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Sexually Frustrated Men Are Trying to Lower Their Libidos

Is sex a disease that can be cured? Some men think so.

The drop in testosterone men experience upon the birth of a child has its purposes — empathy, love, caregiving capacity all rise with the drop. But it can, among other things, cause sex drives to lower. This isn’t the most convenient outcome, unless you’re one of a rising group of men who have been trying to lower their sex drive on purpose. That’s right: Some sexually frustrated men are learning how to lower sex drives to, so they believe, better their lives. Whether its to avoid cheating accommodate asexual partners, the market for anaphrodisiacs — the opposite of an aphrodisiac —  is growing.

This concept is not new. Soldiers have long assumed (incorrectly) that their generals were feeding them saltpeter to reduce their interest in sexual activities to keep them in line with tasks at hand. Even in modern times, sex offenders have been prescribed anti-androgens to reduce their risk of offending again (although side effects such as growing breasts tend to limit compliance). For obvious reasons, the market for voluntary anaphrodisiacs never exactly exploded. But online supplement sales mean that there are now many holistic options for men who want to lower sex drive. Do they all work? No, of course not. And even if studies show they are effective, nobody should try any of them without first consulting a doctor. Here’s a look at some of the more common anaphrodisiacs on the market, how effective they are, and the side effects that may give you pause.

The Monk’s Salad, a Recipe for High Sex Drives

Known as chasteberry or monk’s pepper after the celibate monks rumored to have chewed on its leaves, Vitex Agnus-Castus has been shown to decrease levels of the hormone prolactin.

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Downside: There’s no real evidence this works. While studies suggest this may help mitigate the symptoms of PMS, nothing more than anecdotal evidence suggests that it may decrease a man’s sex drive too. Also, there are side-effects, including dizziness, diarrhea, and hair loss.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for High Sex Drives

Typically prescribed for mood disorders such as depression, SSRIs such as Zoloft have an unfortunate side-effect — patients say it totally tanks their libido. Other patients, however, are thrilled by the sudden total lack of interest in sex, and even request the drug specifically to keep their sex drives in check.

Downsides: Besides the fact that not everyone who takes SSRIs actually experiences less sexual interest, these drugs tend to have nasty side-effects, one of which is an inability to climax. This means some users end up keeping their sex drives, but losing their ability to do anything about it.

Lithium and Naltrexone for High Sex Drives

When the need to take an anaphrodisiac is rooted in hypersexuality, an actual disorder, doctors may prescribe medication to treat what is often an underlying health problem. Lithium, for instance, has been shown to help people manage hypersexuality associated with manic episodes. And Naltrexone, typically given to treat alcoholism, can also treat a related sexual addiction.

Downsides: Whether pills work or not, psychotherapy (or couples therapy) is often an even better option for men looking to tamp down their libidos.

Soy to Lower Your Libido

Soy protein is full of compounds known as isoflavones which some studies suggest have estrogen-like effects.

Downsides: Eating more soy is a pretty backward way to lower sex drive. Being vegan is great for the planet, but a soy-heavy diet is not any more healthy for your heart (as was once thought) and, besides, eating enough soy to have an impact on hormones is trying. One oft-cited study that shows soy lowering testosterone required subjects to eat 71 grams of tofu every day for ten weeks. Worse yet, experts note that one reason the subjects might have ended up with lower testosterone was because of weight gain not —not the soy itself.

Long, Intense Workouts to Lower Libido

Men who engage in prolonged, intense exercise experience lower libidos, a recent study of 1,077 men suggests.

Downsides: There are two potential problems with the long, hardcore workouts to lower a sex drive. First, it’s a recipe for injury. Short, intense workouts (like a 20-minute HIIT workout) are all the rage since they offer lots of benefit with minimal wear and tear on the body. Keep that intensity up, however, and you can put strain on joints and increase the possibility of an injury since form tends to fall apart the longer you’re at it. Also, low-to-moderate exercise has the opposite effect. In other words, taking too many water breaks could make you buffer and hornier than ever before.