What is Libido?
Libido is the conventional term used to refer to the overall sexual drive of an individual. Variation in the level of libido is a lifelong process since there is always an increase or decrease in the sexual drive of a person. When varies for a short period of time, libido does not indicate unstable sexual health. However, if it continues to increase or decrease for a large period of time, libido can become a determinant of some underlying health disorder.
While people tend to believe that the factors like upbringing, company, religious values, etc. are responsible for sexual desires, the science says exactly the opposite. Libido is generated in a human due to the combination of different approaches which are biological, psychological, and social. Hormones play a major part in determining the sex drive of a person along with other mental and external factors.
There are two approaches to libido
1. Biological Approach to libido
According to the biological approach, libido is produced when the sex hormones manufactured by the specific glands in humans produce neurotransmissions that act upon the nucleus accumbens of the brain. The two key hormones responsible for sex drive and pleasure are testosterone and dopamine. Nucleus accumbens lies in the basal forebrain of the anterior hypothalamus and controls the cognitive functions of motivation and rewards system. It is the region of the brain that controls the release of dopamine while testicles are responsible for the production of testosterone.
While the common belief says that testosterone is the only hormone that determines sex drive in men, the truth is, dopamine is just as important for libido generation. Production of testosterone is the result of an entire cycle of stimulus called the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis. The hormones called gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH) produced by the hypothalamus instructs pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone (LH) which plays the role of commanding testicles to produce testosterone. Dopamine increases the entire process and hence boosts the production of testosterone.
The increased level of testosterone in the body is the source of libido rush.
2. Psychological Approach
The psychological approach of the libido has two disciplines, the first comes from psychoanalysis and is coined by Sigmund Freud and the second is based on analytic psychology which is given by Carl Gustav Jung.
- Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud associates libido with love. It regards libido as a quantitative magnitude which comprised emotion and sensation that comes under love.
- Analytic Psychology coined by Carl Gustav Jung considers libido as appetite in itself. It says that sexual drive is a body’s need like food in hunger. Libido is said to be the sum of all psychic energy and is not limited to sexual desires.
Low Male Libido
The above-mentioned factors discussed to be the cause of libido generation in men can also become the reason for the deficiency of libido in case of malfunctioning. Some major causes of low libido in men are-
1. Low testosterone
Testosterone plays a major role in the generation of sex drive and lack of this sex hormone’s generation can result in reduced sexual desires. There are many factors that result in the low level of testosterone in the body-
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Liver Cirrhosis
- Tumour or dysfunctioning in the pituitary gland
- Injury or trauma
- Infection in testes
- Congenital defect
- Inflammatory disorders
- HIV AIDS
- Excessive production of estrogen
- Chronic kidney failure
- Delayed puberty
- Sleeping disorders
- High production of prolactin in the body
- Brain surgery
- Abnormal development of the hypothalamus
- Chemotherapy of cancer
- Metabolic disorders
2. There are certain medications that have a reducing effect on the libido level of an individual. These are-
- SSRI or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors antidepressants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Proscar (used in the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or enlargement of the prostate)
- Birth Control Pills
- Propecia (to cure hair loss in men)
- Antihistamines (to cure allergies)
- Medical Marijuana
3. Alcohol or drug abuse can also lead to the condition. Excessive or negligible exercise sometimes also lead to the condition
4. Psychological factors like depression, stress, unhealthy relationship, etc. can also be the bone of contention.
Treating Low Male Libido
Reduced sex drive has serious implications on both physical and mental health. Hampered sexual life can result in anxiety and depression along with the fear of social stigma which links disinterest in sexual activities with emasculation. The weak mental state consequently leads to physical disorders. Therefore treating male libido is essential and the good news is, it can be done with some simple steps taken on both personal and professional level-
1. Working on the quality of the relationship
Reigniting the spark in the romantic relationship is a good way to experience an upsurge in your sexual drive. It often happens that attraction decreases after spending a lot of time together or due to thick and thins in relation. This can be fixed by planning more dates, doing recreational activities together, talking about things openly, making time for each other except that of what you spend at home.
2. Focus on better sleep
Most of the time, low libido is the result of disrupted sleeping pattern and sleeping disorders. Too much work, late-night parties, excessive use of electronic gadgets, drug or alcohol abuse, etc. can affect the sleeping schedule of an individual, badly. Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep at night no matter what. Stop the usage of mobile phones or any other gadget once you are off to bed. Keep the room pitch dark while sleeping and stop the consumption of caffeine or alcohol before going to bed.
3. Find A Way Out Of Depression
If you are suffering through depression or anxiety, find a cure for your mental unrest as soon as possible. Talk to your partner or whoever is close to you. Try to spend time doing things that are productive and don’t sit idle. Pick an old hobby and start doing things that you love. Eat healthily and take adequate sleep. If nothing helps, talk to your therapist and manage your depression and anxiety.
4. Work On Foreplay
Foreplay works magic when it comes to turning on the sexual desires of the body. However, below-average foreplay can result in a major turn off and if it happens over and over again, the sexual desires towards the partner will automatically die. Make sure to introduce foreplay as the part of initiation the next time you turn things to bed with your partner.
5. Eat a nutritious diet
There are certain foods that result in an increase of testosterone level in males which is very essential to cure low libido since a reduction in the aforementioned sex hormone is the major reason for low male libido. Focus on a vegetarian diet, mainly green veggies and turn your back towards sugar. Junk food is also studied and proven to reduce sex drive hence, avoid it as much as you can.
6. Manage your weight and exercise
Obesity is also one leading reason for the reduction in libido in men. Keep a check on your calorie intake and reduce your weight. Exercise daily, go running and eat a balanced diet. The vegetarian diet is best when losing some extra pounds is your motive. There are certain yoga and exercises that work directly on the second chakra or sacral chakra of the body that is responsible for nurturing sexual desires in a person. Make them part of your routine.
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