Mid forties male, no libido. What now?
May 6, 2008 1:45 AM   Subscribe

I seem to have lost all my libido (sex-drive). Mid-forties male, not health related. Advice? More details inside.

OK, synopsis:
I'm 45 yo male. I just got engaged to my girlfriend of some years, who is absolutely the one for me.
The last 6 months have been rough though.
1st I had to take a work stress related break from work (never happened before). My mother is terminally ill. I've also now just been made redundant at work. I was also in a car crash, though not injured. As a consequence of these and other issues I'm seeing a therapist to try to see how to find my way forward and understand myself better.

On the positive side I have an understanding, supportive (sexy) partner, I'm exceptionally fit as I'm training 2/3 hours a day for a world class endurance sport event and look like a guy in his mid 30's. I eat well, sleep ok, don't drink or smoke, I'm well educated, read a lot and have a very inquiring mind.
(Sorry if all this sounds arrogant, it's not meant to be, just heading off possible discussion diversions).

But in the last 6 months my libido has completely disappeared. I'm not talking about erectile dysfunction but actual interest in sex (not even masturbation). I didn't worry about it for a while but I am starting to now.

Yes it seems it could all be explained by everything going on in my soap opera life at the moment but I haven't really discussed it with my therapist yet (not deliberately, just other things were even more important), but I'm worried that it might be "gone".
While this wouldn't be a problem for me if I was single if I didn't care , it will eventually become a problem for us a couple. Any advice?
posted by lndl to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Best answer: It's normal to lose your sex drive under stress like that. I mean, damn, your mother is terminally ill, you were just made redundant, you just got engaged (positive stress, but stress nevertheless), AND you were in a car crash? That is like an eight bazillion on the "yearly stress inventory". (For a real stress score you can go here, but trust me, your number is high.)

My guess is, when your life settles down your libido will come right back. In the meantime, keep your fiancee in the loop (so she doesn't think you've lost interest in her) and try to schedule slow-paced, romantic evenings when you can.
posted by hungrytiger at 2:45 AM on May 6, 2008

Best answer: I am assuming that given that you are training at a professional level you did get the usual extensive health checkups and flags would have been raised regardless. so let's assume it's not physical but psychological. you have some pretty good reasons for being stressed out. we all go through times like you are experiencing every once in a while and it's okay to just want to get some rest at the end of the day. there may also be the factor that you have been with your SO for a while. a married friend of mine once said "if you put a quarter into a jar for every time you have sex with your SO for five years and begin taking out a quarter for every time starting then, you'll have a jar half full or more ten years down the line" I am so not mr. long-term relationship and can't comment on that myself other than to say that hey, give it some time.

and for chrissakes, you have a therapist. talk to him/her.
posted by krautland at 3:41 AM on May 6, 2008

Best answer: I think the more you worry about it being "gone" in a permanent way, the worse you make the problem. That line of thought only increases anxiety, and anxiety & arousal don't usually mix. You have enough on your plate right now. Do absolutely everything you can to reduce stress in your life. Plan a fun 3 day weekend.
posted by desjardins at 5:59 AM on May 6, 2008

Best answer: Yeah, libido comes and goes when you hit middle age, and under stress it tends to go. Don't sweat it. Your fiancee (congratulations!) will understand.
posted by languagehat at 6:41 AM on May 6, 2008

Best answer: Stress can kill you. Yes, that's melodramatic, but it's true. It eats away at your immune system. And since you are so fit in every other area of your life, I think stress is showing up for you as lack of libido. And worrying about will just add to the cycle, so talk it over with your therapist. Incidentally, if you are on any kind of antidepressant, that will of course affect your libido as well (I assume you aren't, or you would have mentioned it, but FYI).
posted by misha at 7:06 AM on May 6, 2008

Best answer: First the stress is a problem. Second, I would seriously get your Testosterone levels tested. This is big deal. The more stress, both physical and psychological, you put on yourself, the more likely that you need dietary fortification to maintain t-levels. Low t-levels are a killer both at the gym and in bed.

Further, and this is just brain storming, endurance athletes often strip off significant muscle mass as a part of preparing for their sport. This is also a problem for t-levels. Get tested.
posted by ewkpates at 7:18 AM on May 6, 2008

Apparently, you are not alone.
posted by caddis at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2008

Seconding ewkpate's concern about your testosterone levels.

If the "world class endurance sport event" you are training for includes bicycling, you could be mashing and overheating your testicles to the point they're not functioning well, and mashing the nerves that go to your genitals, too.
posted by jamjam at 8:42 AM on May 6, 2008

To follow up on jamjam check out some seats like this if you are cycling. If you are cycling to the point where your form is breaking down due to tiring you can really do a number on some important nerves. The fact that the middle of the seat is cut out really helps to prevent this.
posted by Carbolic at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2008

Response by poster: Guys, thanks for this advice. There's some thoughts here. Any more appreciated.
Some more clarifications in the meanwhile.

1; Yes, I am on a low level of anti-depressents for the past 6 months (10mg Cipramil daily). I didn't think they would have a continuing effect...

2: I haven't lost any muscle mass. I'm a long distance open cold water swimmer (water temp currently 51 F, current survival time for me, about 1 hour). I've actually gained about 7 lb muscle in the last 9 months. So the cycling seat issues don't apply.
The cold water used to actually act as a mild aphrodisiac last year (once everything dropped back into place an hour or two after!). It's not a physical thing, like erectile dysfuntion.

3: I did the web stress test mentioned above. I was surprised by how many I could tick for the past 9 months. The finale figure was well above the critical 300 point!

4: The testosterone test is interesting. I'll think about getting that done. And prescribed artificial testosterone would be the solution?

5: For a long while I wasn't stressing about this, but after another weekend, sans completed coitus, it's become more worrying. And that worry feeds itself, etc.....

6: The 3 day weekend idea is good. Granted with redundancy money will become an issue within a few months, but I'm due to be vetted by my fiances best friends who both live at the other side of the country so we might make a nice trip out of it. (I'm not stressed by this "vetting" at least...)

7: Yes I got an extensive physical just a few months ago as part of my entry requirements for the event. Everything good. Bloods, Cholesterol, ECG etc. Normal pulse 44, not bad for a 45 yo non-professional athlete.

8: I plan to talk to my therapist about this next week. Other things seemed so overwhelming I never got around to this. I wasn't avoiding it or anything.

Obeyance to the wisdom of the hive mind....
posted by lndl at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2008

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