Check your email and chances are you will find spam. Even with a filter to block out unwanted messages, some junk slips through. These ads frequently offer to enhance your sex life.
But what if you don’t want a more active sex life? We frequently hear from women who would prefer to dampen their partners’ desire: “Can saltpeter lower a man’s sex drive? If not, is there a natural herb that will?”
Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) has been used in fertilizer and fireworks. It was also used at one time to cure meats. Although it has a reputation for lowering libido, this is a myth. Potassium nitrate could be dangerous if consumed, however. It can cause kidney damage or anemia as well as headaches and digestive distress.
As for natural herbs to reduce libido, there is only one we know of. It is chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus). This herb was known as “monk’s pepper” and was purportedly used to dampen libido in the Middle Ages.
Women aren’t the only ones who are interested in suppressing sex drive. One reader recently contacted us with this question: “I desperately need your help. Neither my primary doctor nor my psychiatrist is interested, so I turn to you.
“What can I take to reduce my libido? I have a lovely wife who for the last seven years has not been interested. She is the only person in my life. Your input on this would help keep me from driving myself nuts as well as her. I’m currently taking lithium, sertraline, lorazepam and trazodone. After the ridicule both doctors put me through, I certainly hope you can help.”
Your physicians should not be giving you any grief, especially since the combination of medicines you are taking could be hazardous. What’s more, trazodone may be aggravating your situation.
Ask a urologist or a specialist in sexual medicine whether a medication for prostate enlargement might be safe for you. Drugs such as Avodart or Proscar can sometimes lower libido as a side effect. That is because they block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Progesterone is another hormonal treatment that may be useful in suppressing sexual interest. This drug does have numerous side effects, however, so you will need to discuss it in detail with your physician. The herb Vitex appears to have a mild, progesterone-like effect and may be safer.
Counseling is essential, regardless of drug treatment. Although your wife is not interested, physical intimacy is usually part of a wholesome relationship. Invite your wife to join you in therapy with an expert who specializes in human sexuality.
We would like to send you a CD of a recent hour-long radio show interview we did with one of the country’s leading experts in sexual medicine. Irwin Goldstein, MD, is Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. During the interview, he addressed problems of both high and low libido as well as erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems.