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The Impact of Testosterone on Sexual Health

Wednesday 21 February 2024
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction

II. Testosterone And Fertility

III. Testosterone and Libido

IV. Tips To Enhance Libido

V. Conclusion

Maintaining optimal levels of testosterone is essential for men's health and wellbeing. This powerful hormone affects everything from fertility and sexual function to energy levels and emotional health.

In this article, we’ll explore the vital role testosterone plays for men and how low levels can undermine health in key areas. You’ll learn how testosterone influences erectile function, sperm production, libido, and more. We’ll also provide tips to improve testosterone levels.

Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction

When men experience erectile dysfunction (ED), it’s rarely a standalone issue. Instead, ED often signals a deeper health condition that needs attention. ED has numerous potential causes, including:

  • Health issues: aging, diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, low testosterone, smoking, and high cholesterol
  • Social factors: stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship issues [1]

With so many factors at play, doctors take a systematic approach to identify and treat the root cause of ED. If the social aspects of your life aren’t causing ED, your doctor will start with a blood test to measure your testosterone level. [2]

  • If your testosterone levels are normal, your doctor may start you on an ED drug and investigate for deeper health issues. ED drugs tend to work more reliably than testosterone and have a quicker response time.
  • If your testosterone levels are low, your doctor will start you on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This helps rebalance your hormones to restore sexual functioning and improve symptoms such as low sex drive. If you find that your erections are not satisfactory on testosterone alone, your doctor may supplement it with ED drugs.  [2]

Overall, it's important to remember that experiencing ED is not uncommon, and there are many potential causes. Work with your doctor to uncover the source through proper testing and take a systematic treatment approach. 

Testosterone And Fertility

Parents holding their newborn baby

Testosterone plays a vital role in male fertility, from sperm production to libido. This delicate hormonal balance is crucial for optimum reproductive health. Low testosterone levels can reduce sperm count, decrease sex drive, and cause erectile dysfunction. [3]

However, testosterone treatment for infertility is not a simple solution. Testosterone supplements signal the body to shut down the testes, further reducing natural sperm production. While there are numerous testosterone supplements available on the market, only a select few have been proven to preserve sperm production without negatively affecting it. [3]

  • Testosterone nasal gel provides a short burst of testosterone without suppressing natural production. It must be administered through the nostrils 2-3 times daily.
  • Medications like Clomiphene citrate, Anastrozole, and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) stimulate the testes to produce more testosterone naturally. This avoids shutting down sperm production. [3]

Lifestyle changes may also support healthy testosterone levels:

  • Keep the testicles cool by avoiding hot tubs, saunas, and keeping laptops off your lap. Overheating can reduce sperm production.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking is linked to lower testosterone levels.

Remember, it's important to consult with your doctor to determine the most appropriate course of action. By working together, you can address any concerns related to testosterone, fertility, and overall reproductive health.

Testosterone and Libido

A couple hugging and looking out a window

The male libido is a complex interplay between physical and emotional factors in the body. To coordinate these areas, the body employs hormones and neurotransmitters.

  • Hormones such as testosterone prime men to respond to sexual cues. In doing so, they impact neurotransmitters like dopamine.
  • Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter in the brain region that regulates pleasure and reward. Here, dopamine's actions increase the desire to engage in sexual activity. [5]

Studies show that decreased libido is one of the most common symptoms of low testosterone levels. In one study, researchers spoke to over 1,500 men about their sex drive and then measured their testosterone levels. The study found that men who reported lower sexual desire had a higher likelihood of having lower testosterone. [6]

There is no "right" or "wrong" level of sexual desire. Each person has a unique sex drive. A decrease in your typical libido marks a clinically low sex drive. [7] It's also important to note that your sex drive fluctuates naturally based on testosterone levels and life events. 

  • If you're going through a stressful time, your sex drive will likely be lower than usual.
  • Testosterone levels change over the course of the day. Levels tend to peak around 8 am and decrease throughout the day. Levels are lowest around 8 pm, then start to climb during the night. 
  • Testosterone levels change with age: After age 30, testosterone levels drop by 1% each year. The daily peaks and valleys in testosterone levels are more significant for men under the age of 40 compared to men in their 70s. [7]

Tips To Enhance Libido

Your libido is influenced by many factors, from your physical health to your mental state. While it may feel like your sex drive is out of your control, there are many lifestyle changes and techniques you can try to give your libido a boost.

  • Resistance training and high-intensity workouts can increase testosterone levels, which plays a key role in regulating libido. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Research shows that losing just 10% of body weight can increase testosterone levels by 100 points or more.
  • Drink moderately: Chronic alcohol abuse can cause liver damage and decrease the production of testosterone. To maintain healthy testosterone levels, it's important to drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Avoid endurance exercises before sex: Endurance exercises like long-distance running should be avoided right before sex, as they can temporarily lower testosterone and sap your energy. 
  • Eat a healthy diet: While no specific foods are proven libido enhancers, good nutrition provides the nutrients needed for optimal hormone production.
  • Practice stress-reduction techniques: For many men, high stress dampens their sex drive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking 10-minute breaks throughout your day to engage in stress-relieving activities like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or journaling.
  • Consult a sex therapist: Seeing a sex therapist provides a safe space to discuss any issues impacting your sex life. You can address concerns, get advice, and learn new communication skills to enhance intimacy. [7]


Understanding the impact of testosterone on health is crucial for men seeking to optimize their well-being. From addressing erectile dysfunction and fertility issues to enhancing libido, maintaining hormonal balance is a key factor.

To learn more about testosterone, visit our dedicated testosterone blog for more topics.

The content provided in this article is based on thorough research and in some cases, reviewed by a medical professional. Our goal for the information is to provide helpful, general health information. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.