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23 year old male. My libido is gone. I’m freaking out. Any guys been through this? (NSFW and REALLY LONG).
April 30, 2010 10:14 AM   Subscribe

23 year old male. My libido is gone. I’m freaking out. Any guys been through this? (NSFW and REALLY LONG).

I’m worried it’s because I masturbated too much to porn. I don’t know if I was addicted or not – it certainly didn’t get in the way of my life. So the fact that I didn’t really do much all day (especially during weekends) gave me an excuse to masturbate a lot, out of boredom as well as generally being a horny young guy, and I justified it by the fact that I wasn’t addicted because technically it wasn’t interfering with my school/work/social life or anything. Still, I jerked off a way above average amount – usually 10-15 times a week. Sometimes once a day, sometimes 3-4 times a day which was not uncommon.

Now, when I think about the things that used to turn me on, I don’t really get turned on any more. I can still get an erection, but I don’t have the urge to have sex or masturbate. I still get attracted to women, but there is no sexuality behind it – just a general aesthetic/emotional attraction. This is making me really worried – and I have a feeling worrying could make this problem worse. I really liked sex. I’ve only had sex probably 10 times in my life with one partner, but I really, really liked to fantasize about the prospect of it and I think I overindulged my fantasies and ruined it.

There are other variables that MIGHT be affecting this:

1) I started my first full time job since graduating. It’s been 3 weeks and it’s my first shot at starting my career and I’m still learning and getting to know everyone and figuring out if I really like it or not. There’s a lot of extremely challenging, deadline-driven work. My sleeping patterns have changed drastically. But I don’t FEEL stressed – I’m actually really happy to be working and it’s a relief to have found a job and get a paycheck and learn new things. And, if this is some manifestation of repressed stress/anxiety, I feel like I’ve been through WAY more stressful times in my life and I’ve never had a symptom like this. I’ve been through hectic finals weeks, deaths of loved ones, 30 page papers due in 3 days, and my stress has never taken this form.

2) I get no exercise. I know, I know. I wake up at 6:30am and get home from work at about 7pm. I go to bed at 11 and it’s not that I’m too exhausted to exercise when I get home, I’m just sort of lazy and don’t feel like wasting my free time – when I get home I just want to crash on the couch and veg or have a drink with a friend. If I stay up too late, I’m cranky the next day. I’m confused about this one though because I’ve always been sort of lazy – though in college I walked pretty much everywhere so at least I had some way to get my blood flowing. So this might be a big one.

3) I’ve been taking prescribed zolpedim to help me sleep, though I never heard anything about a side effect like this. I am not on any other meds/antidepressants.

So maybe it’s one of these variables. Or maybe it’s all four – new job with repressed anxiety, no exercise, sleeping meds and massive amounts of porn. If that’s the case, then I know what I have to do (exercise, kick the meds, stop looking at porn for a few weeks). But I’m still worried it’s about the porn. Also, I LIKED porn, I wasn’t ashamed of it and was pretty forgiving to myself if I wasted a lazy Sunday masturbating every couple hours so it’s not like the porn was creating stress, until now.

It’s really depressing because I miss getting horny and thinking about the prospect of sex and having sex and masturbating to porn and all that fun stuff that helps make life fun and sexy. I worry that I’ll meet a girl and have to tell her I have a low libido. I’ve currently stopped looking at porn for the past week but am worried because I have still felt no urges.

I guess what I really want to know is if any other guys here have gone through this and did you ever “get back on track”? I’m worried this is permanent. Words can’t describe how anxious this one thing is making me. Sexuality was a big part of life, and now I’m sad.

I know YANMD and I have an appointment next week. But I need to find ways to ease my anxiety till then.

Throwaway email is totallyoutofjuice@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think you've ruined sex for yourself. I think you might have gotten temporarily bored of masturbating, and you've gotten way less constantly horny. Probably anxiety and lack of exercise are playing into it too. Plus this has only been going on for like a month.

I'm not a guy, but I remember that when I graduated college (and was therefore no longer constantly surrounded by attractive half-naked people) and went to grad school (and therefore no longer had time to constantly think about sex), I was much less likely to be visited by random sexual urges.

But I would imagine that if you meet an actual girl to whom you are attracted and start hooking up with her, your libido will probably re-surge. Actual sexual encounters have a way of being way more arousing than porn. I also would guess that worrying about the problem is likely to make it worse. The doctor will probably also reassure you on both these accounts. My guess is that if you stop prematurely grieving the death of your sex life, start exercising in the morning, take a break from porn for a while, and get used to the new job and other stuff, your sex drive will resurface in a few weeks and you can happily resume your masturbatory habits.
posted by kataclysm at 10:30 AM on April 30, 2010


Get some exercise. You'll be amazed at the effect it can have. Especially in men, after a hard workout... you will feel a difference.
posted by telegraph at 10:33 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here is a possibility:

Dicks are like dogs. You can train your dog to ask for a walk rather than peeing on the carpet. You have trained your dog dick to respond to porn and your hand. But you want your dick to pee all over the carpet (abandoning the simile now).

First, cut out the porn. Or, use different sorts of porn. If videos get you going, switch to erotica.

Second, stop jerking off with that hand! Use your off hand, rub your dick on your thighs and stomach. You should, and I think all people with dicks should, get a fleshlight. The pressure on your dick is way lighter than your hand's death grip.

Third, you are used to sex with you. Get used to sharing you with others. You mentioned that you had sex with one other individual, try that some more.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2010


Not a guy. I do know a guy (or three) who masturbate a LOT when they are bored. They all have ADHD but that's neither here nor there.

You know how people use the phrase "whacking off" as a synonym for fooling around and doing nothing? It's a recreational activity. Your brain goes for it when it wants to be stimulated.

When you're super busy your brain is already stimulated and you don't have the same drive for stimulation.

That said, it does seem to be bothering you, and if it continues to do so, see a doctor and/or a therapist (I say this because of your meds and your sleep).
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:32 AM on April 30, 2010


If you're depressed, or on anti-depressants, then yes, exercise can help a lot.

But OP, I'd suggest that you (and PROD_TPSL) have your testosterone levels checked if you are really worried about this lack of libido!

I'm a woman, so of course you are free not to listen to my advice due to not having the requisite y chromosome.

But I do know something about this issue. I've always had a very strong sex drive (at one point my nick was nympho girl, for heaven's sake, I write erotica, etc.). And then it just suddenly...went away. To the point where I could (sorry if this is TMI) watch porn and actually, instead of being the least bit excited, feel as if I was an observing an alien race and taking notes on their strange reproductive habits. Kinda like PROD_TPSL mentions with the not alive, not dead, just watching other's lives thing.

Anyway, for me, like I said, sex is an important, integral part of life. So I went to my doctor and made him listen (thankfully I have a great doctor) that this was NOT normal for me, and we found that even for a woman my testosterone levels were very low.

So, long story short, the doc fixed me up and I feel much more like my old self again. And our own matthowie found out how important that testosterone stuff was, too.

Life is too short to be missing out on this. You're 23! Go see a doc.
posted by misha at 11:35 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just stop freaking out. You're mostly freaking yourself out, and you seem to know what the problem is (other than the part where you're freaking yourself out).

As a 23 year old male, I can tell you fairly that having a new intense job is going to slaughter your sex drive and a lot of other drives too.

That's OK, it's a situational thing, your brain is making it easier to do what you need to do to get a little stability. This shouldn't be a permanent thing, but it's worth noting there are reasons for your focus to be elsewhere: you want to get up to speed at your job and be proficient. That's fine.

If you get exercise, you will have more energy and it will increase your sex drive. Consider hiring a specialist, i.e. personal trainer, to help devise an execute and exercise plan that will not leave you drained and that will help keep you moving. This will also make it easier for you to sleep, and for you to stop using zolpidem to regulate your sleep.

That you wake at 6:30 and work 'til 7 then still need sleeping pills tells me something is wrong, this something may well be a lack of physical activity, in my experience. You say you're exhausted when you get home, but not exhausted enough to get to sleep?

Consider walking or biking around your neighborhood until you are exhausted enough to go to sleep. This is a good way to relieve the burn of adrenaline, which is a large part of the anxiety response you have in dealing with your change in lifestyle.

I think you're ascribing weird values to the meaning of "Stress" because you may be in denial that your fortunate situation could generate stress, and I think you may have weird values for your expectations about your sex drive and the permanence of your situation.

I think you know the problems. You enumerated what I would've asked about had you not enumerated them, do what you know you need to do.

Get exercise, don't worry too much about sex or relationships, cut out the porn, cut out the zolpidem in favor of a more rational approach to transient insomnia (exercise, stress reduction), focus on building some stability for the next couple months and you'll be fine, and maybe take some classes on stress coping techniques (to me this means hiring a massage therapist and taking hatha yoga classes) since it sounds like your life before was pretty low key and low pressure.

And if none of this helps, you might need to seek more general help, but I bet you'll be fine.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 11:42 AM on April 30, 2010


Words can’t describe how anxious this one thing is making me.

Porn is not causing this, that's an absurd idea and don't listen to anyone who suggests it.

Your sex drive will fluctuate like this throughout your life, it's normal. Just give it time. But keep in mind, the more anxiety and worry you have about it, the more likely you are to experience a lack of sex drive simply because you're worrying about it.

Anxiety causes adrenaline to be released into the blood which can actually affect your ability to get an erection, this is why being nervous can cause erectile dysfunction. You're not saying that's your issue, but it's all related and you'll find similar things about your physical sex drive. Notice that you still want to be horny, you just aren't. It's because you're so anxious about not feeling horny.

Don't medicalize the issue - there is no 'cure' because you don't have a problem. Relax, don't worry and before you know it, your drive will return.
posted by jardinier at 12:19 PM on April 30, 2010


I’m worried it’s because I masturbated too much to porn...I jerked off a way above average amount – usually 10-15 times a week. Sometimes once a day, sometimes 3-4 times a day which was not uncommon.

Based on my own experience, and only on my own, I can tell you two things:

1) That's not really above average. Twice a day would work out to 14 times a week, and that's not a lot for a healthy young man who isn't getting any. Hell, I average more than that per week, and I'm quite a bit older than you.

2) It has nothing to do with the porn. Nothing. If you had gotten to the point that some ideal of your particular turn-on could only be found in porn, then that should still be able to turn you on.

What you're talking about is probably what's known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Mention it to your doc and see what they might be able to recommend.
posted by Deja Stu at 12:25 PM on April 30, 2010


I really agree that exercise is the answer. Start small, and build on it over time. As your physical health improves, so will your sexual response. It will also lift any anxiety or depression you may be experiencing. Don't expect results in the first week. Give it a couple of months of regular cardio and weight-lifting before rendering judgement.

Simultaneously, take it easy on the porn. I think what is happening is your body is less responsive, in part due to your inactivity and lifestyle, so you require greater and greater stimulation to get off.

Good luck.
posted by teedee2000 at 1:10 PM on April 30, 2010


It sounds like stress or depression, and since you just started a new job, I'd go with stress. You say you've never reacted like this to stress before, but the things you mention are all quite different from starting a first job out of school. Your whole world just changed. You might feel great, but there's bound to be anxiety.
posted by Nothing at 1:34 PM on April 30, 2010


I am a dude, and therefore as an expert on our gender I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with you, your libido is just starting to slow down a little, and right now you are stressed out which is further exasperating this.

For exercise, my suggestion is that you don't try to do it after you get home because you are going to find it doesn't happen very often. Take your work out clothes with you to work, and go to the gym on the way home, make it part of your routine and I guarantee you will get to the gym much more often.

But just remember, it will ebb and flow, you are fine.

Also don't use a death grip when you are knocking one out, and don't worry about it!
posted by BobbyDigital at 2:04 PM on April 30, 2010


For whatever it's worth:

If "overindulging" fantasies by masturbating rigorously often "ruined" your ability to enjoy sexual activity, I would've donated my penis to science and become a celibate monk a decade ago. Honestly, at my age (30) I may admire your ability to go 3-4 times a day, but I will bet you good beer that I have whacked it at least a million times more in my life than you have (trust me on this) and my member is still healthy and functional.

One thing that it's good to keep in mind, though; masturbation (and sex itself) is awesome, but it can be a little emotional sometimes, and I've found one of the emotions it can sometimes stir up if you're not careful is shame. It sounds like that's what's happening to you; a healthy little bit of paranoia, coupled with some mild shame about your "habit." My advice: don't let shame touch you. You're better than that. You're in control, so you're not overindulging your fantasies; you're just enjoying them. And that's awesome. Also, don't worry about being embarrassed for a girl you like; the dynamic can be really different (in my experience) when you're with a person, so I bet that you wouldn't have any problems, but more importantly you have no responsibility to perform sexually. If your libido isn't on full-blast, that's okay. Sex is something you have; you don't have to prove yourself.

At the point I'm at in life, some weeks I'm crazy for the idea of sex, and some weeks I could take it or leave it. Sometimes I go two or three weeks without even wanting to masturbate. That's perfectly natural, since it's how I am. Now, some people my age have completely different libidos; some of them need sex twice a day to survive, some of them could have it once a month and be happy. Both of those things are perfectly healthy, because it's just as much sex as they happen to feel like at any given moment.

Don't worry. Relax. You're doing fine. And don't sweat it about whatever'll happen if you meet hot girls that you're into; believe me, if you're into it, you'll go for it, and if you're not, no worries, eh?
posted by koeselitz at 8:21 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


and go to whoever prescribed your zolpidem and let them know this. Then switch to something like melatonin first FFS! At 23 in full time new work, you should never have been automatically started on it without trying a few other things first.
posted by Wilder at 12:39 AM on May 1, 2010


This is almost certainly a side effect of the sedative you have been newly prescribed. It's a sedative, it has diminished your ability to be excited in this specific way, overall this is not surprising. People can react very differently to drugs, so don't assume this reaction is not possible just because you do not find your particular side effect in the literature.

Should be easy to test: discuss with your doctor and come off it for a few weeks or replace with another drug.
posted by yoz420 at 9:06 AM on May 1, 2010


Your number of times and the porn are not above normal, plus I know a lot of couch potatoes who outdo you. Since you have been stressed before with no ill effects, I am guessing it is the medication. I think you should try changing to a lighter sleep aid, why did you start with the strongest one with the most chance of side effects? Maybe try normal Ambien or Lunesta? It also matters a lot if you take them wrong - you should only take when ready to sleep, like lying in bed with a boring book.
posted by meepmeow at 10:30 AM on May 1, 2010


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