Libido in its common usage means sexual desire; however more technical definitions, such as those found in the work of Carl Jung, are more general, referring to libido as the free creative—or psychic—energy an individual has to put toward personal development or individuation. Within the category of sexual behavior, libido would fall under the appetitive phase wherein an individual will usually undergo certain behaviors in order to gain access to a mate.
– from Wikipedia
First off, this article will be fine for any age to read. Secondly, though the definition is varied, the one I am going to be writing about, is the one that references a man’s desire to satisfy his wife. What is funny to me, is that the difference between men and women in this arena is as different as night and day, but then it is also that different from one man to the next. Over the years I have had many new patients come in with soemthing along these lines checked off as a health concern.
More often it is women who check the box in their 30’s, while the house is filled with little ones running around, napping, skipping naps, etc. Often leading to the woman in the house being focused on the little ones, and spending little time thinking about anything physical with her husband. However, I have had many cases where men in their fifties and beyond, have complained about a lack of drive or desire.
In most cases, these men are at a place in their life where there are many BIG career concerns in their path. Opportunities for upward advancement are coming towards an end, concersn over retirement are high, and the future is often uncertain in an economy where downsizing and forced retirement are also legitimate concerns. Stress may have the greatest impact on libido of all of the other possibilities. In addition, the hormonal changes of reduced testosterone and growth hormone play a huge role.
What compounds this concern, is that many women, as they are entering into their mid-40’s, have shed their lack of libido, and replaced it with a vigor for a physical relationship, leaving the wife feeling under-served, and the husband feeling inadequate. This situation is a recipe for disaster.
“Stress may have the greatest impact on Libido…“
So how do you combat this situation? What can you do to insure that your marriage doesn’t struggle unnecessarily through this time, and that husband and wife can live into a place of physical enjoyment into their 60’s, 70’s and beyond? The first thing you can do is plan.
Plan for the fact that the hormonal changes that are very common in our country, are not necessary. Physical activity is the most important piece of action that you need to gain greater growth hormone, and testosterone. More specifically, high intense physical activity (including resistance exercise – weight lifting) and high intenstiy body weight movements. The increases in growth hormone and testosterone have been described as somewhat miraculous, as one man in his 50’s stated after an intense workout, “I feel like I have found the fountain of youth”.
Of course, your diet will also have a huge impact on your hormonal function. Men who consume high levels of sugar (blood sugar) through excessive grain and sugar consumption, have been found to have significantly less testerone production, than those with low sugar levels. Taking your diet seriously is not only important for long term blood sugar, heart and cancer health, but for marital health!
I want to leave you with a great resource as well, which is designed to help work on the emotional side of the marital equation. I had heard of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman for years, but I have only been reading it in the last few weeks. This book describes five different styels of communication with your spouse, and helps identify which ones you respond to. From words of affirmation to physical touch, it helps you identify which language your spouse responds to. So far we are loving this book!
I hope you will consider this regardless of your age, so that you can be healthier and happier for a lifetime. Be well, Dr. E