Did you know that over 3 in 10 men experience sexual dysfunction? This includes sexual desire disorder, characterized by low libido or sex drive.
Low sex drive is even more common in older males since libido drops as one gets older. This decline is due to the male body producing less testosterone (T). Known as hypogonadism, low T levels affect about 40% of men older than 45 and 50% of those in their 80s.
The good news is that there are many ways to increase sex drive in men. We’ve discussed the top ones in this guide, so read on.
Table of Contents
1. Get Enough Sleep
A small study examined how acute sleep deprivation can affect men and women. It involved subjecting the participants to a single night of sleep deprivation. The following day, the researchers found their plasma testosterone decreased by 24%.
If such a drastic drop in T levels can occur after a night of lack of sleep, imagine what chronic deprivation can do. Aside from causing low testosterone levels, it can also lead to:
- Problems with concentration, thinking, and memory
- Adverse mood changes
- Weakened immunity
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of heart disease
Those consequences can further lower sex drive. An example is if you feel moody and irritable. In this case, the last thing you’d likely want is to have sex.
Besides, getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep is essential for overall health.
2. Boost Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D (VD), a group of fat-soluble compounds, plays many roles in bone, muscle, and nerve health. It also contributes to reducing inflammation and modulating cell and immune functions.
VD may also affect sexual health, and a lack of it may lead to low libido. In one study, males with VD deficiency had lower scores for sexual desire than those without.
Fortunately, the number one source of vitamin D is free: sunlight. A 10- to 30-minute sun exposure several times a week can help boost your VD levels.
Some foods contain VD, including fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, trout, and tuna. Small amounts of the vitamin are also in beef liver, egg yolks, cheese, and mushrooms.
3. Lower Stress Levels
Stressful encounters and experiences trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response. It’s the body’s automatic physiological reaction to perceived threats.
The body’s fight-or-flight response causes many changes, including the increased release of cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone.
If you always feel stressed, your body may keep pumping out cortisol. Unfortunately, high levels of this hormone can reduce sex drive.
Self-care, the act of tending to your happiness and well-being, can help lower stress levels. It can be anything that makes you feel happy or relaxed, such as walking, reading a good book, or having a long hot bath. Avoiding stressors (e.g., toxic relationships) is another form of self-care.
4. Be More Active
Exercising 2.5 hours weekly can boost T levels by 15%. It can also lower instances of hypogonadism by nearly half. These effects can then lead to improved sex drive.
Exercise can help with libido because it boosts circulation or blood flow. When this happens, more blood (and nutrients) reach the sex organs, prompting arousal. Arousal is vital to sex drive and erections.
Regular exercise can also help increase endurance. This is crucial to sexual health, as sex, in itself, is a workout.
5. Watch Your Weight
Being overweight or having obesity can lower libido. This can happen because the higher the body fat level, the more globulin the body produces. As globulin binds to testosterone, too much of it reduces the available T in the body.
Exercising regularly can help you reach a healthy weight. However, you should pair this with healthy dietary changes, including:
- Reducing intake of processed foods
- Cutting back on added sugar
- Minimizing refined carbohydrate consumption
- Eating more whole foods
- Avoiding foods high in trans fat
Word of warning: Avoid trying to shed pounds through fad diets. While some can help you achieve quick weight loss results, the loss is often short-term. They’re too restrictive, so many people can’t stick to them long.
6. Minimize Alcohol Intake
Regular and high intake of alcohol can lower testosterone levels. This means consuming over 15 standard beverages weekly.
Since alcohol can lower T levels, it may also reduce sex drive.
So if you drink often and haven’t been feeling “in the mood,” it may be time to quit or minimize your alcohol intake. You can still enjoy your favorite beverages, but do your best to stick to two drinks a day.
7. Quit Tobacco
Tobacco cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients. When burned, they create over 7,000 chemicals, of which 69 are toxic and known to cause cancer.
That should be enough reason to quit smoking ASAP. Besides, this unhealthy, even deadly, habit can affect sexual function.
For example, a study compared current and former smokers and non-smokers. It found that lower libido is more prevalent in current smokers than in non-smokers. There was also a lower incidence rate of reduced sex drive in former smokers than in current ones.
So if you smoke and have libido issues, now’s the best time to quit.
8. Consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy
All the tips above may help boost your T levels and libido, but not to the extent you desire. In this case, it may be time to talk to your doctor about testosterone replacement therapy.
TRT involves introducing external sources of testosterone into the body. It can be through intramuscular injections, transdermal patches, pellets, or gels.
All TRT methods require a prescription from a licensed health professional. Once you find one, see this testosterone replacement therapy specialist for a consultation. The expert can then determine if TRT is right for you and, if so, which administration method is best.
Try These Effective Ways to Increase Sex Drive
From getting enough ZZZs to vitamin D and exercise, all these are ways to increase sex drive. Watching your weight, avoiding stress and alcohol, and quitting smoking can also help. But if all else fails, it’s time to talk to your doctor about undergoing TRT.
For more information on the T hormone, check out our guide on spotting signs of low testosterone!