Last updated: Feb 29, 2016
When libido fails, the problem isn't performance, it's lack of interest in performing.

Kevin, 48, a small-business owner in New York City, lost his libido in 2006 after a serious infection almost killed him. His long-term partner has been supportive, but Kevin is still concerned about the impact his disinterest in sex may have on his relationship: "We'd never gone for a week without sex, let alone months."

Kevin's libido issue doesn't seem to extend to erectile dysfunction, though an erection's beside the point in the absence of desire, he says: "You wake up and it's swollen and it's like, 'That's interesting, at least it's getting a blood flow; too bad it doesn't want to do anything.'"

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Kevin's doctor ran some tests, including a CT scan, then told Kevin it would just take some time for his body to completely recover. An acupuncturist he visited recently had her own explanation: When you get really sick, your body shuts down things that are not essential. "That makes sense," Kevin says. "Energetically I just have zero reserves."

But Kevin finds it "unnerving" that when he sees someone attractive on the street, his reaction is more intellectual or emotional than sexual. "In that way I feel like I'm not a man right now," he says.