Can I safely, healthily lower my libido?
August 13, 2009 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Can I safely, healthily lower my libido?

I've had a very high libido since puberty. Although I've been pretty successful in attracting women all my life, I've always wanted more sex than any woman has been willing and/or able to have with me.

When I was younger, I lost girlfriends over this. As I grew older, I stopped asking for it as much, but I still want it constantly. I hold off from asking until I can barely stand it, and when I finally do ask, I feel desperate. It's still more than my girlfriend wants. And before we started dating, she told me she had a higher libido than any boyfriend she ever had.

I've had complete physical and psychological checkups, and I'm healthy.

Here's the kick- I've never enjoyed being this horny. It makes some men feel more vital, but it never has for me. And I also don't consider it a basic, essential part of who I am, my identity. I've put a lot of thought into it, and at this point in my life (I'm 33) what I really want is not, actually, to somehow find a partner with a libido as high as mine. I would prefer having a lower libido. I'd love to have the extra time to spend pursuing my other interests, rather than being distracted by this unwelcome physical sensation all the time.

So I ask: is there a way to safely, healthily lower my libido? I would love to reach a point where I desired sex anywhere from a few times a week to never.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)

You could try some sort of support group, or cognitive behavioral therapy. It sounds like you're seeing your libido more in terms of an addiction or an obsession, both of which are addressed through 12-step groups and/or talk therapy.
posted by xingcat at 6:30 AM on August 13, 2009

What kind of food do you eat? I have some celibate religious friends who swear off onions, garlic and fried foods because they all find it contributes to their libido. Just throwing it out there.
posted by milarepa at 6:43 AM on August 13, 2009

Depo-provera is used for "chemical castration" in men. It's readily available (though certaionly more commonly known and used as a birth control drug, injected quarterly, for women.) It is unknown to me whether or not its use could be moderated down to lessen the impact -- I would suggest discussing this with an endocrinologist or urologist.
posted by biggity at 7:01 AM on August 13, 2009

Some of the SSRIs such as Zoloft have lower libido as a side effect.
posted by lazydog at 7:04 AM on August 13, 2009

Do you masturbate?

The whole point of masturbation is to satisfy this urge in an uncomplicated way.
posted by fritley at 7:09 AM on August 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

Random Suggestions:
-masturbate every morning in the shower (i guess & lunch too if you need to)
-get into a routine with your girlfriend (that way you don't have that anxiety of holding out till the last second)
-get in worse physical shape
-get in worse mental shape
posted by rdurbin at 7:09 AM on August 13, 2009

Consider talking to a pharmacist, who should have a good working knowledge of drugs and their side-effects. Givent the number of medicines that list as a side effect "reduced libido" I'd be surprised if there wasn't something fairly innoccuous that you could take off-label to give the desired effect. IANAEndocrinologist, but anything that works to increase oestrogen and decrease testosterone levels should probably do the trick, assuming that your high libido is a physiological, not psychological, issue.

While it's not a big commercial market (so drug companies aren't that interested in researching it), various contries' armed forces have looked into the idea to keep their troops under control while deployed. The British army famously put bromide in the army's tea during at least one of the World Wars, although this has since been proven to be completely ineffective as a treatment. So while the data might be difficult to find, a lot of research has been done into this area and a good pharmacist should at least know where to start looking.
posted by metaBugs at 7:15 AM on August 13, 2009

You should really be talking to your doctor about this. If you have a GP you like, start with him/her. I'm confident there are ways to do what you want, but you'll need medical advice and monitoring to make sure it's done well.
posted by alms at 7:25 AM on August 13, 2009

Too much carbs can seem to give this permanent itch that can't be scratched. I'd say eat only moderate low gi carbs, and get enough healthy fats. You could also experiment with low carb if you want, but that's a whole diet change.

Also high dopamine can cause could give up caffeine if you drink that. Try a supplement to support seratonin like the amino acid L-tryptophan. This would be a better option than SSRI drugs. I think the seratonin balances the dopamine in some way...not clear on this, but it may make you feel less like you need something all the time.

I'm not a nutritionist.

I would thoroughly explore these options and anything you can do with diet and safe supplements before taking any dodgy drugs or whatever. Also constant masturbation is a crap option for a man cause chances are that really will make you feel less vital.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:46 AM on August 13, 2009

I started taking Straterra about 7 Months ago. The Dr. explained it as a crossover ADHD/Depression medicine, which are the two things I went to talk to him about. The ADHD function of it has not seemed great, I still have a lot of the attention issues I started with, but the depression aspect of it has been stupendous. The major side affect, is I don't really seem to care about a lot of things now. Its hard to explain, but things I used to feel I NEEDED just don't seem like they are there any more. If I eat a small lunch, I guess I feel hungry, but I just don't care that I feel hungry (It's been awesome for my weight loss). This also applies to other "needs". My wife and I still have sex, I just don't feel the NEED for it like I used to. I guess its been nice because I have a much higher drive then she does, but nice or not, I don't really seem to care.
There are also a couple other sexual side effects I've noticed, mainly "dis-associated orgasm", and lowered sperm amounts.

Just my .02, but the trade offs have been worth it for me, though in the future I am considering switching to a different ADHD medicine, and a separate one for depression/anxiety.
posted by JonnyRotten at 8:21 AM on August 13, 2009

Make your life as stressful as possible, get depressed, gain weight, stop exercising... those will all work better than you even want them to. No, I'm not being serious, but I would recommend talking to a sex therapist (either as a couple including your partner, or on your own). This is what they're for. :) There's a listing here of some professionals, although it's not exactly an exhaustive list.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:55 AM on August 13, 2009

Start disassociating from your sex drive. Next time you feel compelled to have sex or masturbate, take some deep breathes and let the urge pass through you without attachment. Turn the "I want" into "It wants" and recognize that what is driving your sexual urges is not any intrinsic need to have sex, but rather the result of years of giving into your desires.

Your sexual desire may have strong inertia now, but if you undercut it with discipline and focus, you will be in control, not your desire.
posted by satori_movement at 11:03 AM on August 13, 2009

Seconding the maturbation recommendations.

It's safe, easy and you're not putting any crazy drugs into your body. And, unless you've got any religious hang ups that it's somehow "shameful", an orgasm or two a day does wonders for your state of mind!
posted by BobFrapples at 12:01 PM on August 13, 2009

A lot of good advice in this thread, even if conflicted. Masturbating once or twice a day, is fine and good and healthy. Remember, though, that masturbation can become a problem behavior as well.

For clients with compulsive urges, we sometimes had them wear a rubberband on their wrist and snap it when they felt the compulsive urge, or they carried a bottle of something that smelled bad like ammonia to sniff when the urge came. Of course they sometimes transfered their addiction to the negative stimulus and that was just the one part of a program.

Now I prefer to use mindfulness combined with a script that goes, when I notice myself thinking this, I stop thought and replace it with a new script. Compulsion, obsession and addiction all respond to cognitive-behavioral techniques rather well, as long as the the person is committed and really wants to change.

In Oregon this is covered by insurance and a competent psychologist can be really helpful. I bet there is a bit more to your high libido than meets the eye and it might be beneficial to explore that.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:01 PM on August 13, 2009

Some of the SSRIs such as Zoloft have lower libido as a side effect.

In the experience of most of the guys I know, it only reduced their ability to reach orgasm, not their desire for one. YMMV.
posted by nomisxid at 1:03 PM on August 13, 2009

i'll third masturbation. i know you want to lower your libido, but taking drugs to do so seems... not that healthy?

a lot of bipolars go crazy for sex when they are manic -- it takes LOTS of mental fortitude to not constantly indulge. so there's the mental discipline aspect of it too.

(also, how often is often? you might not be as weird as you think.)
posted by unlucky.lisp at 1:06 PM on August 13, 2009

Cannabis lowers libido for a lot of folks, but not everyone. Still, it might be worth a shot.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:10 PM on August 13, 2009

Wikipedia on anaphrodisiacs, and also previously, previously, previously, and previously.
posted by WCityMike at 12:18 PM on August 14, 2009

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