Training and Libido - Real Talk

I’m so glad this thread has come up.

About 3 weeks ago i switched from Mid vol to High volume base and noticed a significant decline in libido. So much so, that i’ve actually gone back to Mid vol and i can see it recovering.

I thought it was just meee!

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Good to see this open and frank conversation: Thanks for startingit @Bthoffma A couple of things:

  1. there was a GCN video a few months ago about the effect of cycling on potential penile dysfunction, where a doctor explained, basically, it was not a risk, but other factors could be an effect. https://www.globalcyclingnetwork.com/video/is-cycling-bad-for-mens-sexual-health-gcn-talks-bo-cks Their videos can be a bit silly, but this was quite good.
  2. From the other side I have met female endurance athletes who tell me their menstrual cycles get disrupted and even stop, with the amount of training they are doing. So presumably they are experiencing hormonal effects. I guess this cuts both ways, but i have not heard many female cyclists chip in on this.
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“Baby, why did you wear the HR strap?”

“Estimating TSS. Would you call that tempo or moderate?”

Checks watch
“Race pace.”

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My personal experience with high training volumes has not been a loss of libido, but inorgasmia when fatigued. Essentially, the muscles tied to orgasm…basically that Kegel-like tightening of the pelvic floor…become as fatigued as everything ELSE and don’t want to work. Everything feels good, sure, but the sexual activity becomes a workout rather than a source of pleasure.

I can’t say my partner has complained, but she definitely feels as though she’s doing something wrong, which puts a strain on our relationship. This is frustrating and certainly leads to shrugging off sex on occasion.

For what it’s worth, I’m a fit 49-year-old.

Yup. Gonna chime in on the “decreasing interest as time goes on” part. I maintained the libido of an 18 year old well into my 30s, after which I noticed a fairly marked decline. It concerned me enough that I went to a urologist, who said that my overall testosterone levels were “good” but my free testosterone levels were “very good”, so it’s not necessarily biological.

So many other factors could be at play here: I’m pretty crazy when not medicated, so I have pills for lots of that, which can cause issues with libido, etc. I’m on the mid-volume plan, so I don’t think too much time in the saddle is the cause.

Still, it’s good to have this discussion started. It’s good to know that there are others dealing with this issue, and I’d love to hear if anyone has found a treatment that works for them.

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Not to get overly ‘blunt’ or ‘graphic’ here, but the quality of marital time is VASTLY improved because of my fitness – and I don’t mean we’re getting acrobatic or anything, I just mean that when I was unhealthy I lacked any sort of energy or stamina. Its just another one of the MANY areas where general fitness improves life – even if heavy training load decreases desire slightly.

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Most interesting conversation and a taboo subject for most, glad to see that there are others in the same boat and I’m not alone in this too.
I do notice a lowering of libido during training blocks but being in my mid 40’s kinda just accepted that’s the norm. Never thought training maybe another consideration.
Keep the chat going guys

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I’d like to add a my counterpoint experience (if anything just to say that all is not lost).
I’m 46 (4.3W/Kg) and have my busiest time ever in terms of training. I also feel, as others pointed, that I’m my best shape ever, much better than when I was half my current age.
I might be different to most reports here in two points. I sleep considerably less than average (from 10PM to 4AM; sometimes with a short nap during the day) and I feel that my libido, if anything, is getting better with training - even considering that I’ve been married for 15 years and have two kids (13 and 11yo). I know about all biological factors that might decrease sex drive in male cyclists (biomedical background) and most are quoted here correctly.
I wanted to add a few points that might explain the opposite (my case). I never had cardiovascular issues so I wouldn’t say that being highly trained now helps me from the circulatory side of things. Nonetheless, I feel very healthy and I guess that helps my feel sexy (for myself and my wife) and that obviously plays a huge role in attraction and libido in general.
In addition to that, my wife (41, 2.8 W/Kg) picked up cycling a couple of years ago. Not only I felt good for her (and feel really proud seeing how much she improved here fitness, which was already ok) but I also saw improvements in her shape as well. She started training harder, shed some weight, we both eat better and drink less (although I confess to loving beer, wine, bourbon, you name it, and still drink alcohol very often).
So, I described this because obviously libido (for people with a stable partner) is a two-way road. I can’t say my libido is high because I’m satisfied with my training and condition or if I feel even more attracted to her. Probably both.
That said, I think the only issue with training hard (if we don’t consider real stress from overtraining because that really is a medical issue) is not resting enough. I don’t need much sleep but my wife does. If we respect each other’s requirements I don’t see hard training as necessarily a libido-decreasing factor, quite the opposite.

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It’s really not a good sign for women’s menstral cycle to stop through training. This has happened to me when I was under weight and I was constantly getting I’ll. It can lead to bone density issues also.

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Appreciate your frankness Bullseye. :slight_smile:

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Really appreciate your joining the conversation, as it’s an issue that can and does affect any athlete and anyone in a relationship with an athlete!

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I always find it humorous when people say they “bonked” on the bike. In the UK the word bonk also means having sex.

In company with friends they were quite shocked once when I told them I went for a bike ride but I ended up bonking really hard!!!

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:heart: on a :biking_man:
:wink:

Please do not kink-shame, here, sir :angry:

EDIT: I mean, why the hell else would I have bought a tandem?!

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If it makes anyone feel better, please know it happens to women too. I find if fat macros are low or body fat is low for extended periods of time, it really messes with hormones. Plus fatigue and lower T levels. This is very common in body building as well when bf lower than recommended. Every thing goes on the back burner when you are focused on a goal and our bodies are way smarter than we are.

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My wife’s sex drive directly correlates to the amount of expensive triathlon-related deliveries I get sent to the house - negatively!

Seriously though, stress in all forms - physical or mental - can take its toll. You can’t always have your cake and eat it.

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We’ve actually done this. The wife prides herself on HR zones during…

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22 and I feel a lower sexual appettite than I used to which is in part GOOD cause I’m single and I haven’t much time and desire to meet girls, so It’s more bearable not having much
sex, lol.

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I’m amazed this hasn’t been posted, yet:

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Is riding in the drops OK?

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