June 2, 2019

Having a low sex drive can be a major source of depression and anxiety for many men. But what causes it and what can you do about it?

Nature OR Nurture?

Some men are genetically predisposed to low sex drive. For others, life events can temporarily dampen ardor, and this is a normal part of life’s ups and downs that shouldn’t cause too much concern.

How Brain Chemistry Affects Sex Drive

To a great extent, our neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain, control sex drive. For example, low levels of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, can lower sex drive, while too much serotonin can decrease libido.

Is it all in the head?

Psychological factors have a significant influence on sex drive. Depression is often a factor, but also previous traumas related to sexual experiences can create ongoing problems, if left unresolved.


There’s nothing that kills sexual desire quite so effectively as stress.

Stress puts you into a ‘fight or flight’ survival mode. In this state, your body diverts energy to survival processes e.g. speeding heart rate and breathing to deliver more blood to muscles, and away from all non-essential systems, including your reproductive system.

Stress can be ongoing and chronic, such as a demanding job, bills to pay, etc.; or it can occur more acutely following trauma in your life – the death of a loved one, for example.

Both will have the same negative effect on your sex life.


Be aware also that certain medications, such as antidepressants, can lower sex drive.

Best Ways to Enhance Sex Drive

Several simple strategies are worth trying to boost sex drive.

Stress management

Incorporating daily stress management routines can have major positive benefits to your sexual performance. Consider activities such as meditation, moderate exercise, being out in nature, yoga or anything else you find relaxing.

Eating right

As well as eating a healthy, balanced diet, it’s worth considering incorporating certain foods in your diet, known to increase sex drive.

Oysters are a well-known aphrodisiac, and this is not merely a myth. Oysters are very high in zinc, which helps with sperm production and normalize testosterone levels.

Plenty of protein foods are also essential as they provide essential amino acids needed for healthy neurotransmitter production in the brain. Protein foods include meat and fish, eggs, legumes and nuts,and seeds.

Exercise regularly

Research shows that people who are physically more active have higher sex drives. This is because we produce more of the feel-good brain chemicals, endorphins, and we also have improved blood circulation, with the added bonus of enhancing blood flow to the genitals.

Many men worry about how to last longer in bed, but if you’ve got the opposite problem, it can be very distressing.



Bergh, S., &Giraldi, A. (2014). Sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant agents. UgeskrLaeger, May 26(176(22), pii: V11130687.

Gaskins, A., Sundaram, R., Buck Louis, G., &Chavarro, J. (2018). Predictors of Sexual Intercourse Frequency Among Couples Trying to Conceive. The Journal Of Sexual Medicine, 15(4), 519-528.

Giovannoni, G. (2000). Hedonistic homeostatic dysregulation in patients with Parkinson’s disease on dopamine replacement therapies. Journal Of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 68(4), 423-428.

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