Anonymous on August 29, 2011

My libido is lower than normal…what gives?

I'm concerned that I have a lower sex drive than normal. After 10 minutes of sexual activity, I start to lose interest...and my erection. It’s embarrassing. I reach a point where I feel I've "had enough" even though I've not reached orgasm yet. This can occur before or even during intercourse. I'm recently divorced and concerned about my sexual future. What can I do?

answered by David Sobel, MD, JD on August 29, 2011

Thanks for sharing your situation with us. First, you’re not alone…many men have the same concern about quickly losing interest and not being able to keep their erections.

Low libido (low sex drive) can have a physical cause, an emotional component, or both. I would encourage you to see your doctor for a full examination, and to find out whether you have a physical issue that needs to be addressed. For example, some men who have problems getting or keeping an erection have low testosterone, which can often be treated with medication.

And, if your doctor determines that your hormone levels and blood flow are good, treating you with a common medication like Cialis, Levitra or Viagra may help your erectile dysfunction (ED). The good news is that you may not need to be on medication for long…sometimes using it for a little while does the trick.

About your recent divorce…I wouldn’t be surprised if a survey of doctors’ and urologists’ offices found that a large number of men with low libido are recently divorced, or separated from a long-term relationship. In other words, again, take heart that your situation is not uncommon.

The end of a long-term relationship can be emotional and traumatic which, in turn, can bring on depression from a sense of loss or failure. It’s no surprise that any of these factors can temporarily affect sex drive or make it hard to re-engage in a physical relationship with a new partner – even someone you feel close to and safe with.

So, especially if your doctor doesn’t find a physical cause for your low libido and ED, working with a counselor or therapist for even a short while may be beneficial to you. Seeing a therapist in combination with medical treatment can also be effective in helping to resolve any physical and emotional issues.

Bottom line, start with your doctor to get some answers and peace of mind…and to stop the cycle of worry. For many men, even a single experience with impotence or losing an erection can undermine their confidence and lead to anxiety about any future physical encounters. And the more you worry, the worse the problem can get…so the sooner you identify and address what’s at the root of your low libido, the sooner you can move on with your life.

I wish you good luck and good health.  

David Sobel, MD, JD

Dr. Sobel is a Colorado-based urologist and Director of the Denver Center for Men’s Health. His areas of expertise include men's sexual health and all areas of urology, including urologic oncology, treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, stone disease and incontinence. Dr. Sobel was educated at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

Related Q&A's

I have bipolar disorder and the medication erases my sexual desire. How can I get it back?
What can I take for a low libido?
Why isn’t my husband ever interested in sex?