The loss of interest in sex that comes with low testosterone is any issue for many men, especially if you're feeling unsure of yourself. Try working out, losing weight, and de-stressing to get your mojo moving.
Low testosterone or low T leads to a loss of libido. Treating low T directly is one way to get your groove back. You also can try strategies like working out more, losing weight, and eating healthfully to enhance your sexuality during and after treatment.
According to urologist Steven Canfield, MD, associate professor in the department of surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, while you might be tempted to write off your lagging libido as a natural part of aging or over-scheduled, stressed-out days, you don’t have to accept it. Instead of ignoring symptoms of fatigue, lost libido, lost muscle mass, and unusual weight gain – all of which suggest a loss of testosterone; you should get tested for low testosterone and talk to your doctor about the best treatment strategies for dealing with low T.
“If you’re still interested in an active sex life, then talk to your doctor about monitoring testosterone and maybe supplementing it, along with implementing diet and lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Canfield, adding that, while there are currently no guidelines for a correct “dose” of exercise or a specific plan, urology and reproductive endocrinology specialists can help guide you.
For most men, male sexuality has at least two components: the physical performance of the penis and the desire for sex, both of which can be separate from the question of whether or not there’s an erection. Low testosterone can affect both, which is important to consider when re-invigorating your sex life. To help increase testosterone levels a doctor may prescribe testosterone supplements, usually in the form of a topical gel you rub on your skin, to help bring testosterone levels back to normal. There are also non-pharmacological approaches that can help raise testosterone and increase your libido.
Work Out: “We should be recommending about 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week,” said Canfield. Exercise has many benefits beyond helping to raise testosterone, “exercise has been shown to increase sexual desire, No medicine has been shown to do that,” said Canfield.
You’ll want a mix of cardio and weight-training exercises to get a full-body workout. Exercise helps both libido and testosterone in numerous ways and can improve heart health and aid weight management.
Male sexuality is intimately related to heart health. In fact, difficulty achieving or keeping erections can be an early warning sign of heart disease, with a coronary artery disease event likely to occur two to five years after the onset of ED. “Anything you can do to help your heart will help your erections,” pointed out Canfield.
Weight loss can help as well; “Losing weight will improve testosterone and libido. Androgen, a hormone essential to normal sexual development in men, increases at a greater rate in men who lose weight,” he said. Exercise can help you meet your weight goals and as a bonus, exercising with your sex partner in a way you both enjoy can be very stimulating.
Get Some Sleep: Your body is a testosterone factory with its greatest production during a night of uninterrupted sleep. Sleeping may not be the initial reason you want to be in bed, but enhancing the quality of your sleep can also enhance those other activities. Keep your sleeping space cool, dark, and inviting for both sex and sleep. Be creative and add little touches with music, candles, and textures that allow you to set a sexy mood but also support sound sleep.
Getting more sleep and exercise can help reduce stress, a factor Canfield said could contribute to lost libido and low T, although it is not well documented as of yet.
Take Ginseng: Canfield said that between a half a gram and two grams of ginseng a day can help improve your sexual function and desire, without negative side effects (although you should always let your doctors know before you try a new supplement to make sure it won’t interact with other medications you’re taking). “Ginseng is an Asian food supplement that has been studied quite extensively, and research suggests it significantly improves erectile dysfunction,” said Canfield.
Eat a Mediterranean Diet: “In line with weight loss, a diet that’s low in calories and fat, high in protein, and has a reduced amount of carbohydrate can improve testosterone and improve desire,” advised Canfield. The Mediterranean-style diet, which features plenty of fish, healthy fats (such as olive oil), whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy, is one such diet. Changing your diet and watching portion sizes can also help with weight management.
Tackle Bad Habits: Those little indulgences you secretly know are bad for you — smoking cigarettes, drinking a little too much alcohol, or even a post-dinner coffee — can add up to lost desire. Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke; drink moderately, if at all; and give up caffeine after midday to improve your sex life — and your sleep.
The prescription for reclaiming your sex life is a lot like the prescription for overall health. You’ll be looking and feeling better than ever, in bed and out, as you work on these five strategies for improving libido.