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Healthy Males Have High Sex Drives — But Today’s Men Don’t

Doctors today don’t even necessarily know that the patients they’re seeing are testosterone deficient.

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A conservative fitness influencer went viral in December for sharing what he’d learned over eight years of working out: “If you’re not horny, you’re not healthy.”

The simple comment from Jack Bly garnered nearly 80,000 “likes” on Twitter and nearly 9 million views.

One week prior to the post, which has since become a mantra of Bly’s brand, Japanese research published in the journal PLOS One seemed to prove his point. In a study of more than 8,500 males conducted by scientists at Yamagata University, researchers found men with low libidos were far more likely to suffer an early death.

“Our study suggests that lack of sexual interest is associated with all-cause mortality in males, even after adjustment for age, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, smoking, alcohol intake, BMI, education, marital status, frequency of laughter, and psychological distress,” they wrote. “Based on our results, we suggest that lack of sexual interest itself contributes to an increased risk of all-cause mortality, independent of established risk factors in men over 40 years old.”

The authors blamed reduced sex drives at least in part on poor lifestyle habits, from gluttonous diets to smoking.

A new commercial out for an erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, then, should leave most men scratching their heads. An attractive couple discusses how the man in the relationship is struggling with intimacy.

“About three years into dating, Zach tells me he struggles with erectile dysfunction, and that he takes a medication for it,” says Cleo Abram, a Vox reporter-turned-YouTuber who is married to Zachariah Reitano, the founder of Roman.

Reitano started the men’s health company after years of struggling with a heart condition, which he shares in one of the company’s first ads. The company sells medication that allows men to get it up with the pill.

Reitano isn’t naive, however. He knows why many of his customers rely on his medication.

“It’s never a condition in and of itself,” Reitano told Inc.com in 2019.

It is always a symptom. It can be the symptom of poor lifestyle habits. So, smoking, drinking, lack of sleep, stress. But other times it can frequently be the first sign of a far more serious underlying condition: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the associated obesity and depression.

Judging by the guy’s appearance, it’s hard to say he’s not eating or exercising right. But far too many men on this medication are likely hooked on it as a Band-Aid to their underlying problems. Modern medical elites make far more money treating symptoms than curing what causes them.

Men Today Aren’t Healthy

Estimates on the prevalence of erectile dysfunction vary widely. According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, about 52 percent of men aged 40-70 experience some kind of erectile dysfunction, and “complete impotence tripled from 5 to 15%” from age 40 to 70.

But the issue is not just how many men have erectile dysfunction today, it’s how many young men have it. The condition is becoming more common among males under 40. Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2013 found that 26 percent, or more than 1 in 4 men under 40, suffer from new-onset ED.

The rise in erectile dysfunction has also coincided with the rise of easy access to free digital porn. Study after study shows porn consumption is linked to men’s issues, from getting erections to getting divorced. One clinical research paper published in 2016 found that men who seek help for ED may have been desensitized by the “hardcore internet pornography” available at the tip of their fingers. Another paper from European researchers published in 2020 found that men with high scores of porn addiction were far more likely to have erectile dysfunction.

Other reasons for erectile dysfunction can vary from poor lifestyle habits to chronic conditions, the latter of which are often a consequence of the former. Men today certainly aren’t as healthy as their fathers. They’ve become fat, depressed, and apathetic while hooked on cheap dopamine hits through Netflix and porn.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, a whopping 43 percent of men were categorically obese in 2017-2018. And while men make up nearly half the population, they represented 80 percent of suicides in 2020. Today, more than 7 million “prime working age” men have dropped out of the labor force.

Many blame lifestyle habits and a demoralizing culture for the growing prevalence of erectile dysfunction. But Dr. Keith Nichols, a certified member of the American Academy on Endocrinology and CEO of Tier 1 Health and Wellness in east Tennessee, blames the epidemic of ED and just about every other crisis facing men today on plummeting testosterone levels, which have dropped by double digits since the 1980s.

“[We’re seeing] increased morbidity across the board with low testosterone,” Nichols told The Federalist.

Falling Testosterone Levels Present a Calamity

It’s no secret that male sexual function depends on testosterone levels, which have been falling consistently for the past four decades. Last fall, researchers at the University of California San Diego concluded that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) alone significantly raised men’s baseline sexual desire in hypogonadal men, meaning men who are hormone deficient.

Another study published in 2021 by a team of European, American, and Israeli scientists found testosterone therapy linked to better metabolic health, sexual function, mobility, bone density, and quality of life while lowering depressive symptoms.

“[Testosterone deficiency] may influence not only the quality of life in men, but also the life span,” they wrote. In other words, testosterone is a key ingredient to longevity. Their findings might explain why the aforementioned Japanese researchers last year found that men with low sex drives were more likely to die early.

Testosterone levels, however, are falling across the board with each generation, according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Follow-up findings connected the generational drops in testosterone with weight gain and accelerated aging.

Falling testosterone levels threaten fertility, which is already in decline as sperm counts sink. Doctors today, however, don’t necessarily even know the patients they’re seeing are testosterone deficient.

In 2006, a trio of doctors at Harvard Medical School conducted a survey of the reference values used in more than two dozen labs for analyzing men’s testosterone levels. The highest end of normal ranged from 486 to 1,593 ng/dL. The lab ranges are based on the averages of other men in the same population, which have declined with each generation. In 2017, one of the nation’s largest lab services, LabCorp, recalibrated its reference intervals from 348-1,197 ng/dL to 264-916 ng/dL, a dramatic drop.

Nichols warned that the new ranges give the false impression that men within a range considered “normal” today are safe since baseline testosterone rates have continued to fall. “It’s not that men need less, it’s that they’re producing less,” Nichols said. “The averages are based on poisoned men.”

Castration by Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

Nichols says it’s the modern population’s chemical exposure that has left today’s men hormone-deficient.

“All this decline has correlated with the increase in environmental chemicals,” Nichols told The Federalist. “We are being chemically castrated by our environment.”

Nichols pointed to a series of studies finding that chemicals commonly found in plastics, personal hygiene products, and our processed food supply interfere with healthy endocrine systems. In 2010, Swedish researchers outlined how “EDCs [endocrine disrupting compounds] of natural or anthropogenic origin may cause deleterious effects on male reproduction and fertility.”

“The mechanisms of their adverse actions may be diverse,” they wrote, “but one important end point is reduced capacity of Leydig cells to produce androgens,” referring to the male sex hormones that catalyze puberty and regulate reproductive health.

Another study in 2014 from the University of Michigan connected phthalates found in plastic with reduced androgen levels. And in 2015, Italian researchers raised the alarm on common chemicals including phthalates and BPA on male reproductive health.

“Reproductive effects after developmental exposure to mixtures of environmental EDCs have been observed both shortly after birth, in puberty, and in young adulthood,” they wrote in a paper published by Frontiers in Environmental Science.

“There’s no getting away from this. We’re already past being able to fix the problem,” Nichols told The Federalist. Children born today are “exposed to chemicals from the time they’re conceived.”


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