Testosterone isn't the only fuel for a man's sex drive and
performance. But low testosterone can reduce your ability to have
satisfying sex. Lack of sex drive and erectile dysfunction are sexual
problems that can result from low testosterone. If low testosterone is
the cause, treating it can help.
Testosterone and the Causes of Low Libido
haven't unraveled the mystery of just how testosterone increases
libido. It's normal for a man's sex drive to slowly decline from its
peak in his teens and 20s, but libido varies widely between men. What
one man might consider a low sex drive, another might not. Also, sex
drive changes within each man over time and is affected by stress,
sleep, and opportunities for sex. For these reasons, defining a "normal"
sex drive is next to impossible. Usually, the man in question may
identifies a lack of sex drive as a problem. Other times, his partner
may consider it to be an issue.
Low testosterone symptoms don't always include feeling like you have no sex drive. Some men maintain sexual desire at relatively low testosterone levels. For other men, libido may lag even with normal testosterone levels. Low testosterone is one of the possible causes of low libido, however.
If testosterone is lowered far enough, virtually all men will
experience some decline in sex drive. In a large study of men in
Massachusetts, about 11% overall said they had a lack of sex drive. The
researchers then tested all the men's testosterone levels. About 28% of
men with low testosterone had low libido. These men were relatively
young, with an average age of 47; older men might have worse sexual
Low testosterone is only one of the causes of low
libido. Stress, sleep deprivation, depression, and chronic medical
illnesses can also sap a man's sex drive.
Low Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction
Surprisingly, low testosterone by itself rarely causes erectile dysfunction, or ED. Low testosterone alone -- with no other health problems -- accounts for a small minority of men with erectile dysfunction.
problems are usually caused by atherosclerosis -- hardening of the
arteries. If damaged, the tiny blood vessels supplying the penis can no
longer dilate to bring in the strong flow needed for a firm erection.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol are the
three main causes of atherosclerosis and erectile dysfunction.
the same time, low testosterone is a frequent accomplice to
atherosclerosis in creating erectile dysfunction. In studies, as many as
one in three men mentioning ED to their doctor have low testosterone.
Experts believe that in men with other factors causing erectile
dysfunction, low testosterone can strongly contribute, making a
difficult situation even worse.
Strengthening the connection,
low testosterone is linked in some way with many of the conditions that
lead to erectile dysfunction:
. Metabolic syndrome
. Endothelial dysfunction
low testosterone isn't known to cause them, the associations between
other medical conditions and low testosterone can be significant.
therapy improves sex drive and satisfaction with sex in many men.
However, the long-term risks and benefits of testosterone replacement
are unknown. Research trials on testosterone replacement in men are
ongoing, although results are years away.