A growing number of men are coping with sexual frustration by trying to lower their sex drive. That’s right: Some men know that lowering their libidos and suppressing their, ahem, horniness, might better their relationships and regulate impulsive emotions. From avoiding the temptation to stray to accommodating asexual partners, the market for anaphrodisiacs — drugs that dampen libido and kill sex drive— is growing.
A lowered libido occurs naturally in some cases. After the birth of a child, men experience a drop in testosterone that increases empathy, love, and caregiving capacity. Oftentimes these hormonal and behavioral changes come with less convenient side effects including a lowered sex drive. But for some, this natural reduction in libido, or male arousal, is a welcome relief and something they seek through other means like anaphrodisiacs.
Anaphrodisiacs and techniques for lowering sex drive are as old as sex itself. Soldiers long assumed (incorrectly) that their generals were feeding them saltpeter to reduce their libido and to keep them in line with the tasks at hand. In modern times, sex offenders are known to sometimes be prescribed anti-androgens to lower their sex drive in the hopes that it will reduce their risk of offending again (although side-effects such as growing breasts tend to limit compliance).
Understandably, the market for voluntary anaphrodisiacs that decrease sex drive never exactly became mainstream. But libido lowering supplements sold online provide dozens of holistic options for men who want to lower their sex drive. Not all anaphrodisiacs work, and even those that do have some success in lowering libido shouldn’t be taken without first consulting a doctor. Here’s a look at some of the more common anaphrodisiacs on the market, how effective they are at lowering sex drive, and the side-effects that may give you pause.
SSRIs Can Work as Anaphrodisiacs
Typically prescribed for mood disorders such as depression, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, such as Zoloft, are often passed up because of one unfortunate side effect: patients say it it totally tanks the 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 SSRIs don’t completely ensure lower sex drives (they work differently on everyone), these drugs also 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.
Eat Soy to Lower Your Libido
Soy protein is full of compounds known as isoflavones, which some studies suggest have estrogen-like effects that kill sex drive. Soy could act as an anaphrodisiac, but it’s not that straightforward.
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 healthier for your heart (as was once thought) — and eating enough soy to have an impact on the hormones that control libido is trying. One oft-cited study showed that subjects who ate 71 grams of tofu every day for ten weeks had decreased testosterone levels. Worse yet, experts note that one reason the subjects might have ended up with lower testosterone was because of associated weight gain, not the soy itself. So any desired dampening of the sex drive will be offset by other negative effects.
The Monk’s Salad, a Recipe to Lower Sex Drive
Known as chaste berry, 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. Low levels of prolactin have been linked to low sex drive in men.
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. They might kill your sex drive, but for all the wrong reasons.
Long, Intense Workouts May Stifle Sex Drives
A recent study of 1,077 men suggests that men who engage in prolonged, intense exercise experience lower libidos.
Downsides: There are two potential problems with using 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 thanks to the benefits they offer with minimal wear and tear on the body. Keep that intensity up, however, and you can strain joints and increase the possibility of an injury, as 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.
Lithium and Naltrexone Lower Libidos
It’s important to note that simple anaphrodisiacs are a more palliative fix, and won’t cure actual disorders like hypersexuality. For hypersexuality, 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.