It can be worrying when your partner has a low libido; as a result, you might start believing that there are problems in your relationship, or that your partner finds you less attractive than they did years ago. However, this may not necessarily be the case.
It is well known that testosterone levels and libido are linked. As men age, they are not immune to the effects of hormone changes. Testosterone levels slowly decrease (also known as the andropause), and symptoms of testosterone deficiency start to become more obvious. Just like gynaecomastia (enlargement of breasts in males – colloquially known as ‘man boobs’), reduced muscle mass and depression, decreased sexual function (including reduced libido) is an age-associated physiological change consistent with testosterone deficiency.
Here, we take a look at the vicious cycle of poor lifestyle habits and low testosterone. We’ll explain what you can do to help your partner if they are experiencing low libido if this is causing an issue for both of you in your relationship.
Low Libido: When Does It Become A Problem?
Sex drive does decline with age in men and women, but this decline is also subjective, and depends on the context of the individual and their relationship(s). Dr Ghazala Aziz-Scott, hormone specialist at the Marion Gluck Clinic, explains, “What one man considers low sex drive, another man may not. For example, those who are in a long term relationship may not see sex as a priority. It also depends on the partner’s perception on what constitutes a low sex drive; if one partner’s libido is much higher than the other’s, that may create issues within the relationship.”
If low libido is a problem, low testosterone can be a factor. However, there are other components at play, including poor physical and mental health, and lifestyle habits.
Testosterone levels can be influenced by these lifestyle factors:
- Increased weight and obesity
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
- Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome
- Other illnesses like cardiovascular disease
- Stress, depression and other mental illness
- Unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
While these elements can all lead to low testosterone, they also have an impact on metabolic health, general wellbeing and self esteem. This creates a double edged sword, where the individual may begin to find it difficult to break out of the low libido and poor wellbeing cycle.
How To Help If Your Partner Has Low Libido
What can a guy do to increase his libido? Are you wondering how best to help your partner regain their sex drive? Dr Aziz-Scott provides her tips:
1. Approach the subject empathetically
Typically, men find it more difficult to discuss their health problems with others. As this is a particularly delicate subject (sex drive is often linked with masculinity and self esteem), try to be empathetic and diplomatic in your approach. It may be helpful to ask indirect questions such as ‘are you feeling more tired than usual?’ or ‘is something causing you stress at work or home?’. From there, it may open up conversation and you could discuss options or find solutions to help them feel better. Try not to start the conversation by suggesting that they should see a doctor!
2. Work to reduce stress together
Try to find a way to reduce stress together as a family or partnership. Ask yourselves if you have too many financial commitments, if either of you are working too much, or if you’re pressuring each other to perform with unrealistic expectations. Try to support each other where possible in your journey to managing everyday stresses and to building active relaxation into your day.
3. Improve your diet
If you happen to do most of the cooking in the household, try to ensure that the whole family are eating whole, unprocessed foods during most meals. An anti-inflammatory Mediterranean style diet is the perfect example. Encourage your household to eat six to eight portions of fruit and vegetables per day, good quality protein, low carbohydrates, good fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds and reduce the consumption of fatty and fried foods. It’s also recommended that your diets contain plenty of zinc and omega 3. It’s true that processed or ready-meals seem convenient in a busy lifestyle but taking time to prepare nourishing food is really vital for overall health and wellbeing. By approaching this together, you can implement these changes and keep each other on track.
When it comes to specific foods, don’t discount the power of aphrodisiacs. Oysters, for example, contain zinc, which we know increases testosterone production!
Discover 10 testosterone boosting foods.
4. Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol is a big part of many people’s social and domestic lives. It’s not uncommon for couples to enjoy a drink together at home or when socialising with friends. However, if you and/or your partner are often drinking more than the recommended limits, remember that this habit has an impact on metabolic and gut health, as well as testosterone levels. Just like improving your diet, try to cut down alcohol consumption together in order to encourage each other’s healthy lifestyle choices.
Even gentle exercise can make a big difference to metabolic health. Researchers now say that ‘sitting is the new smoking’, so combat this by going for daily walks or bike rides together. It’s important to make sure that you’re moving, rather than living a sedentary lifestyle.
Long term relationships cause familiarity, where you and your partner become used to being around each other, and therefore daily interaction may not feel as exciting as it once did when you were first dating. While familiarity is important for bonding and building trust, it can also contribute to low libido. Visiting a marriage guidance counsellor or sex therapist can help you find ways to introduce novelty and excitement back into your relationship, as well as helping to unravel negative patterns that you and your partner have slipped into over the years.
7. Hormone therapy
If the above lifestyle changes aren’t working out, it’s important to seek medical help. At the Marion Gluck Clinic, we can perform blood tests that help us discover what might be contributing to the low libido, or erectile dysfunction if this is the case. We look for low levels of testosterone and DHEA, as well as estrogen, because when men are suffering from metabolic issues, the amount of estrogen in their system increases, and this can affect the production of testosterone. Other tests may reveal increased levels of cortisol, poor metabolic health, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
For many patients, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) can make a huge difference to libido and general wellbeing, especially where all other aspects of the patient’s lifestyle are positive, and testosterone deficiency has been diagnosed. We combine TRT with natural ways to increase testosterone for the best results.
Find Out If Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) Can Help
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