Low Testosterone and Low Sex Drive—Not Just an Aging Issue
Many men wonder why they feel less like themselves over time. They realize they’re getting older, but they are still concerned with significant changes like a noticeable loss of sex drive.
If that describes your situation, if you find that the quality of your sex life and your overall satisfaction are declining, it’s normal to be alarmed and to want answers.
Lifestyle choices, medications, and stress can all negatively impact your sex drive over time, but the male physiology can also play a major role.
Low Testosterone and Low Sex Drive: Not Just Getting Older
Low testosterone, insufficient levels of the male sex hormone that fuels both sperm production and libido (sexual motivation), could be the root cause of your decreased sexual interest.
Men have a gradual decline in sexual vitality and interest proportional to the natural decline in testosterone and other hormone production that comes with aging. However, what’s important to note is that the natural reduction is supposed to be a very gradual decline, with levels decreasing at a rate of about 1-2% per year after age 30.
It should be imperceptible.
Noticeable changes, including a significant or sudden decrease in sex drive, could be the symptoms or indicators of a more serious underlying problem.
Hypogonadism (the medical term for Low T) refers to an abnormal decline in testosterone production—an actual medical condition.
In other words, something that shouldn’t be happening or that’s happening unnaturally causes a serious decline in testosterone levels to the point where you experience some or all of the symptoms of low testosterone—one of which is a reduction in sex drive.
Hypogonadism is broken down into 2 types.
Type 1 or primary hypogonadism is the result of testicular dysfunction that prevents the testes (where 95% of testosterone is produced in healthy males) from functioning properly. Some of these causes include:
- Trauma or injury to the testicles
- Tumors and cancer
- Surgical removal of one or both testicles
- Radiation treatment or chemotherapy
- Klinefelter’s syndrome
- Adolescent mumps (or other infections) causing extreme swelling of the testicles
- Exogenous influence from estrogens or estrogen-like substances
Type 2 or secondary hypogonadism is basically a disruption of the hormonal communication network between your brain (the hypothalamus and pituitary gland) and your testes, where testosterone and sperm are produced.
Similar to crossed wires or a problem with your body’s operating system, your biochemical communication network of hormones could be malfunctioning. Even though the body’s machinery responsible for testosterone production is in good working order, a member of this communication system is not sending or interpreting your body’s signals correctly, and the testes aren’t being notified to produce testosterone.
To sum that up:
Low testosterone (hypogonadism) is an actual medical condition occurring when the body fails to produce enough testosterone on its own, and loss of libido or sex drive is a common symptom.
Defining a Loss of Sex Drive
There’s a fundamental difficulty with this situation—libido varies widely between men. What one man considers a low sex drive for himself might seem entirely normal to another man.
In addition, the sex drive ebbs and flows within each individual over the course of their life, and it is affected by stress, sleep, the use of certain medications, and other factors. That means defining a normal sex drive across a large group of men is impractical. It usually comes down to individuals themselves identifying a significant change in sex drive compared to how they normally feel, or their partner raising it as an issue.
Some men maintain a reasonable level of sexual desire at lower testosterone levels, but other men find their libido has lagged with levels considered closer to the normal range. Low testosterone is one of the possible causes of low libido, however. If testosterone is lowered far enough, virtually all men will experience a decline in sex drive.
Therefore, the relevant question for each individual is this:
Do you feel that your desire/appetite for sex is normal and healthy for you?
Low Sex Drive and Low Testosterone: Reaching a Diagnosis
Libido changes are often specifically linked to declines in testosterone production, but only a medical consultation with accompanying blood test will tell you if your sex drive issues are a result of low testosterone.
A simple blood test and thorough evaluation can help to define what the real problem is—testosterone or otherwise.
At Testosterone Centers of Texas (TCT), your first consult is free. We strive for significant improvement of your symptoms (including the loss of libido or decreased sex drive), the careful maintenance of safety and overall health, all while making treatment as convenient as possible.