Last updated: Apr 26, 2008
(MATT HIND/DAVID LEES/GETTY IMAGES)
Men with low libidos are often haunted by this stereotype. "Men are culturally indoctrinated to believe that sexual prowess is the indicator of their manhood," says Michael Krychman, MD, executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine in Newport Beach, Calif. And the shame is so unnecessary, he says, because a trip to the doctor might well uncover a treatable hormone imbalance or an underlying and potentially life-threatening medical condition, such as hypertension, that is causing the problem.
"We frequently see men with low testosterone who have low sexual desire or ED..." (:49)
In addition to medical reasons for low sex drive, there are also psychological reasonssuch as depression, chronic stress, or relationship problemsthat could explain why a man might be experiencing low libido.
"We tend to overmedicalize men and minimize their psyche," says Dr. Krychman. "We tend to neglect the social issues that may affect men; when a woman comes in and she has problems with sexual function, we tend to tell her, 'Go home, have a glass of wine, try to relax.'" That's not fair or helpful treatment for either sex. "Clearly it's a combination of (biological and psychological factors) for both men and women," Dr. Krychman says.
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If your sex drive is waning, the first step is to get a complete physical assessment. If your primary care provider can't find a specific health problem, a consultation with a specialist in sexual medicine could be helpful. A certified sex therapist may be able to pinpoint any psychological issues behind the loss of desire, and help you and your partner cope with the problem while your doctors are tracking down any hidden physical causes.
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Treatment may involve something as logical as testosterone replacement or couples counseling, or something as unexpected as treatment for a thyroid problem or of previously undiagnosed diabetes.