Sexual Problems in Men

  • Medical Author:
    Kevin C. Zorn, MD, FRCSC, FACS

    Dr. Kevin Zorn is a dual-board-certified (US and Canada), minimally-invasive uro-oncology, fellowship trained urologist at the University of Chicago. His main focus of clinical and scientific interest is in the surgical treatment of renal and prostate cancer. He is also an expert in performing surgery with the DaVinci Surgical Robotic System to manage localized prostate cancer and small renal masses. Dr. Zorn studied medicine and urology at McGill University in Montréal.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What causes low libido?

Many causes have been identified as contributing to the diminishment of sexual desire. They include:

  • Medications (SSRIs, anti-androgens, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, opioid analgesics)
  • Alcoholism
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hypoactive sexual disorder
  • Recreational drugs
  • Relationship problems
  • Other sexual dysfunction (fear of humiliation)
  • Sexual aversion disorder
  • Systemic illness
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Stress
  • Lack of time
  • History of sexual abuse
  • Hormonal problems such as hyperthyroidism

What are the symptoms of low libido?

The person that lacks sexual desire won't want to initiate the sexual relation. If the act is initiated, low libido can also present itself as the inability to attain an erection. If the patient experiences a first episode of erectile dysfunction without any previous sexual symptoms and adequate nocturnal erection, the cause is probably psychogenic and the problem is not the erection. It is also important to specify if the low libido is new in onset or if one has always felt this way about sexual relations.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to acquire or maintain a satisfactory erection. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction varies according to the patient's age. About 18% of men from 50 to 59 years of age will suffer from erectile dysfunction and 37% of those aged 70 to 75 years will, too.

There are three types of erections -- those caused by tactile stimulation, those caused by mental stimulation, and those that men experience while sleeping. This classification can be important when the cause of erectile dysfunction is yet to be determined.

In order to have an erection, men need stimuli; they need blood arriving from the arteries and a veins capable of locking the blood in place. Each of the numerous steps in this system can fail making erectile dysfunction a complex problem for investigation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/2/2016
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