Share He was prescribed three-monthly testosterone injections, which he now has to have for life. It was after the second jab that Paul noticed his sex drive returning and his other symptoms disappearing. Now, four years after his problems began, Susan says she and Paul make love up to five times a week. It was like having the Paul I first met back again. I'm so glad it could be sorted - those months were the worst period of our marriage.
There's evidence that more and more men are suffering from a low libido. The common perception is that men constantly think about sex and are always ready to make love. But a recent survey for online pharmacy ukmedix. Another poll revealed one in four men is no longer having sexual intercourse at all - and the figure rises to 42 per cent for men over 55 - while a quarter said they had been affected by erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.
Dr David Edwards, a GP specialising in sexual issues, says the impact of low libido on a man and his relationship can be devastating. I saw a man recently and his low libido had destroyed his previous relationship. He'd suffered with it for 12 years, and only came to me because his current partner said she would leave unless he sought help.
After seven months living together, they'd begun having blazing rows about trivial things such as who'd failed to buy teabags. Both knew the real problem was much more sensitive - Stuart had virtually stopped wanting to make love. They got to the point where Lucy was reluctant even to give Stuart a cuddle in case she faced yet another rejection.
Not tonight A sexless marriage is defined as one where a couple have sex fewer than ten times per year 'When we first got together, our sex drives were fairly equal,' says Lucy, a year-old corporate fundraiser who has been with Stuart, 40, for two years. We went from having sex several times a week to once every two or three weeks, then less. When sex did happen, I felt under pressure to make it brilliant. If it wasn't happening, I'd feel even worse.
It became stressful, instead of a pleasure. I'm an engineer in the building trade, and there are lots of guys who boast about what they've done and how often. I didn't even feel like having sex, and that made me feel low, that it was me being "weird". Illnesses such as diabetes 50 per cent of men with Type 2 diabetes are testosterone deficient , a pituitary tumour called an adenoma, Klinefelter's a genetic syndrome affecting one in men and chronic conditions such as renal problems and cystic fibrosis can all affect testosterone levels.
Some medications also dampen libido, such as anti-depressants and beta blockers, which are used to treat anxiety and high blood pressure. As Paul discovered, it can also be a result of illnesses such as flu or glandular fever. But the way we now live is also playing a part.
Rising obesity levels are pushing up the number of men affected by low libido. Some doctors feel this is happening at an earlier age. Dr Malcolm Carruthers, founder of the Centre for Men's Health, has been treating men with libido problems for 25 years. Large studies done in America show that every decade there's a decrease in testosterone levels by as much as ten per cent.
I believe the same is happening in this country. Research has also shown a link between exposure in the womb to gender bending chemicals such as bisphenol A and phthalates, found in some food packaging and other plastics , and lowered testosterone levels. Dr Carruthers also believes the pressures of the dire economic climate are having a detrimental effect on men's libidos. Financial stress and lowered libido are things Neil Shah, 38, from West London, knows all about.
Ten years ago he was the MD of a failing recruitment company employing 30 people. I'd recently got married, and though my wife and I had always had a good physical relationship, that side of things just disappeared.
The break helped him realise the impact that stress had had on him, and inspired him to set up the Stress Management Society, a not-for-profit organisation offering support for those affected. He says he's noticed increasing numbers of men complaining that impaired libido is one of the problems they are facing in these tough economic times.
Financial stress and lowered libido are things Neil Shah, 38, from West London, knows all about He says: When a person is under severe stress they go into survival mode. Oxygen is diverted to the heart and lungs, and away from the sexual organs.
Reproduction is the last thing the body wants to engage in. So what can be done about a low libido? Dr Edwards says wives and partners are vital in turning the situation around because without their support, men are unlikely to seek professional help. To admit that your sex drive is waning isn't a macho thing to do, so women have a vital role in getting their partners to seek help. However, because some men have a higher natural resistance to testosterone than others, diagnosis can be more complex than a simple blood test, and consequently many men go undiagnosed, he says.
The way to diagnose it is by listening to the patient, their history and symptoms. If symptoms disappear when you give a course of testosterone treatment, that's the answer as far as I'm concerned. Stuart turned to a herbal remedy to help him.
When he and Lucy, who live in Brighton, talked the issue over, he realised his waning desire was probably down to recurring bouts of depression triggered by the death of his father 11 years ago. His GP recommended antidepressants but, knowing they can impair sex drive, he decided five months ago to try KarmaMood, a supplement based on St John's Wort, a herbal extract believed to lift mood. We're having more of it, and I initiate it more often. I'm so glad I did. Advertisement Share or comment on this article: Why are so many men losing their sex drive?
Men are now more likely to refuse sex than women - and doctors blame everything from the recession to toxins.