Management and Treatment of Decreased Libido

There are thousands of remedies and theories about the management of a decreased libido in every country and culture. Some religions and cultures actually encourage men to have a low sex drive and there are cults where males are surgically castrated to decrease their sexual desires.

The treatment of a low sex drive is focussed on the cause if the cause is known. The management also depends on the patient’s motivation and need to improve his sex drive. The management and treatment of libido does not ensure overnight success and recovery is usually gradual.

Numerous options are briefly discussed:

Prescription Medication


    Many testosterone supplements are available

  • Testosterone
  • Testosterone supplements taken orally, testosterone skin patches or testosterone administered via an injection into a muscle are given to men with a decreased libido as a result of decreased testosterone. Testosterone administered via intra-muscular injection is considered the best way to improve testosterone levels because it has the least side effects. Many testosterone supplements are available over the counter, but these are not pure forms of testosterone and many adversely affect the liver and may increase blood pressure.

  • Viagra
  • Viagra increases blood flow to the penis and helps a man obtain and maintain an erection. Some men experience an increase in sexual desire because of the increased blood flow to the penis, but in general, Viagra does not cause an increase in sexual desire.


Changing treatment to something which is less likely to cause sexual side-effects

Change or adjust medication
If the cause of the decreased sexual desire is possibly because of a certain medication, it could help to try a different type of medication or a different class of medication. This means if the patient’s hypertensive treatment is suspected of decreasing his libido, his hypertensive medication should be changed to a different class. An example of this would be: if he is taking a diuretic (like hydrochlorothiazide) or a beta-blocker (like Atenolol), the doctor could rather put him on an ACE-inhibitor (a different class of hypertensive treatment) which is less likely to disturb his sexual drive. The same goes for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). SSRI are used to treat depression but it interferes with sexual performance and sexual drive of some men. The doctor and patient should discuss possibly changing treatment to something which is less likely to cause sexual side-effects. The benefit of stopping the medication should always be weighed against the risk of stopping or changing the medication. This should always be done together with a trained medical doctor because the patient just choosing to stop or change medication by himself could have bad consequences.

Non-mediacation therapy


    Sex therapist can suggest ways to “spice up” a sex life

  • Sex therapist
  • No matter what the cause of a decreased libido is, a sex therapist can help with its management. If a medical condition is diagnosed as the cause of the decreased libido, it is good to see a sex therapist while being treated for the biological condition to work through any physical and emotional changes as a result of the disease. A sex therapist can suggest various ways to increase arousal. If both partners are willing to work on the issue, a sex therapist can suggest ways to “spice up” a sex life. This may include new positions or sex toys. This will require a lot of motivation from both partners and possibly other life changes.
    A big part of sex therapy is for the couple to learn better communication skills and how to communicate their emotional, physical and sexual needs with each other.


    Depression or another psychological cause is may be the reason for a lowered sex drive

  • Psychologist
  • If depression or another psychological cause is suspected to be the reason for a lowered sex drive, it might help for the man to see a psychologist to work through various issues. During psychology sessions a man is not only helped to develop better time management and social skills but specific psychological issues may be worked on. These may all have contributed towards his reason for developing a lowered libido. When these psychological issues are worked through and resolved, he might find that his libido is much improved.

  • Relationship therapy
  • If conflict in the relationship might be related to the cause of a decreased libido or if a decreased libido is causing relationship conflict, it may help to have relationship therapy with a qualified therapist. Both partners in the relationship must be willing to attend and implement what was learnt in relationship therapy. This can also be called couple’s therapy. During relationship therapy a skilled professional tries to help a couple resolve conflicts and restore communication.

Natural Supplements

It must be remembered that natural supplements also have side effects and it is always better to consult a healthcare professional before taking any natural product. There are many of these natural products sold over the counter which claim to be miracle aphrodisiacs, but not many of these products have undergone scientific testing.
A few supplements are discussed:

    Mexican wild yam

    Mexican wild yam

  • DHEA
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a popular over-the-counter aphrodisiac. It is made from a plant extraction from the Mexican wild yam. DHEA is secreted in the body by the adrenal glands and is a precursor of the male and female sexual hormones. DHEA levels usually decrease as people get older. Taking synthetic DHEA thus increases androgen and estrogen levels in the body. DHEA comes in various forms like tablets, capsules, chewing gum and topical cream.


    Bark of the Western African Yohimbe tree

  • Yohimbe
  • Yohimbe is made from the bark of the Western African Yohimbe tree. Yohimbe capsules can be obtained without a prescription. Yohimbe is used as an energy booster, aphrodisiac and used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

    Gingko Biloba extract

    Gingko Biloba extract helps increase libido in some men

  • Gingko Biloba
  • Gingko Biloba extract helps increase libido in some men. The extract works by increasing nitric oxide synthase production. Nitric oxide synthase causes smooth muscle in the penis to relax thereby increasing penile blood-flow. This may cause a rise in sexual desire. Gingko Biloba may be taking once a day and may even help improve the loss of libido which occurs with certain anti-depressants.

  • Epimedium
  • Epimedium is a traditional Chinese medicine also known as horny goat weed. This herbal formula is said to have many health benefits. One of its most popular health benefits is increased sexual desire.


    These two trees grow in the Amazon basin in Peru and Brazil

  • Catuaba and Muira Puama
  • These two trees grow in the Amazon basin in Peru and Brazil. Their bark is used to make supplements which apparently enhance sexual function and sexual performance. Supplements containing these ingredients can be bought online on various websites. They claim to increase natural testosterone levels and also increase libido.


Lifestyle Modification


    A balanced, healthy diet increase energy levels and increase sexual desire

  • Healthy Diet
  • A balanced, healthy diet is not only good to maintain general health but it will also increase energy levels and increase sexual desire. A healthy diet should contain adequate amounts of lean meat and vegetables. If a man is not sure what foods he needs and what quantities is suited for him, he should make an appointment to see a dietician. A dietician can work out an individualized diet to suit his lifestyle and needs.

  • Daily vitamins
  • Taking a general multivitamin and omega 3&6 pills will help supplement a healthy diet.

  • Drink less alcohol
  • Small amounts of alcohol can help boost a man’s confidence and increase his sexual desire. But drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis will dampen his sexual drive. Excessive alcohol also causes erectile dysfunction in some men.

  • Stress Less
  • Stressing less is often easier said than done. Too much and prolonged stress can definitely decrease some men’s libido. A man should strive to develop better time management skills or make a decision to change jobs if needed.

  • Eat foods that will increase libido
  • Eat more foods with Aphrodisiac properties.
    The following foods are believed to increase libido:

    • Raw Celery
    • Celery contains androsterone which is an odourless hormone which is released through male perspiration, called a pheromone. This hormone is believed to arouse women.

    • Eggs
    • Eggs are high in vitamins B6 and B5 which help balance hormones and fight stress. These vitamins are important to maintain a healthy libido.

    • Fruit
    • Some fruit look suggestive and taste sweet and juicy like figs and strawberries. Fruit like avocado and Banana contain potassium and B vitamins which increase overall energy and are thus also good for sex-drive.

    • Raw Oysters
    • Oysters contain dopamine which is known to increase libido. They are also high in zinc which is needed for testosterone production.

    • Nuts
    • Nuts, especially almonds, contain essential fatty acids which are needed for adequate hormone production.

    • Liver
    • Liver contains glutamine which boosts the immune system which may help increase a lowered sex drive.

    • Garlic
    • Garlic contains Allicin which increases blood flow and therefor also increases blood flow to the sexual organs.

    • Chocolate
    • Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is a chemical which makes one feel good and produces the feeling of “being in love”. It must be remembered that pure chocolate is bitter. Dark chocolate has more health benefits than the sweet chocolate which is packed with sugar.

  • Eat less of the following foods:
    • Liquorice
    • Liquorice which is often used to make candy contains phytoestrogens which has been linked to causing lower testosterone levels. Having lower testosterone levels will decrease libido.

    • Soy
    • Eating excessive quantities of soy can decrease libido by decreasing testosterone levels and increasing estrogen levels. Soy beans are also used to make soy milk and tofu. In moderate quantities soy has many health benefits.

    • Quinine
    • Quinine which is used as a flavouring agent in tonic water and other beverages is used for its anti-malarial properties but some studies also suggest that it may cause lowered sexual desire.

    • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
    • According to a number of different sources, Dr.John Harvey Kellog, who developed Kellog’s cereals, believed that sex was the cause of many problems so he thought a sugarless, meatless breakfast might lessen people’s sexual urges. He developed Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.

  • Stop Smoking
  • Smoking adversely affects blood flow to sexual organs so therefor might decrease libido.


    Exercise gives a man a feeling of general well-being which also improves sex drive

  • Moderate Exercise
  • Strength and resistance training boosts testosterone levels by increasing lean muscle mass. This will increase testosterone levels which will improve sex drive. Exercise also gives a man a feeling of general well-being which also improves sex drive. Strength training should be started slowly to avoid any injuries. A good program can be obtained from a personal trainer. It is a good idea to have a professional show a beginner how to do weight exercises properly. Strength and resistance training should be incorporated with cardiovascular training. Cardiovascular training can be an exercise as simple as walking. Exercise should become part of the man’s lifestyle and should be something he enjoys.


    Maintain a healthy weight

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If the patient is overweight or obese he should strive to reach his goal weight which will increase his confidence, his energy levels and his sex drive. Obese men have been shown to have increased levels of oestrogen and decreased testosterone levels. Obesity and excess fat is also associated with various biological conditions like heart problems, hypertension and diabetes which are known to decrease libido.

  • Consume antioxidants
  • An antioxidant like NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) boosts mood and can also increase sexual desire. Green tea also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants help to prevent the oxidation of various molecules in the body and by doing this they decrease the amount of free radicals present in the body. Free radicals are able to cause a wide range of diseases. In order to have a healthy sex drive a man needs to have a healthy body. Antioxidants can contribute to overall health and wellbeing.

  • Massage
  • Touching and massaging may increase sexual desire. Couples should be encouraged to make time to give each other a massage. Massaging may be of special benefit to men who are stressed, worried or angry. Massages are good for the mind and the body. Touch can also be a good way for couples to be intimate without having sex. Massage techniques can be learnt online.

  • Suitable bedroom for sex
  • A neat and tidy private bedroom with the right lighting can enhance sexual desire. If there is no privacy, or there are photos or work-related files in the room which are distracting it can decrease sexual drive.

Men should not remain silent if they feel they have a problem with sexual drive which is affecting them and their relationship. There is a lot which can be done to improve sexual drive and overall wellbeing.