Dopamine. The underrated “butler” to every man, one that not often gets the recognition and praises it truly deserves.
Never heard of dopamine before? That wouldn’t be surprising either; however, that’s all about to change.
If you think that something may be off with your libido, but cannot place an exact finger on the cause, chances are your dopamine levels may be off.
Let’s explore more of the roles dopamine plays in your overall sexual health.
What Exactly is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) produced naturally within the brain and are involved in many important functions that affect your mental health.
In particular, dopamine is involved in your motivation and reward pathways, which is why success or a sense of achievement results in feelings of euphoria or well being.
In like manner, dopamine also has a marked presence on modulation of your sex drive, via multiple mechanisms. These include:
1. The Elusive Orgasm – Sexual activity is typically accompanied by the result of an orgasm, or specifically ejaculation in men.
At this point of climax, a flood of endorphins is known to hit the brain, including dopamine and others. The stimulation of the brain’s reward pathway by dopamine leads to the satisfaction achieved following sexual activity.
Dopamine enhances the affinity of the androgen receptors for these so that there is a higher likelihood of binding and elicited effects. Sometimes, hormone levels may be normal, but poor receptor sensitivity could be the cause of diminished sex drive.
3. Dopamine Increases Testosterone Production – It does this by increasing production of a hormone known as GnRH which then acts on the pituitary to signal the testes to increase testosterone production.
Symptoms of a Dopamine Disorder
If you have low dopamine levels, you are likely to notice its symptoms as they manifest overtly, affecting your satisfaction with life. If you check the boxes for more than one of these symptoms, chances are your dopamine levels are lower than normal:
- Lack of Motivation – If you constantly feel demotivated, or lacking the fire to go out and get things done, chances are dopamine levels may be subpar. One very popular way of increasing them is coffee (which we will discuss further soon), but another new therapy we recommend for motivation is found in CBD capsules.
- Lethargy – Along with a lack of motivation is the frequent feeling of being energy-less. The two share a close correlation and usually occur together.
- Reduced Mental Processing – This could range from poor memory, inability to function mentally at a high level, to confusion and brain fog.
- Loss of Interest in Sex – It was previously thought that a low sex drive with low testosterone levels, but even in the presence of normal androgen levels, sexual dysfunction is possible. It was later found that dopamine desensitization or low dopamine levels were the cause.
Dealing with Low Sex Drive
Now that you know that dopamine could be the cause of your low libido, how do you fix it? First and foremost, you should visit a specialist physician in the fields of urology and sexual health. A general practitioner is not equipped to efficiently deal with the issue, and may only offer a temporary “Band-Aid” to patch up the apparent symptoms.
Besides visiting the physician, there are a few things you can do today to start improving your dopamine levels:
1. Get Lean – It’s not news that obese men may suffer from low testosterone due to increased estrogen conversion, but there’s even more bad news. Studies have found that obese men also have fewer dopamine receptors and lower sensitivity for the neurotransmitter. Make it your priority to lose weight.
2. Reduce Calories – Though caloric reduction is not ideal for optimizing your androgens, but from the standpoint of maximizing dopamine production, it works great. Embedded into our primal DNA is the survival instinct, which the body activates when calories are lower than usual.
The result is a kick in the butt to amplify your “hunting ability,” and that usually comes in the form of increased motivation thanks to dopamine. Intermittent fasting works great so that you can have the best of both worlds.
3. Ice Down – Have you ever heard of the Dutch “Iceman” Wim Hof? Known for his superhuman feats in staying submerged in subzero temperatures, he boasts extreme endurance.
Though you are unlikely to exhibit the same level of strict body control, studies have shown that ice baths, or freezing showers, can increase dopamine levels over 250%, while simultaneously increasing caloric expenditure well over 300% in an effort to retain homeostasis.
Many high-level CEOs swear by cold showers first thing in the morning, as they testify to a superhuman boost in productivity during the hours after the bath.
4. Drink Coffee – Ever wondered why coffee wakes you up but also motivates you? You can thank its dopamine boosting effects.
An occasional cup of coffee (not chronic, three times daily) will nicely help increase dopamine receptor numbersin the brain and improves the action of dopamine of the receptors. Abuse never pans out, and has the opposite effect, explaining why breaks are needed following consistent caffeine usage.
5. Stay away from Porn – This one can never be overstated. Far too many men wreck their sex drive during their teens and early twenties by binge-watching and masturbating to porn.Porn, like many prescription drugs, take a familiar pathway in the brain resembling an addiction.
This is why, as years of consistent porn consumption ensue, a viewer must seek the “next high,” usually by hunting more extreme pornographic material. This keeps setting the degree of dopamine desensitization higher so that normal sexual stimuli in the real world (such as with one partner) becomes tedious and leads to diminished desire and erectile potency.
The Final Say
If you are a young man and are experiencing a disrupted sex drive, chances are your dopamine levels have been altered. Of course, be sure to have your hormone values checked, and if they are normal, start instituting changes to optimize your natural dopamine function. It may take a while, but it is necessary for you to regain a healthy libido and sexual function.
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In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com & Drjockers.com