How low testosterone affects sex drive

By The Vault Team

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It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room: testosterone and sex drive. While the connection between the two may be clear, discussing unwanted changes in our performance isn’t most people’s idea of a comfortable heart-to-heart.

Yet in truth, changes in testosterone aren’t unusual, especially after age 30. More importantly, understanding how these fluctuations affect the way our bodies work can actually motivate us to correct imbalances and regain a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Let’s start at the beginning: Testosterone is an essential, naturally occurring hormone. While it’s produced by both men and women, it's often called the “man-maker” hormone due to its role in masculine growth and development. 

The importance of testosterone comes to the fore during puberty, when it stimulates genital growth. From then through adult life, it’s essential for sperm production and sexual activity. Healthy testosterone levels are fundamental for maintaining a regular libido, as well as for sustaining erections and sexual performance. 

All good so far, right? Now, here’s the rub: According to Harvard Medical School, most adult men experience a 1-2% drop in testosterone levels every year.

Low sex drive is most often defined as having fewer sexual thoughts and a reduced interest in sex. Importantly, men with low sex drive often continue to have sex; it’s their desire for it that’s affected. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that environmental and emotional factors such as stress, lack of sleep, depression, and illness can also play a role in affecting libido. However, studies show as many as one in three men who see their doctor about erectile dysfunction (ED) also test for low testosterone.

In addition to the obvious physical consequences, low sex drive and other changes in your libido can have deferred effects on your relationships and emotional well-being, too.

Fortunately, testosterone therapy can help. In fact, one recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that testosterone replacement therapy in qualified candidates led to an improvement in libido, frequency of sexual intercourse, and frequency of nighttime erections.

Ready to start the conversation? Vault is dedicated to helping men connect with top doctors who can help identify and treat low testosterone, paving the way to long-term health.

This article was reviewed by Aaron Grotas, MD