Weight Lifting Causing Low Sex Drive?

Submitted by MexicanTexican on
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So I've been looking around the internet, and I found some stuff that I'd like some input on.

Is it possible that my weight lifting may be contributing to my sexual desires in a negative way? Let me put this into perspective. I haven't looked at a single clip of porn in the last 6 months so I'm pretty damn sure that I don't need to reboot any more. But I'm still not responding sexually to women. Funny thing is, I've been playing around with my penis to test to see if it's able to get hard and it definitely is, I just don't seem to have a very high sex drive. This leads me to believe that my problems may not be dopamine-related, but maybe testosterone related. I've just been thinking about when my problems started surfacing and the few conversations that I've had with my father about my ED and a couple minutes ago, I remembered he asked me if I thought my weight lifting was causing it (my ED started around the same time I went on a heavy diet and then started lifting weights regularly. I was around 15 1/2). At the time I scoffed and said "no way" because...you know...squatting twice my body weight HAD to be generating some massive amounts of T, right? I've been lifting heavy weights every single morning since I decided to lose weight all those years ago and thinking that the unhealthy, weed-smoking, binge-drinking, borderline fat 14 year old that I was had better sexual energy BECAUSE of these habits was preposterous.

So anyways, I started researching it just for funzies, and a couple of forum posts have touched on this. These guys are saying that all the testosterone in my body is being used to rebuild my muscles after I work out and there isn't any left over after this process is complete, which would result in a low sex drive, right? Last January, I went to the doctor to get my levels taken. My total testosterone level came out 349 ng/dL (range is 250-1100. Kinda low...) and free level was 54.1 pg/mL (range is 35-155. Not as low but still kinda low). I mean, maybe I'm just not getting enough fat and cholesterol in my diet? I did a dietary overhaul when I was 15 and went from 156 lbs to 135. I've since gone back up to 160, except it's pretty much muscle mass. But I don't consume junk food, sweets, soda, none of that. I eat extremely well and all that good stuff. But maybe I'm just not getting enough fat/cholesterol in my diet? I know you need cholesterol to produce testosterone. Idk the whole idea makes more than a little sense in regards to my situation IMO. If ANYBODY can give input I'd really appreciate it. I'm starting to freak out about the idea that maybe this low sex drive is being caused by my zealous workout schedule.

Also, I usually sleep like 7 hours a night. Don't know if that makes a difference. Low testosterone would also explain my lack of morning wood, yes?

I read somewhere else that

I read somewhere else that testosterone is only responsible for morning wood. Erections from arousal involve different hormones.

Of course you can try and see how your body responds when you don't exercise for 1-2 weeks. Don't worry, you won't be out of shape instantly.

The basic rule is that overtaxing always impairs the body. Stress is also an example of overtaxing that leads to decresed sex drive.

Yeah I know erections from

Yeah I know erections from arousal don't stem from just testosterone, but it's my understanding that testosterone is what gets you aroused in the first place, right? Testosterone and "sex hormone" appear together when I read about it usually.

Like I said, I'm able to get erect when I just focus on touch. But my amount of arousal is what's lacking here.


I don't know man. I can't tell you about male hormones but I really can't imagine how working out can in any way be a bad thing unless you do it to excess. In addition, very few americans need more "fat and cholesterol" in their diet. I'm impressed with your tenacity and workout schedule and really I want to ask you what is wrong again?

You are fit, healthy and have no problems achieving orgasm or erections and you haven't looked at porn in 6 months? That's fucking awesome. When you say "I'm still not responding sexually to women," does that mean you can't get erections when you with them or don't feel sexual attraction?

From my own limited experience not being aroused all the time is a good thing. I make better decisions, I'm more likely to do those difficult things (like working out) that I had very little time for before because I was chasing orgasm either from the comp or a woman I wasn't that into. So having that feeling that some posters describe as "dead" sexuality I believe is a total misnomer. It's put back into it's place. It is always there when you need it, if you meet an amazing girl that is right for you I have confidence your sexuality will work. Maybe I'm overly optimistic though. Hey what can I say I'm not a doctor of sexual dysfunction, I'm some guy posting on an anonymous internet messaging board. I wouldn't be so certain there is something inherently *wrong* with you unless for some reason you are in a relationship or something and can't get erections.

I also have learned on here that there is a difference between the reboot and the rewire. Reboots are that initial period of abstinence that allow you to have some clarity on the issue and the rewire is the more long term change. Maybe that's part of it as well. I will read more of your posting history to try to find out more about your story but at least what you are presenting in this thread seems to me you are actually in a physically enviable position my friend.

I'm vegan and consume nothing that comes from animal sources...therefore no cholesterol. I've never heard of a connection between cholesterol intake and testosterone. I haven't had cholestorol in my system for years and there hasn't been any sexual function affected at all. Porn did that and my brain did that.

Thanks for

Thanks for responding.

What's wrong with me isn't my physical ability to achieve an erection. I'm extremely healthy, resting heart rate is generally low 40s to low 50s, don't have any bad habits, and my penis responds to physical touch wayyyy better than it used to. I've also had more than a few girlfriends over the course of my life, and am about to hit 5 years with my current one in January. So the issue here isn't rewiring, because I'd say by all measures I'm pretty wired to real women.
I just don't ever get...AROUSED. I mean, if I see an attractive woman, my eyes may linger, but I definitely don't feel that virility that I'm certain SHOULD be there. I'm in the best shape of my life and I should wake up feeling like a man. But instead I wake up with a limp dick, which stays with me throughout the day. I've attempted having sex with my girlfriend, and while I may get mildly aroused, I don't get into sex-mode, if you know what I'm saying. And it isn't an issue about her attractiveness, as she's pretty hot.
Low testosterone seems to be the last barrier standing between me and any kind of sex life. My penis definitely works properly now thanks to this website and YBOP, problem seems to be this low libido, which to my understanding is governed by how much testosterone one has. I'm seeing my doctor on Tuesday and I'm going to ask him about testosterone replacement therapy. While it irks me that someone like me would even have to consider that, I really don't see anything else that could be causing it.

I actually masturbated last

I actually masturbated last night. Wasn't near as hard as I should be. And while I don't think it affected me negatively at all, I wasn't completely into it.
And yeah, back when I didn't really care about my bad habits, I felt that virility. In fact, my Junior and Senior years of high school, a lot of people would make fun of me and tell me I turned into a pussy, or I went soft because I stopped getting into fights and walking in to class drunk and instead focused on my health and grades. But I can still recall those feelings of "manliness".

I realize that I was also going through hormonal changes and that was probably part of it, but it doesn't make sense that when my health went up, my libido went down. I mean, the BIG reason why I was able to quit porn so readily and easily was because I never got aroused to the point where I would need to PMO.

And my muscle gains have been REALLY hard-earned. Believe me, I don't expect things to be handed to me on a silver platter, but I've seen other guys start going to the gym and get HUGE in the time that it takes me to go up 15-20 lbs on my benchpress. And I'm not of a naturally lanky build. Always had some muscle on me, even under those layers of fat, so I wouldn't think I'd be a hardgainer.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I mean, back then I was a really agressive, borderline douche-bag. Not trying to glorify it, but now I've got long hair (reaches down to my ass), a lot of my old favorite masculine activities have seemed boring lately, and I've lost that drive to go out and seize the day. I mean, I set goals for myself to do during the day and I more often than not accomplish them, but I lack that deep-seated DRIVE.

I'm freaking out now lol. I think I've found the root of my problem.

That's really interesting to me.

What you described in your first paragraph had much less to do with hormones but with societal expectations of masculinity. People calling you a "pussy" because you weren't being a douchebag anymore says a lot about our culture and about how being a "man" means you need to be callous, brazen and give oneself to unhealthy hedonistic excess. You are not alone in swimming against this current and I know that you know these behaviors have nothing whatsoever to do with being a man. Yet, there is something about those days that you seem to be missing out on and I don't have the answer to that but I think you may have them.

We have something in common physically as well because it isn't easy for me to gain muscle either and I *am* someone who has been mostly thin during my life. You can't choose genetics. I will say that anything worth having, in the end, is hard earned and I don't really believe that it's *easy* to make real muscle gains for anybody. It will always require hard work to change your body in such a way. There are different combinations of genes that might make it somewhat easier for some rather than others. Such is life.

Here is a proposition, to be taken or left at your discretion. Use all the discipline, all the training, all the weeks, months and years of eating well and turn that toward a life long pursuit of your choosing. What is really at issue here is something other than testosterone or a physical abnormality (although again I can't rule it out because I'm not a doctor). I challenge you to, without any delay, look deep into your heart (forget about your brain or your dick or sex for a few minutes) and ask yourself probably the most important question any of us can ask. That is: "What am I meant to do in this world and how can I achieve that purpose?" "What vocation (not "career" or "job") makes me feel I'm part of something larger than myself and is essentially good?"

I believe that those questions, once thought about and answered thoroughly, will wash away all fear and ennui. The answers to those questions will energize you in such a way that you will look back on this period and say to yourself "of course I felt that way, because I hadn't yet acknowledged to myself why I am here!" The result will be that "lack of deep-seated DRIVE" will be swept away from your emotional landscape and your inner life will be more reflective of the strong and powerful outer self that you have worked so hard to achieve. The other important thing that happens when you get those answers is that you now have a whole new set of questions that have immediate implications: "Who will help me achieve my purpose?" "What books do I need to read in order to learn more about my vocation?" "Who are the hero's who have gone before me and successfully achieved the thing I want to do or something like it?" "Where will I find people who are doing exactly what it is I want to do and how soon can I be chilling with them on a regular basis?" And on and on. I think you get it by now...

Furthermore, (to make a long post EVEN LONGER) once those questions are answered then things that seem separate and unconnected will lock into place and you will discover a new inner power you never thought you could have. Taking time away from porn is good but continuing masturbation and orgasm is part of this awakening as well. To be blunt, don't come on here and say "I'm not cured yet" until you have truly taken the cure. No masturbation, no orgasm, no porn (you've already got this one licked) for 6-8 weeks. If I were you I'd go a lot longer. You have my apologies in advance if you have already done this and stayed the course. I mean no disrespect to your 6 months of no porn because that is a very fine accomplishment and I'm a month behind you there. In my experience I tried to continue masturbating without porn. All it did was connect me to the past without allowing me to put sexuality aside for a relatively short period (compared to, hopefully, the rest of my life) and put things that are frankly more important *before* sexuality, where they belong. Those things are of course connected to your answers to the above questions.

There are people who have *never* and will *never* do the things that you have *already* accomplished at your age. Be a little grateful, buddy, yes, even for your "hot girlfriend," who if she has any compassion will understand your need for temporary celibacy. There is nothing amiss, things are as they should be until such time as you fearlessly search your innermost core and longings (that have nothing to do with women let me assure you!) Once you have plumbed those sometimes murky, often frightening depths and come up with those answers...the issue that causes you so much grief now you will have forgotten. When that happens you will be far too busy making your mark on this world before you die to worry about it. If one thing is universal it is the fact that we will all die someday. Don't let that day come without giving your chosen purpose everything you've got.

In conclusion, you are on the right track, keep searching and making positive decisions for yourself and these problems *will* be resolved. Believe that.

I agree with many of the

I agree with many of the things you touched on. And to be honest I'm still trying to figure out what my life's calling is. However, all the positive thinking in the world won't solve the problem if the issue is a hormonal deficiency. As to how I perceive myself, I don't think I'm a pussy or that I've lost my edge. I only mentioned that to bring to attention how I THINK I've changed since my problem arose. I'm perfectly comfortable with the person that I am and don't feel any need to change myself to suit other people's expectations. The only issue I have stems from the expectations I have for myself.

I do feel like I've lost my male edge. I don't want to be a roid-rager or sorts, but I do hope to get some of that energy back, because meditation and self-reassurance can only go so far.

I guess you said it best...

"To be honest I'm still trying to figure out what my life's calling is....The only issue I have stems from the expectations I have for myself. "

You have total control over both of these. There may or may not be a hormonal issue but these things above you can control independent of that. Best of luck, and try not to obsess or worry to much.

Our body makes lots of cholesterol anyway

[quote=Dano_Clarke]I haven't had cholestorol in my system for years and there hasn't been any sexual function affected at all. [/quote]
Dano, did you know that cholesterol is one of the most important substances in our bodies? I want to draw your attention to this review of cholesterol by Mark Sisson. Here's a snippet:
Cholesterol is a waxy, charming lipid gracing every cell’s membrane and our blood plasma. Its jobs, which are many, include insulating neurons, building and maintaining cellular walls, metabolizing fat soluble vitamins, producing bile, and kick-starting the body’s synthesis of many hormones, including the sex hormones. Cool stuff actually.

Given all the work cholesterol has to do, the liver is careful to ensure the body always has enough, producing some 1000-1400 milligrams of it each day. In comparison, the 300 milligram recommended limit for dietary cholesterol (your tax dollars at work in the USDA) is a drop in the bucket. And get this: our livers come with feedback mechanisms (at no additional cost) that regulate cholesterol production in response to our dietary intake. When we eat more, it makes less, and vice-versa. Imagine that!



Go to the top answer with 54 votes.

I'm on the paleolithic diet and my testosterone levels feel good. I don't think the weightlifting would be causing it, although it might if you're not getting sufficient calories to keep up muscle repair.

Vitamin D supplementation also (cavemen weren't inside with clothes on all day, so it's very much needed- research it). And be careful not to overtrain - listen to when your body is too tired. Make sure you're fully rested in a dark room and don't have a bad sleeping pattern (go to bed before midnight).

Or it may be that you're not enjoying the social interactions with girls. Since my successful reboot i LOVE flirting with girls, it feels good. That social interaction is my orgasm. I want my sexual energy to be directed towards LIFE! Maybe we weren't meant to be ejaculating every day to survive - there was no biological need to do that and waste energy like that. Although at some times you should be horny, it doesn't need to be every day.

Thanks for the link. Not

Thanks for the link. Not sure if his situation is paralleling mine, though. I really do feel like if my T levels were around the middle of the spectrum, I would finally be 100% better. Because I don't think it's a matter of rewiring at this point. I mean, before I started using porn and even during this whole process she and I have been very physical and initiated in a lot of contact. And I never did progress into any off the wall porn.

Looking back, I think that after the first 90 days or so I may have already been cured in terms of my numbed pleasure response. I do remember life becoming brighter and all my interests coming back to me. I think maybe this whole time I just needed more manly hormones flowing through me.

Indeed not sure if your

Indeed not sure if your situation is the same MexicanTexican, for example, the last 2 weeks i have had alot of morning erections where you say you're not getting hard at all, and i do feel, although not nearly as much as with porn, the want to make love to my gf.

You say you're cured of your numbed pleasure response, do you mean with that, that you get (near) as much pleasure now with a RL woman as in the past with P? I myself am getting near that, but indeed the libido stays way behind in regards to healing.

I myself think that i am rebooted, but just not rewired. I am not 'used' to getting the pleasure (dopamine) from having sex with my gf, so i dont get the urge to do it with her. My feeling is that, to get rewired, i just have to do it alot, with my gf, and never alone, and if possible also not your gf 'finishing' you with her hand. Because this way i slowly rewire my brain to the fact that now pleasure comes from intercourse, and once the brain knows it, libido comes as well.

Then again, maybe you're right and your issue is very different, and it is an issue with testosterone? no idea about that, if you're going though with it, and it works, of course i'm interested to know!

When I refer to my numbed

When I refer to my numbed pleasure response, I'm referring to everything that provides me with pleasure, not just porn. On the (very) rare occasion that I'm actually horny, I do feel like my response in that department is back to normal.

And I will definitely follow up with this after I see my doctor

Maybe you're just wearing

Maybe you're just wearing yourself out... Quit trying to lift weights with your boner...
Actually, maybe you are being rewired and just a hot body no longer does it for you... Maybe it's more the intellectual side of women that gets your attention. That's what's kind of happening for me, anyway.

I'm sorry bro but i haven't

I'm sorry bro but i haven't had time to read every post so not sure if it has been 100 % clarified yet but if you lift heavy and weight train everyday this will definitley cause you to have low libido!! Weight training is great at improving your sex drive and helps raise natural testosterone providing you allow your body to have suffient rest between sessions. If you are training everyday this will be what is known as 'over training' this is not only counter productive in getting muscle gains but can cause you to feel sluggish and have decreased sex drive. The only people that can train hard everyday and continue to see benefits are people that are taking anabolic steriods. I've found an article for you to read. It has a quote ''Do note that overtraining is one of the biggest killers of testosterone'' .. If you have been lifting heavy weights daily for an extended period of time i am 100% sure this is a big factor in what you are experiencing. Especially if you started at a young age, it may of caused you to have a hormonal imbalance? As daily training has not allowed you body to be able to produce enough T? I'm only thinking out load but heavy training sessions everyday is a big NO NO.. If i were you i would take a break from weight training for a little while, just try light cardio for a few weeks. Then just try lifting 3 days a week, thats plenty.. See how you feel....

Read more: http://uk.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding_150/197_fitness_tip.html#ixzz1h...

I think you may be overtraining

I have been into fitness for over 20 years, used to be more into weightlifting than I am now as I have tried to get better balance and added in a lot of running / swimming. One thing I can say with certainty is that I have seen many people overtrain and have a lot of your symptoms. Overtraining can sometimes just slow down gains and show up in all other kinds of areas - so its not just the acute overtraining when lifters actually get weaker that you have to watch out for but the long term, chronic overtraining that can be harder to detect - and that is what I feel you may be suffering from. Overtraining can drain your whole body - especially your nervous system that gets overtaxed with heavy, compound movements like squats and deadlifts. As essential as those lifts are to strength gains, they require much more rest than most people allow.

Try taking a week or 2 completely off from lifting (don't worry - you won't lose all your strenth and muscle - in fact the rest will be beneficial even if you aren't overtraining). Then when you go back make sure you have a few off days from lifting a week and cut your sessions back in length. 30-45 minutes of intense lifting is often better for gains than 2 hours.

Connection between overtraining and testosterone

I am actually learning about this as well. I may also be seeing a similar effect and just attributing it to my zeal for not allowing PMO back into my life. So from that standpoint the hormone issue may play a bigger role than I thought. If you are now someone who trains excessively and that is shown to be a factor in your libido issues I would be very interested in finding out more about it and I hope my long post wasn't too lecture-ey. I still think it's good advice though, for anybody, because that type of mindset can also help you to put the brakes on something as well as judicious use of the "getting shit done right now" pedal which was something I had in short supply not very long ago!

Sometimes the brakes are necessary

Dano - I know how the feeling of more is better and pushing limits can feel like the best route, but in the gym it most definitely is not. Intensity is great, but it is impossible to train at max intensity more than 30-45 minutes a session or more than a few days a week. When I used to train people they almost always were doing way too much volume and then wondering why they weren't making gains. When I had them cut back the volume in half or so and up the intensity they couldn't believe the progress in the gym and the improvement out of the gym. Guys that were doing 10+ sets of squats or bench 2+ times a week have a hard time cutting back to 3-4 sets of each exercise once a week, but when they do, the benefits turn them into believers. My advice would be to cut back on volume, up the intensity, get enough rest and let your endocrine and nervous systems get back in balance and recover.

Thanks man.

How long have you been a trainer?

I'm happy with results but now that my body fat is around 10% I want to get some muscle, because I'm pretty thin but what I do have is defined and toned. Plus I'm on break so I'm tending to eat a bit more. In my case I have added rice cakes and peanut butter back to my diet but not changed the overall 6 meal a day with lots of veggie protein sources. I have backed off on cardio except for a light walk on off days for about 30-45 mins. I find this walking really helps clear my head and gets me out in nature...as much as can be done in an urban area.

I have dumb bells I'm using for arms, shoulders and back while at home. I'm also doing "perfect push-ups" to exhaustion and pull ups to exhaustion. I work my legs with deep knee bends and squats. Core is a mix of different exercises. I'm still learning how to do this and it's been about 6 months. I know in a year if I am consistent there will be a lot more progress as I get better at this kind of thing.

There's a routine here and

There's a routine here and others for other exercises at sister sites that might interest you: http://hundredpushups.com . I tried it for a bit and it seemed effective and to break up what can be monotonous. I'd go back, but I had to avoid push-ups for a while.

Have you tried kettlebells? That might let you combine weights, core, and cardio.


stop masturbating[ period.] i was at the same situation as you. now i am recovered.. you are mixing so many things here. don't just stop watching porn. stop masturbation for months you will recover