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Throughout the US - and the wider world - low libido (sex drive) is incredibly common in men. Some studies suggest that 31% of men experience a low sex drive - and the condition is thought to be strongly age-related.

The roots of the problem are complex - spanning many different areas of physical health, mental health, and lifestyle factors. The good news is, when the causes are so numerous, so too are the possible solutions.

In this guide, we'll explore 14 science-backed ways of improving decreased libido - so, whatever the cause of your lowered sex drive, there's a strong possibility that one or more of the following tips will help.

1. Engage in Exercise

Generally speaking, exercise has a positive impact on sexual desire in men - but not all exercises work in quite the same way. Some studies show that extreme workouts - i.e. either prolonged cardio or very intense strength training - can actually result in decreased libido.

As such, it's a good idea to aim for a manageable, moderate amount of exercise.

While cardiovascular exercise (running, swimming, cycling, etc) is good for overall fitness, science proves that strength training is the most significant way to boost libido. This boost is down to 'androgens' - the hormones produced after exercise. Testosterone is one type of androgen, and it - along with others - are shown to positively influence muscle mass, muscle strength, and male sexual function.

Quick tips

  • Engage in moderate effort exercise between 3-4 times weekly
  • Aim for manageable 30 minute sessions that fit around your day
  • Strength training is optimal - bodyweight exercises are a great start

    2. Keep Optimal Testosterone Levels

    Testosterone levels (ng/dL) in healthy men

    Age Total T Free T Bioavailable T
    40-49 252-916 5.3-26.3 101-499
    50-59 215-878 4.2-22.2 80-420
    60-69 196-859 3.7-18.9 69-356
    70-79 156-819 2.2-14.7 41.279

    Testosterone levels are one of the key factors in a healthy sex drive in men. In fact, Harvard Health points out that testosterone's most meaningful role is to "fuel sex drive and performance".

    When it comes to testosterone, lower levels are linked to a series of lifestyle factors - including:

    • Being overweight or obese
    • Low-quality diet choices
    • Poor sleep quality
    • Smoking
    • Drug use

      As such, positively adjusting your lifestyle in these areas is a good way to potentially increase testosterone production and improve sexual function. That said, age plays a part in testosterone production, as do your unique genes. Therefore, if you're worried about low T-levels, it's a good idea to talk to a physician and potentially talk about testosterone therapy to supplement your levels.

      Quick tips

      • Small adjustments towards healthier habits are a great first step

      • Try to prioritize healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and gradual weight loss

      • Quitting smoking and/or drug use can have a big effect

      • Talk to your physician to get an accurate measure of testosterone levels and discuss treatment

      3. Keep an Eye on Your Diet

      As we've mentioned, a low-quality diet can impact normal testosterone levels, which in turn can result in a low libido. However, it's not just hormone levels that your diet dictates - what you eat can have a big impact on sexual health in a number of ways.

      Diets are that high in sugars and simple carbohydrates can have a significant affect on blood sugar levels, which in turn can reduce energy levels significantly - reducing the desire for sex. Given that the 'Standard American Diet'  is very high in sugar and simple carbohydrates - switching to a healthier way of eating by prioritizing 'whole foods' is a great first step.

      Illustration of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid


      If you're looking for the very best possible way to deal with low sexual desire, the Mediterranean diet is considered by scientists to be an excellent option. A study published by the International Society for Sexual Medicine shows that a Mediterranean diet improves blood sugar levels, boosts testosterone levels, and even shows improvements in sexual function for men experiencing erectile dysfunction.

      Quick tips

      • Aim for whole foods - grains, nuts, fish, meat, vegetables, fruits - for most of your eating
      • Reduce refined sugars and simple carbs - for example: candy, cookies, cakes, chips, and fries
      • Explore a Mediterranean diet for maximum effect on sex drive

        4. Try New Things in Bed

        In an exploration of how to improve sexual desire between couples, a leading Professor in the human sexuality field explains that introducing 'novelty' can be the key to higher sexual satisfaction. When a couple introduced new sexual activity - for example, a new position or technique every month, they reported a higher level of sexual pleasure and desire in their relationship.

        If you are in a relationship and sex has become routine or absent, it can result in a lower libido for both partners.

        By introducing new things - such as different positions, new oral sex techniques, or sexy roleplay ideas, you can reinitiate sex and excitement can increase again - leading to an increased desire for both partners.

        Quick tips

        • Try to discuss new sexual ideas openly with your partner
        • Explore new positions to encourage excitement
        • Explore fantasies like roleplay, light BDSM, or similar
        • Build on your techniques by reading expert guides

          5. Try Proven Aphrodisiacs

          If it feels like you're constantly dealing with low libido or sexual dysfunction, it can be reassuring to know there are foodstuffs and ingredients out there that are proven to give your sex drive a boost:

          SEX DRIVE BOOST

          EXPLANATION

          Pomegranate

          Pomegranate juice has been found to improve testosterone levels in men, which can increase libido. 

          A study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that men who drank pomegranate juice reported improvements in erectile dysfunction.

          Pistachios

          Pistachios have been found to improve erections by enhancing blood flow to the penis. 

          A small study involving 17 males with ED found that consuming 100 grams of pistachios daily for three weeks improved erections.

          Ginseng

          Ginseng has been found to enhance erectile function in men. 

          A study published in the System's Biology in Reproductive Medicine Journal  found that ginseng supplementation improved erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction and boosted low libido.

          Vitamin C

          Vitamin C - found in a range of fruits and vegetables has been found to decrease stress, improve blood flow, and increase the release of natural feel-good hormones - all potentially leading to increased sex drive. 

          A study published in the Biological Psychiatry journal  shows that more vitamin C increases intercourse frequency and improves mood.

          Maca

          Maca root has been used for centuries to enhance sexual function and fertility. 

          A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that maca supplementation improved sexual function and fertility in men.

          Oysters

          Some people consider the link between oysters and sex to be imagined - but the truth is more likely linked to zinc.

          Oysters are one of the very best food sources of zinc - and zinc is proven to have a series of benefits sexually for men.


          Naturally, it's important to seek medical advice before introducing significant amounts of any ingredient or supplements into your diet - but with the right guidance, just a few natural aphrodisiacs could help toward a healthy libido.

          Quick tips

          • Explore natural aphrodisiacs and add some to your diet
          • Be wary of unproven or unapproved supplements
          • Look for natural ways of consuming your chosen ingredients
          • Speak to your physician if you have any allergies or experience any side effects

            6. Consider Sex Therapy

            Sex therapy can be an effective way to address sexual dysfunction and increase libido. This type of therapy involves working with a trained therapist to address underlying issues and causes of low libido in an effort to develop healthy sexual attitudes and habits.

            Sex therapy can be an effective way to address sexual dysfunction and increase libido.

            Research suggests that sex therapy can be beneficial for men experiencing low libido, as it helps them address underlying psychological and emotional issues that may be contributing to their sexual dysfunction - including stress, signs of depression, low self-esteem, poor body image, performance anxiety - and much more.

            Quick tips

            • Seek out a therapist that you feel will understand your issues
            • Try not to worry about judgement - therapists hear everyone's inner thoughts
            • Don't worry about confidentiality - there are laws and guidelines surrounding this
            • If you don't feel like your therapist understands you or can help - try another

              7. Get the Right Amount of Sleep

              Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for physical and mental health and plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy libido. Quality sleep helps regulate hormone production, including testosterone, which is essential for sexual desire in men.


              A study published by the National Institutes of Health
               found that even young men with poor sleep patterns for just one week experienced lower testosterone levels, leading to reduced libido.

              What's more, adequate sleep helps reduce stress and improve mood - creating a better overall environment for a healthy sex drive. Aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep per night is a great way to support your sexual wellbeing.

              Quick tips

              • Try to fix your waking and sleeping cycle - this helps your body get into a natural rhythm
              • Try to make your sleeping area as comfortable, relaxing, and dark as possible
              • Avoid eating for 2 hours before bedtime, as this can reduce sleep quality
              • Try to avoid using screens for at least an hour before you sleep

                8. Identify Potential Causes of Stress

                Identifying and addressing potential causes of stress is a really important part of maintaining a healthy libido. Stress can negatively impact hormone levels, including testosterone, which is crucial for sexual desire.

                Identifying and addressing potential causes of stress is a really important part of maintaining a healthy libido.

                Common sources of stress include work pressure, financial worries, relationship issues, and health concerns - and these types of stress even have numerous links to erectile dysfunction. By pinpointing and managing these stressors - through techniques like mindfulness, exercise, or professional counseling - you can create more balanced mental well-being and healthier overall living environment, helping to enhance your overall sexual wellbeing.

                Quick tips

                • Start keeping a journal that tracks your stress levels
                • Identify situations or circumstances that cause you stress
                • Try to address these situations, either by making lifestyle changes or equipping yourself with relaxation techniques
                • If you can't get on top of your stress, talking to a mental health professional can help

                  9. Protect Your Mental Health

                  Diagnosed mental health conditions and generally poor mental health are thought to impact 57.8 million Americans - and this huge range of conditions can have a significant impact on libido and increased sexual dysfunction.

                  Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, poor body image, penis size anxiety, and many others can all impact sexual desire and performance. If you feel like any of these conditions are relevant to you, it's first important to recognize that these issues are perfectly common - and can often be eased significantly without professional help.

                  Some great first steps for protecting your mental health include:

                  STEPS

                   WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

                  Mindfulness

                  Practice mindfulness meditation to reduce stress and improve focus.

                  Exercise

                  Engage in regular physical activity to boost mood and relieve anxiety.

                  Socializing

                  Maintain strong social connections to provide support and reduce feelings of isolation.

                  Hobbies

                  Pursue hobbies and interests to promote relaxation and personal satisfaction.

                  Self-Care

                  Prioritize self-care activities like taking breaks, enjoying leisure time, and getting enough sleep to support overall well-being.

                    Of course, you shouldn't rule out professional help if you think it could be helpful. Talking to your doctor about some coping strategies or seeking out a professional counselor are great ideas if you want some confidential external support.

                    Quick tips

                    • Try to have conversations with people about mental well-being - talking to others can help you understand your own mind
                    • Prioritize self-care where possible. Try hobbies, challenges, or interests outside of work and family
                    • Explore light exercise as a way of helping to clear your mind
                    • Look into mindfulness - there are lots of free apps and online guides available

                      10. Communicate With Your Partner About What You Like

                      Open communication with your partner about your sexual preferences is key to a satisfying and healthy sex life. Discussing what you like and don't like in the bedroom can help build trust and intimacy - enhancing your overall sexual experience.

                      Open communication with your partner about your sexual preferences is key to a satisfying and healthy sex life.

                      A study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that couples who communicate openly about their desires report higher levels of sexual desire and satisfaction. By expressing your needs honestly and listening to your partner's, you can explore new experiences together and keep your sexual relationship exciting and fulfilling.

                      Quick tips

                      • Try to make your sex life a topic that can be discussed openly between you both
                      • Discuss the things you enjoy about your sex life
                      • Ask questions about things your partner might like to explore
                      • Volunteer ideas that you'd like to explore - with no pressure on your partner

                        11. Quit Smoking

                        Quitting smoking is one of the most significant things you can do to improve your libido and overall sexual health. The list of issues that smoking can cause is long - with many links between smoking and erectile dysfunction. Perhaps the most significant is the proven link between smoking and damage to blood vessels - an issue which can both cause high blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the penis, often resulting in sexual health issues.

                        As if that weren't enough, the toxins in cigarettes can lower testosterone levels, negatively impacting sexual desire. A study published in the BJU International found that men who quit smoking experienced significant improvements in erectile function and overall sexual satisfaction. By giving up smoking, you not only enhance your libido but also improve your overall health and well-being, leading to a more fulfilling sex life.

                        Quick tips

                        • Talk to your physician about quitting and strategies
                        • Understand that you might not quit at first attempt - it often takes many tries
                        • Explore alternative less-harmful products, like vapes or nicotine supplements
                        • Seek out support from friends, family, or other people quitting

                          12. Address Performance Anxiety

                          Sexual performance anxiety (SPA) is a condition that causes a man to excessively worry about some or all elements of sex. Common issues can involve worrying about:

                          • Penis size
                          • Erectile dysfunction
                          • Sexual stamina and premature ejaculation
                          • Inability to make a partner orgasm
                          • Self-image/body image

                            It's estimated that SPA affects 9-25% of men and can be so powerful that it may actually cause premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, even where the conditions don't occur for other reasons.

                            Addressing performance anxiety initially involves focusing on relaxation and building confidence - especially just before sex. Techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and positive self-talk can help reduce anxiety levels.

                            Communicating openly with your partner about your concerns can also alleviate pressure and create a supportive environment.

                            If you're struggling with SPA inspite of these steps, seeking professional help from a therapist specializing in sexual health can provide strategies to manage and overcome performance anxiety, leading to a healthier and more enjoyable sex life.

                            Quick tips

                            • Explore relaxation techniques in general life so you're familiar with them when you're in a sexual situation
                            • Talk to your partner about your anxiety and see if they can help you relax
                            • Speak to a therapist about techniques - like CBT - that might help

                              13. Lower Your Alcohol Intake

                              Reducing alcohol intake is another way you can have a significant positive impact on your libido and sexual performance. While a drink or two might help you relax, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to decreased sexual desire and difficulties with erectile function.

                              Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, impairing the signals between the brain and the body necessary for sexual arousal and performance. In the most severe cases, alcohol consumption can also lead to ED - especially in cases where a lot of alcohol is consumed or you have an alcohol dependency.

                              Cutting back on alcohol can improve your energy levels, hormone balance, and overall health, leading to a more satisfying sex life. By moderating your alcohol intake, you create a much better foundation for a healthy and active libido.

                              Quick tips

                              • Start keeping a diary that tracks your drinking so you have a good understanding of how much you consume
                              • Try putting some limits on your drinking and see how they work out - perhaps explore alcohol-free alternatives
                              • If you are alcohol-dependant, talk to a medical professional before you try quitting
                              • Seek support from friends, family or groups that have proven strategies to help

                                14. Try Edging

                                The practice of edging - bringing yourself close to orgasm and then stopping before reaching climax - can be an effective way to boost libido and enhance sexual pleasure.

                                This technique can help increase stamina, improve control over ejaculation, and intensify orgasms.

                                While there is limited direct scientific research on the long-term benefits of edging, some anecdotal evidence suggests potential benefits related to increased sexual pleasure and control - and others suggest that edging may increase testosterone levels due to the build-up of sexual tension.

                                Regardless of peer-reviewed proof, by extending the duration of sexual activity, edging can almost certainly heighten arousal and build anticipation, leading to a more satisfying sexual experience. Regular practice of edging - either with or without your partner - can help you become more attuned to your body's responses, promoting greater sexual awareness and confidence - making the prospect of sex more exciting.

                                Quick tips

                                • Start by masturbating and stopping before orgasm to get used to the sensations
                                • Explore guides that explain different techniques in detail
                                • Consider using toys to help you with your edging
                                • Get your partner involved and explore edging together

                                  How to Increase Sex Drive (Libido) in Men: Summary

                                  If you're experiencing a low sex drive, you're not alone. Reduced sexual desire is thought to affect millions of men in the US alone - and becomes more prevalent beyond a man's mid-30s.

                                  Fortunately, there are plenty of science-backed ways to increase your libido.

                                  Focusing on your health and testosterone levels is a great start - some moderate exercise, a little more sleep, some diet changes, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake will likely all help. Keeping your mental well-being and stress in check is a good idea, too, and can be supported with sex therapy and methods to reduce performance anxiety.

                                  Of course, increasing enjoyment of sex can seriously help to boost sexual desire. Talking to your partner about what you both enjoy, experimenting with aphrodisiacs, trying new things in bed, and edging can all add new and exciting sensations to sex.

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