The FDA has been quite clear that it doesn’t approve of routine prescribing of testosterone, even if men have low levels of this hormone. Here is the official word from the feds: “None of the FDA-approved testosterone products are approved for use in men with low testosterone levels who lack an associated medical condition.” The conditions the FDA is referring to include genetic disorders, cancer treatment with chemotherapy, hypogonadism or problems with the brain structure called the hypothalamus. But what happens if a man’s testosterone levels are so low that he has no interest in sexual intimacy? That is the question this woman is asking.
Does Husband Need More Testosterone?
Q. My husband has a really low sex drive. He rarely initiates any intimate contact. When I try to interest him in a romantic evening he comes up with one excuse or another. He makes me feel undesirable.
I suggested that he might want to ask his doctor to test his testosterone levels but he hates getting stuck with a needle. That was a nonstarter. Is there anything he could take to boost his testosterone naturally? Some of the ads on the web seem too good to be true.
A. We would caution against trying products advertised on the Internet. There are a lot of scam artists out there and you have no way of knowing what is really in such products.
First, we would like you to know that you are not alone. We have heard from hundreds of women who, like you, are frustrated that their husbands or boyfriends have little to no sex drive. Many feel so rejected that they seek ways to suppress their own sex drive. We think that is terribly sad.
Stories of Frustration:
Sharmaine in South Carolina shares a similar story:
“In the past three years, my husband and I may have had sex 10 times. He says he’s always had a low libido. Even while we’re having sex, he’s not necessarily enjoying it because he has zero desire. The only reason we’ve even had sex at all in the past few years is because I initiated it and because he wants to make me happy.
“It bothers me that he doesn’t try to do anything to increase his sex drive or his desire. He talks a good game but never initiates any sexual contact. It’s to the point where I cry after we’re done and he’s asleep because I know he doesn’t really want to have sex.”
Anonymous in Utah writes:
“I am married to the love of my life. We have known each other for more than 25 years. We started as friends and then the relationship became much deeper.
“Sex was never a problem. Then unexpectedly my husband began to avoid situations that might lead to physical intimacy. At first I blamed myself. I feared that I was less attractive than I used to be. My self esteem took a nose dive.
“Our relationship is suffering. I feel terribly lonely and cry myself to sleep.”
Here are just a few articles on this topic.
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As stated, we think that trying to deal with a man’s low libido by killing your own sex drive is tragic. We have some alternate suggestions.
Testing for Testosterone:
We understand that your husband is phobic when it comes to needles. He’s not the only one. Many people hate being stuck to get their blood drawn.
There is an initial test that could reveal his hormonal status and would not require a blood test. A company that underwrites our radio show, Verisana Labs, provides a Male Hormone Health Check using saliva samples. This test kit analyzes testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, DHEA and cortisol. Here is a link to learn more. If you use the promo code PEOPLE, you will get 20% off your first order.
Once you and your husband get the results back, you will have a better sense whether his problem might be related to his hormone levels. He can take that information to his physician for followup. Whether he needs more testosterone will be totally up to his doctor.
Enhancing Sex Drive Without Taking More Testosterone:
Even if your husband’s testosterone levels are low, he may be able to improve his sex drive naturally. Here is a link to an article about bright light exposure and more testosterone. As hormone levels went up so did sexual interest.
Getting your husband outside on a sunny day could be beneficial for all sorts of reasons. Exercise is good for the heart, the brain and the sex drive.
To learn more about exercise and diet we would encourage you and your husband to take a few minutes and listen to our free podcast with Dr. John La Puma. Here is a link:
You can listen to the streaming audio by clicking on the green arrow over Dr. La Puma’s photo or you can download the free mp3 file and listen on your computer, phone or tablet. Dr. La Puma describes symptoms of low T and provides nondrug approaches for getting more testosterone circulating in the body.
And remember, Verisana Labs offers home test kits that will allow your husband to collect saliva for testing. This way he will get hormone information without coming up with excuses to avoid having his blood drawn. Include the promo code PEOPLE for the 20% discount.
Share your own experience with hormones and libido in the comment section below.