What is a “Libido” Anyway?
ibido is the medical term for what most people typically refer to as their sex drive or desire to partake in sexual activities. Sex drive is influenced by ones physical, emotional, mental, and social states in relation to their own sexuality. A libido acts almost like a canary in a coalmine, determining the quality of life for men. Meaning, that if the libido is low there are usually other health problems present that are causing the issue. A low libido is rarely an isolated symptom.
The sex drive is also deeply related to our daily culture and has driven our species biologically throughout evolutionary history. Its not wonder that sex drive and libido are discussed so often, the popular TV archetype of a sexless marriage due to faked migraines and randy younger men has a lot more behind it than the simple matter of being able to “get it up” or not.
Science behind the sex drive
The libido is controlled by the endocrine system and its ability to produce androgen hormones at a balanced rate, mainly testosterone. Men are notoriously portrayed as being the “hornier” sex, as they have nearly 40 times as much testosterone as women. Such an intense sexual drive can be coupled with a demeanor of aggression and most mammalian species demonstrate a differential between male and female aggression that has a hormonal basis.
Testosterone is not the only thing that controls sex drive there is also a neurobiological basis for the libido. Oxytocin and dopamine play a crucial role. The neuropeptide oxytocin controls erections and sex drive. The amount traveling through the neural pathways is directly correlated to sex drive. The exact role of these peptides and how they affect the libido has not been fully determined by scientists yet. It has been difficult to pin down their exact contribution to the male sex drive because the peptides play many different roles.
Dopamine is another hormone and neurotransmitter that plays a strong role in libido and motivation. Steroid hormones set the stage for increased dopamine synthesis. Increased dopamine equals increased sex drive. Brain chemistry is at the heart of the sex drive, not the testes. It is easy for men to think that their genitalia are the problem, when really it could be an issue with their neurotransmitters.
While dopamine and oxytocin are important to the male sex drive, testosterone is the hormone most associated with male libido. Produced primarily in the testicles, balanced levels of testosterone not only support your ability to get it on and keep it on, but they also affect a myriad of different health functions like:
- development of male sex organs
- hair growth
- bone mass and muscle development
- sperm production and fertility
- production of red blood cells
The problem for many men is that after the age of thirty testosterone levels start to lower significantly. This can effect the sex drive with age.
It’s all in your head
That’s right, a man’s sex drive is mainly a matter of the brain. The cerebral cortex and limbic system are central to sex drive and performance in the bedroom. Men can orgasm from thought alone while thinking or having a “wet dream”.
The cerebral cortex is what makes up the outer layer of the brain. It detects sensation, movement, and is responsible most importantly for thinking. When men experience any kind of arousal or think about sex, the cerebral cortex is responsible for this function. This part of the brain signals to the rest of your body, including your genitals to signal them to respond to the arousal. Your cerebral cortex is responsible for letting your genitals know it is time to get an erection.
The limbic system is a part of the cerebral cortex that is related to emotional motivations surrounding sex drive. The thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala are all part of the limbic system.
Sex drive the later years
During puberty males around the age of twelve start to see an increase in hormones that lasts until ages 16 or 17. All sorts of changes take place, if you can remember. Your testicles and penis started growing, sperm production began and your voice changed. You even started to be able to grow that nasty little teen stache you were so proud of. As an adult the growth of the sex organs stops, testosterone has reached equilibrium in maintaining sex drive in most cases. Around age 30 testosterone levels begin to deplete 1% annually.
At around the golden age of 40, many men experience more dramatic shifts in their sex drive and performance abilities. Men might start experiencing delayed in erections or difficulty getting turned on. After ejaculating once, round two might not be an option anymore. Blood flow to the penis is reduced and therefore erections are not has hard anymore. The sexual drive in general is reduced and men find themselves less eager to have sex as the length and girth of the penis reduce ever so slightly over time.
Erectile dysfunction often accompanies gaining and 5-25% of men above the age of 40 report erectile dysfunction.
To overcome any kind of erectile dysfunction or lack of sexual desire that can come with age, illness, accident or mental state, it is important to understand all of the involved factors that scientifically make your body be able to have an erection. It is not so simple though it might have seemed to be in high school. There is a unique neurological sequence that takes place with every erection. Your body’s ability to have sex requires good mental health even more so than good physical health at times. There are many all-natural treatment options and lifestyle changes one can make to achieve optimal sex drive.