It’s natural for men to notice a gradual decrease in sex drive (libido) as they age. The degree of this decline varies, but most men maintain at least some amount of sexual interest well into their 60’s and 70’s.
Sometimes, however, loss of sex drive is related to an underlying condition. If you’re suffering from lost libido, consider these possible culprits:
1. Stress. The body reacts to stress by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Chronic stress, in particular, can interfere with your body’s hormone levels, and result in a low libido. The arteries can also narrow and restrict blood flow in response to stress, which can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Stress can also reduce your libido by distracting you and taking your mind off sexual desire.
2. Depression. Libido and depression share a complicated link. According to psychologists, depression can change the body’s biochemistry and therefore reduce libido. It’s also harder to feel sexual when you’re depressed. Some medications commonly used to treat depression may also lower libido as a side effect.
3. Lack of Sleep. A good night’s rest might be hard to come by, but you need sleep to keep you mind sharp, your body healthy, and your libido active. When you’re exhausted, sleep becomes the priority, leaving you too tired for anything else. Physically, a lack of sleep can elevate cortisol levels, which also leads to low libido. One recent study found that men with restless leg syndrome (a neurological disorder characterized by jumpy, creepy-crawly sensations as you’re falling asleep) are at higher risk for erectile dysfunction, likely due to low dopamine levels.
4. Medication. Some medications used to treat depression, high blood pressure, and other common illnesses can affect libido or cause sexual dysfunction.
5. Hormone Imbalance. Testosterone levels directly influence libido–low levels often lead to low sex drive. It’s a matter of a hormone imbalance. Low testosterone can be caused by injury, inflammation, or tumors in the testicles.
6. Relationship or Time Issues. The hectic schedules of daily life can put your sex life on the backburner. The same is true of relationship woes. When a couple is fighting or feeling distant from each other, they’re less likely to want to be intimate. Communication problems, anger, conflicts, and resentment—all these negative emotions can carry over into the bedroom. Unless you make time for each other and for intimacy, it may not happen. Eventually, lack of sex can lead to low libido.