peak levels between a man's teenage years and into their twenties. This then drops by about 1% to 2% a year after age 40. As men age, this can lead to symptoms such as low desire, depression and anxiety. Decreased testosterone is a normal sign of aging -- however, if you do notice a significant decline, or your health is impacted, it’s always best to check in with your healthcare provider.
What Happens When a Man’s Testosterone is Low?
Symptoms of low testosterone may include:
Having a low sex drive
Difficulty maintaining an erection
A decrease in semen production
Changes in mood, including irritability or an inability to focus
Loss of hair, both body and facial
Having increased body fat
How Do You Fix Low Testosterone?
The levels of testosterone in a man will gradually decrease over time, and this is simply a natural part of aging. However, there are ways to increase or maintain testosterone levels.
Many millions of men choose to use testosterone replacement therapy to overcome low testosterone. However, when other underlying health concerns such as diabetes or obesity are present, this type of hormone therapy won’t solve the issue alone.
Typically, testosterone replacement therapy is administered via injections, gels, or patches. These are prescribed depending on the severity of the situation, as they come with their own side-effects. For more information about side-effects, see: “Adverse Effects of Testosterone Therapy in Adult Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”.
Alternative methods to address low testosterone include:
Exercising (a sedentary lifestyle can lead to low testosterone)
Maintaining a healthy weight
Taking Vitamin D supplements (This study showed an increase in testosterone related to Vitamin D intake)
Getting sufficient sleep regularly
Sex therapy for erectile dysfunction
How to Arouse a Man With Low Testosterone
If you’re not sure whether your partner has low testosterone or not, don’t jump to conclusions! If they are showing signs of low libido, remember that this can be caused by many things: from stress levels to a lack of exercise. You can learn more about the causes of low libido in men here.
If your partner does have low testosterone, bear in mind that this doesn’t always result in low libido. Have an open conversation about your sex life with your partner, without judgment, and find out how each of you are feeling.
If your partner is experiencing symptoms of low libido, the most important thing here is to not catastrophize the situation. It's important that you aren't expecting too much from your partner if they are struggling. Remember, there are plenty of ways to connect sexually, and this will lead to increased intimacy both on a sexual and emotional level.
Try to engage in activities like taking a bath together every now and again, or planning date nights where you don't bring your phones with you. You may find spending more time just kissing and caressing one another's bodies will get your partner in a better headspace for sex. Don't be afraid to get experimental!
How Can I Help My Partner With Low Testosterone?
It's all too easy to jump to the conclusion that your partner's low libido is caused by a lack of attraction. Keep in mind that your partner is still attracted to you, and their decreased libido is a natural result of low testosterone. Maintaining this awareness and understanding of their experience will help to ease related tension within the relationship.
It is also critical to find ways to support your partner. For many men, the diagnosis of low testosterone can lead to feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. Considering how society has historically fed us the idea that men "always" have sex on their minds, it comes as no surprise that low testosterone and low libido may impact mens' mental health.
There are so many ways to show support. This might mean joining them on doctor visits, helping them to seek therapy for erectile dysfunction, or just checking in every now and again to see how they’re feeling. It also helps to ease off any shame or guilt they may be feeling by letting them know that you're still attracted to them, and that you care for them.
While your partner is less interested in having sex, don't forget that there are many other ways to be affectionate! This will help keep the emotional connection strong, which will take the pressure off your sexual situation.
Each couple will have their own unique way of dealing with low testosterone. The important thing is to be compassionate to yourself and your partner!