For many people, there is a feeling of exuberance and freedom that comes on the first real day of spring, when you step 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 days of winter can bring with them the feelings of heaviness and sadness. You bundle up or stay inside as protection from the cold and often feel less connected to your body and your partner as a result. While you know that 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 options to make things better.
Seasonal Depression (aka Winter Blues) is Treatable
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) sometimes called seasonal depression, is a type of mood disorder where people experience feelings of low motivation and increased sadness in response to the change of the seasons. Most commonly, the feelings of depression come during the autumn and winter months, but some people may experience them during spring and summer instead. Symptoms feel more intense and last longer than just the “winter blues.” While the causes of this annual pattern are not well understood, most studies point toward decreased exposure to daylight disrupting the body’s “biological clock.” Light therapy is often recommended as the first line of treatment along with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications.
Low Sex Drive is a Common Symptom of SAD
That decrease in motivation that comes with SAD can also mean less interest in sex. That image of cuddling at home under a blanket during winter, leading to lots of babies being born nine months later is a nice thought, but many guys report feeling sexier and more turned on by their partners during the warmer months. After all, we all want to have “hot” sex! A strong evidence base supports the idea of daily variations in testosterone levels, and you might expect that the science would also point toward annual cycles with lower levels of testosterone in winter. However, the science is inconclusive. Researchers do not consistently find that men have lower levels of testosterone during the winter. Instead, the evidence points toward BMI, diet, and exercise being more directly correlated to testosterone levels than time of year. In addition to lifestyle changes, the antidepressant medication Bupropion (trade name: Welbutrin) is often used to treat symptoms of SAD with much less risk of sexual side effects than other classes of antidepressants.
Still unsure? Take Our Low T Quiz to check your symptoms.