Low Sex Drive Doesn’t Always Mean Low Testosterone

Testosterone declines in aging men. Symptoms include falling sex drive (libido), decreased muscle mass, depression, abdominal obesity and loss of aggressiveness. Physicians often treat these symptoms with testosterone supplements, but it’s not known how often men with low libidos also have low testosterone levels. Researchers from the New England Research Institute found that low sex drive was a poor predictor of blood testosterone levels. Sex drive is influenced by factors such as hormones, low physical fitness, metabolic health, emotional stability and the status of relationships. Men with low testosterone levels often have a low libido, but the reverse isn’t always true. Weight trainers who take anabolic steroids sometimes have low sex drives, even though testosterone levels are in the stratosphere. Physicians should consider causes other than low testosterone for low sex drive instead of immediately resorting to hormone replacement therapy. (Journal Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism, 91:2509-2513, 2006)