Dear Dr. G,
Thank you for addressing my concerns about my sex life. I really hope I do not appear to be fussing over nothing.
My name is Dave and I often read your articles with interests, as you humorously answer questions about sexual dysfunctions suffered by other readers.
On the other end of the spectrum, I am hoping to ask Dr. G about my "problem" of high sexual drive.
I am in my early thirties and I have been together with my partner for the last three years. My girlfriend thinks I have issues as I have insatiable appetite for sex, and I think of sex all the time. Not that she is complaining, but I think she is worried it might be abnormal.
I read your article sometime in the past, stating that on average, Malaysian couples aged under forty have sex twice a week. On the other hand, we seem to be having sex almost on a daily basis.
I really hope to put Dr. G on the spot this week about sexual libido.
What determines sexual desire for men? Is it normal for men to have ravenous appetite for sex? Is it true that men have higher sexual appetite than women?
Is the over zealous sex drive harmful for men? And lastly when will it all diminish in the future?
I really look forward to your response.
Dave with Drive
Sexual libido, also known as sex drive or sexual appetite, is the measurement of the level of sexual interests in both men and women. There is no definitive measurement or barometer to gauge sexual libido in real life. Hence, sexual libido can only be quantify in relative terms, compared to the "norm".
Sexual libido is predominantly dictated by two parts of the human brain, the cerebral cortex and the limbic systems. These parts of the brain are vital to generate appetite for sex and determine sexual climax and orgasm. The cerebral cortex is generally part of the brain responsible for higher functions, like thinking and planning. In addition, this part of the brain also evolves to generate constant sexual thoughts subconsciously. On the other hand, the limbic system constitutes the hippocampus, hypothalamus and amygdala. These parts of the brain are involved with emotion, motivation and drive.
In men, the signals originate from the cerebral cortex tend to generate arousal and increased heart rate. The process also tends to initiate spontaneous erections. On the other hand, the limbic system generates sexual emotions, more in men than women. The research at Emory University provided such explanation for the disparity between male and female sexual drives.
In addition to the brain, the role of the testosterone cannot be ignored in the quest for the answer of what drives the sexual libido.
The fluctuation of the levels of the male hormone often dictates the ups and downs (literally) in the sexual tension. Testosterone level tends to be higher in the morning and lower at night. Of course the hormone peaks at late teens, stabilises during the twenties and thirties, and sadly slowly declines with advancing age. The timing and extent of the decline is highly variable between individuals and difficult to predict.
Undeniably, there are many stereotypes that portray men as sex-obsessed machines. A recent study from Ohio State University examined the frequency of sexual thoughts in 200 students on campus. Apparently, young men reported sexual thoughts 19 times per day on average, compared to ten times per day for women. The critiques suggest that cultural differences may also play a role, as men are more comfortable to discuss sexual matters in the study compared to women.
The Formula 1 champion, Lewis Hamilton once said: "The way I drive, the way I handle a car, is an expression of my inner feelings." When Dr. G is put on the spot to explain the insatiable, voracious and unquenchable sexual appetite in some lucky men, with willing and contented partners. His response is simple: "The way you drive between the sheets, the way you handle your libido, is just an expression of your inner neuro-hormonal physiology!" On that note, embrace the ride, as often times the ride will be over before you know it!
Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at email@example.com