For many people, there is a sense of exuberance and freedom that comes on the first real day of spring, when you go outside in shorts and a t-shirt for the first time in months and the warm sun hits your skin. On the other hand, the longer, darker winter days can bring feelings of heaviness and sadness with them. They bundle up or stay inside as a protection from the cold and often feel less connected to your body and your partner. While you know the spring feeling is only a few months away, the vitality and interest in sex that comes with it seems so far out of reach. Many men experience changes in their mood and libido during the winter months and there are a variety of ways you can do things better.
Seasonal depression (also known as winter blues) is treatable
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as seasonal depression, is a type of mood disorder in which people feel less motivated and feel more sad in response to the change in seasons. Depression is most common in the fall and winter months, but some people may experience it in spring and summer instead. The symptoms feel more intense and last longer than just the “winter blues”. While the causes of this annual pattern are not exactly known, most studies suggest lower exposure to daylight, which disrupts the body’s “biological clock”. Light therapy is often recommended as the first line of treatment along with psychotherapy and antidepressants.
Low sex drive is a common symptom of SAD
That decrease in motivation that comes with SAD can also mean less interest in sex. The image of snuggling under a blanket at home in winter and giving birth to lots of babies nine months later is a nice thought, but many men report feeling sexier and more excited from their partners during the warmer months. After all, we all want to have “hot” sex! A strong evidence base supports the idea of daily fluctuations in testosterone levels, and you might expect science to point to annual cycles with lower testosterone levels in winter too. However, the science is inconclusive. Researchers don’t always find that men have lower testosterone levels in winter. Instead, the evidence suggests that BMI, diet, and exercise correlate more directly with testosterone levels than with time of year. In addition to making lifestyle changes, the antidepressant bupropion (trade name: Welbutrin) is widely used to treat symptoms of SAD with a much lower risk of sexual side effects than other classes of antidepressants.
If you are concerned that SAD is affecting your sex life, contact us for a free telephone consultation.