As Napoleon reputedly said—not tonight, Josephine.
We’ve all been there, right?
Those times where our partner is eager to indulge in sexual intercourse—but for us, the desire simply isn’t there. Usually, this is just a temporary lack of interest, and the following day, our enthusiasm returns.
Yet for some men (and women)—this is an everyday occurrence. Constant low libido can affect our mental wellbeing, confidence, happiness, and relationships.
This is your complete guide on how to increase libido.
What Does Low Libido Mean?
Let me start this article by making something clear—everyone’s sexual activity and desire are different.
Just because you’re not as athletic beneath the sheets as your neighbor—who claims to be at it like a jackrabbit every day (he’s probably lying)—you may still have a healthy sex life.
Research indicates that average sexual frequency isn’t as high as many men expect.
A report from the University of Chicago illustrates that men between the ages of 18-29 have sex 1.6 times per week, in their 40s it falls to 1.2 times per week—and when they are 70 years of age, around ten times per year.1
Hence, not being a daily sexual powerhouse is entirely normal.
However, if you find that your reduced interest in bedroom action is causing you or your partner stress, worry, or concern—or that desire is totally absent—you could be suffering from low libido.
Studies show that libido naturally declines as we become older.
Between the ages of 20-30, around seven percent of guys suffer from low libido—rising to approximately 26 percent when we reach 70 years. Across the board, researchers estimate that 16 percent of men suffer from lack of desire at any one time.2
If not addressed, low libido can escalate into the clinically diagnosed HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder)—where the lack of physical interest causes severe distress and dramatically affects relationships.3
Spotting the early signs can prevent this from happening, which I will address in the next section of this How to Increase Libido article.
Signs of Low Libido
Remember, not wanting to have sex on the odd occasion isn’t low libido—that’s natural. Often our sexual requirements don’t match that of our partner.
However, there are some indicators that you should look out for—to determine whether your sexual desire is lacking.
Ask yourself, do you find that you:
- Have no interest in becoming sexually active in the bedroom or elsewhere.
- Don’t fantasize about sex when alone or when seeing an attractive woman.
- Are worried about your lack of sexual frequency.
- Dread your partner instigating sexual activity.
- Find that your bedroom antics are only once or twice a month, or not at all.
- Only have physical contact with your other half in the bedroom.
- Don’t receive a feeling of connection and togetherness when making love to your partner.
- No longer look forward to sex
- Only have sex because your partner has instigated it—not because you want it.
- Feel that your intercourse is routine and mechanical.
- Never fantasize about your partner.
If any of the above signs are familiar, and you find yourself nodding your head, you may well be suffering from low libido. Yet, before we look at how to increase libido—you need to understand its root cause.
What Are the Causes of Low Libido?
The reasons why men experience low sex-drive are wide and varied—usually separated into three categories—psychological, physiological and lifestyle-related.
Psychological Causes of Low Libido
Anxiety and Depression
Furthermore, these factors can lead to performance anxiety—a concern that we are going to be a failure in the bedroom—thus increasing our concerns and lowering desire even more.5
Ironically, antidepressants, which supposedly help anxiety conditions—can also reduce libido.6
Low Self Esteem
Feeling bad about you self-image directly affects your desire.
Recent research from 2018 shows that negative self-concepts of body weight and muscle tone reduces libido.7
More worryingly, having issues around your self-image may lead to depression and alcohol and drug abuse.8
Later in this article, I suggest ways to address this condition.
For 21st century guys—day-to-day stress is hard to avoid.
Relationships, work, and financial concerns can all put severe pressure on our mental wellbeing.
When this occurs, our cortisol levels rise—which acts to impede testosterone production—one of the main drivers of sexual desire.9
Hence, as stress rises, libido falls.
Previous Negative Sexual Experiences
Sex can often be problematic.
Usually, especially in strong relationships, issues can be laughed off and forgotten about.
However, sometimes they can play on our minds.
Problems such as failure to achieve or maintain an erection, or premature ejaculation, can make us apprehensive about sex. Meaning that we are wary of future encounters—lowering our sexual desire.
Furthermore, experts explain that abusive sexual experiences—whether in childhood or adult life—can also have a marked effect on reducing our libido.10
If things aren’t going “right” in your relationship—it naturally follows that your bedroom activities are going to suffer too.
Frequent arguments, trust issues, or a feeling of non-connection with your partner can extinguish the fire of desire. However, even in seemingly stable relationships—a lack of communication around intercourse can have a negative effect.
Sex may be dissatisfying for both parties if each partner doesn’t speak about what they do or don’t enjoy between the sheets. If you see your other half isn’t taking pleasure from your lovemaking—this can damage your confidence and wreck your libido.
Knowing How to Increase Libido can have a cumulative effect—strengthening relationships and destroying this vicious circle.
Physical Causes of Low Libido
Climaxing too early, or conversely being unable to orgasm, ruins both you and your partner’s enjoyment—and can lead to embarrassment.
This can mean you develop a fear of failure—worrying that your next session will be equally unrewarding. Sometimes, this results in men losing the desire and interest in sex—preferring to avoid intercourse altogether instead of performing below par.
In a similar manner, a penis which either will not become erect or fails to remain firm can also induce a fear of sex.
A hard and erect member is the symbol of male virility—if it’s unattainable, we can feel demasculinized and embarrassed—and lose interest in lovemaking.
Understanding how to increase libido can restore your masculinity.
Testosterone is the number one male sex hormone.
Not only does this powerful androgen drive orgasms and erectile function—it’s also responsible for libido.11
The issue is, as we become older our testosterone levels drop—meaning our sexual desire follows.12
Furthermore, the hormone dopamine can also affect our sex-drive. Research shows that this potent compound fuels desire and erection attainment.13
However, the leading cause of low libido due to medication is through their testosterone-lowering (learn more) actions.
Compounds known to inhibit this sexual desire powering hormone include:
- Chemotherapy treatments.17
- Hormone-based drugs to treat prostate cancer.
- Opioid pain relievers.
- Ketoconazole (an antifungal).19
- Anabolic steroids.
If you’re feeling under the weather, getting busy in the bedroom isn’t the first thing on your mind. Although there are some chronic illnesses that directly influence libido, even if you’re generally feeling “well.”
You should expect low libido after surgery.24
Depending on the type of medical treatment, you can be sore, on sex-drive lowering drugs or need to rebuild your strength.
Knowing exactly how to increase libido after surgery doesn’t involve one simple solution. Often, time is the best healer for your desire.
For at least one partner, sex is a pursuit that requires energy—effectively, it’s a type of exercise. And let’s face it—if you’re exhausted, you would be unlikely to hit the gym.
Work, stress, insomnia, illness, and medication can all play their part in feeling lethargic. In these circumstances, understanding how to increase libido requires identifying the source of your tiredness.
Being overweight has three major implications in reducing your sexual desire, it:
Advancing years impinges on our libido since it can:
- Lower testosterone creation.
- Lead to weight gain and obesity.
- Mean lower energy levels.
While as yet there is no cure for getting older, later in this How to Increase Libido article I’ll address ways to deal with its desire-lowering symptoms.
Lifestyle Related Causes of Low Libido
Many sexual encounters are a result of alcohol intoxication.
Research suggests that moderate alcohol intake does stimulate sexual desire.27
However, taking drinking to excess is severely damaging on sexual function—reducing libido, increasing impotence and elevating the incidence of premature ejaculation.28
Others, especially stimulants such as cocaine, have the opposite effect and boost bedroom action.31
But, I’m not advocating the use of such substances as a cure for low libido. Long-term use can lead to dependence and depression—which will eventually result in lower sex-drive.
In 2010, researchers examined how men using nicotine responded to erotic films.
They discovered that in 16 of 20 men—smoking lowered sexual responses to pornographic movies by 23 percent.32
Too Much or Little Exercise
Exercise regularly, but don’t take it to extremes.
Physical activity has the benefits of lowering blood pressure, preventing obesity and reducing the chance of developing diabetes—all causes of low libido.
However, studies show that prolonged and intense endurance training can reduce sexual desire.35
Lack of Sleep
Your body produces the majority of its testosterone during the hours of slumber—especially during REM (rapid eye movement sleep) stage.36
Lack of shut-eye, or interrupted rest, can interfere with the production of this hormone. Hence, lowering your libido.37
While children are a blessing—they can play havoc with your sex life.
Whether they are stressing you out, pushing you to exhaustion or just hanging around when you want to be active in the bedroom—they can extinguish the flames of desire.
Too Much Porn
Research illustrates that too much pornography causes a multitude of sexual dysfunctions—including loss of libido, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction.38
By witnessing men with incredibly large penises lasting for over 30 minutes, inducing multiple climaxes in their partners, and using numerous acrobatic positions—our own efforts seem worthless.
Too Much Togetherness
Spending too much time with your partner can be counterproductive.
Living, working, eating and sleeping together every day can make life a little monotonous and lose its spark.
This can lead to low libido—as you no longer see your other half as someone new and exciting.
Sometimes, the old adage of absence makes the heart grow fonder may have some value.
How to Increase Libido?
Down to the real “meat”—What can you do about low libido?
The plethora of causes of low sex-drive above may seem overwhelming. But, if you can identify the source of your low libido—treatment is usually straightforward, effective and inexpensive.
Let me take you through them.
Ways To Increase Libido – Psychological factors
Manage Your Anxiety
Meditation, especially mindfulness, lowers stress and anxiety.39 Not only does concentrating on the present moment have therapeutic effects on libido—if applied during your lovemaking, you and your partner will also experience heightened intimacy.
Other practical solutions for anxiety include:
- Deep breathing.
- Getting more sleep.
- Talking over your problems with friends and family.
- Medication—both prescription and herbal.
Manage Your Expectations
Understand that the bedroom antics your buddies boast about—or the incredible feats displayed in porn films—are all unreal.
No one expects you to be a 24/7 love machine.
Set yourself realistic expectations regarding sex—both in performance ability and frequency. Remember that the average guy has sex less than twice a week.
The more you are comfortable with your abilities—the greater your sexual confidence and desire.
Communicate With Your Partner
Want to know How to Increase Libido?—just talk.
Discussing your concerns, fears and worries reduces the sex-drive-killing performance anxiety.
What’s more—exploring through communication what you both enjoy and wish to try in the bedroom can be erotic—stimulating desire.
Ways To Increase Libido -Physical Factors
Although planning seems to destroy the notion of sexual spontaneity—it can reduce worries which cause low libido.
Ideally, plan your evening’s sex session together with your partner. Discussing what you’re going to do with her in the bedroom can be as stimulating as sex itself.
Alternatively, plan a date night. Get in some decent food, candles, and massage oils—whatever works for you both. In your mind work through the evening, visualizing yourself performing like a sexual animal.
Focus on Foreplay
Buddy, take it slowly.
Intercourse is part of your lovemaking—not the whole experience.
Anticipation is half the fun—and can boost desire and elevate eroticism. Allow your partner to gently begin teasing your member—hands, tongue, feathers—whatever works for you.
Equally, remember her too.
Hearing your other half scream with delight as you caress your tongue around her clitoris can prove to be an enormous turn-on—and deliver her with intense pleasure.
Go Out Together
Let me ask you something.
Do you remember those first dates—where you were desperate to get your girl into the bedroom?
Recreate this scenario with your partner.
Arrange a time and date to meet at a restaurant. Don’t drive there together, treat it as the first time you have met. If you are comfortable—role play.
It’s remarkable how erotic this can be and stimulates desire.
It’s not for everyone—but licensed sex therapists are trained in knowing how to increase libido.
Talking through your sexual issues with a professional often means understanding the source of your low sex-drive fast.
Studies show that sex therapy is an effective treatment for a whole range of sexual dysfunctions.40
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
This involves introducing exogenous testosterone into the body through gels, mouth strips or injections.
- Prostate cancer.
- Urinary tract problems.
- Heightened red blood cell creation.
Try Herbal Remedies
There are many potent and scientifically proven testosterone boosters available which can elevate your T-count naturally—without side effects.
Furthermore, science has also shown that individual supplements such as Horny Goat Weed (learn more) have clinically studied abilities to supercharge sex-drive.
Address Underlying Medical Conditions
Using effective treatment for issues such as obesity and diabetes will not only improve all-around wellbeing—but also help to raise libido.
I explained earlier in this How to Increase Libido article that some drugs, such as opioids, antifungals and corticosteroids, can reduce sexual desire.
If you believe this is the cause of your low libido—discuss with your doctor regarding altering your medication.
Regular Exercise – One of The best Ways To Increase Libido
Keeping active improves cardiovascular health, boosts energy, increases blood flow and prevents obesity.
All of which have positive benefits on your libido.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Rewarding slumber leaves you feeling alert and revitalized the following day—lowering fatigue and making you keen to enjoy some bedroom fun.
Furthermore, sleep produces the mighty libido-powering hormone testosterone.
Improve Your Diet
Here’s the easiest way of how to increase libido—just eat more healthily.
A diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables while omitting ready-meals and take-outs will reduce the chance of obesity. And, as we’ve seen, being overweight plays havoc with your sexual desire.
I know it’s not easy—but it’s worthwhile.
Earlier in this How to Increase Libido article, I explained that nicotine lowers sexual desire.
Yet, quitting smoking has a more direct effect. Your clothes and breath will no longer smell of smoke—instantly making you more attractive to the opposite sex. This boosts confidence and increases your sexual desire.
Talk to a Professional
If following all the above steps are ineffective at increasing your sex-drive—it may be time to take professional advice.
In the first instance, speak to your physician.
He or she will listen to your experiences and concerns and advise accordingly. Remember, this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Numerous other men are in precisely the same position, and your doctor will have heard your scenario many times before.
Your physician will be able to advise on the ideal course of action for your needs. If the issue is physical or lifestyle-related, they may be able to prescribe treatment immediately.
Alternatively, if they consider the cause to be psychological—you may be directed towards a specialized therapist or psychologist.
In some circumstances, couples counseling can be beneficial for improving sex-drive.
Lack of desire in the bedroom can affect our mental health, confidence and relationships. If you don’t address it early, the issues can escalate—and lead to the debilitating hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
Finally, speak to your partner.
Sometimes just talking over your libido concerns can reduce anxiety, strengthen relationships and even lead to erotic and stimulating conversations.
Act today—the sooner you address the issue of low sexual desire—the faster you will be enjoying breathtaking and rewarding sex.
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Nazish Idrees Chaudhary on August 2019