Men's health

Have you lost your “mojo” lately?

Mojo refers to a magical charm bag used in voodoo, which has transmuted into a slang word for self-confidence, self-esteem or sex appeal. (ref Wikipedia free encyclopaedia)

Austin Powers was searching for his lost mojo in Mike Myers’ 1999 film entitled “The Spy who Shagged me”.

As we head towards Valentines Day and into the romantic month of February, many people are telling me that they feel that their mojo has been buried under the city rubble, along with their homes, business, hopes and dreams. It has been replaced by feelings of depression, stress, anxiety and weight gain.

Sex appeal, sexual drive and libido are all important motivators for the formation and maintenance of intimate relationships in both men and women. While not everyone wants to form intimate relationships for those that do the loss of sexual drive can be quite devastating to their overall health.

Factors contributing to loss of libido

Environmental stress

Such things as bright lights, elevated sound levels have been found to reduce libido. To this Cantabrians might like to also add the stress of coping with 9,000 odd earthquakes;  liquefaction; broken buildings, pipes and toilets.

Physiological factors

Physiological factors such as the lack of privacy or intimacy, stress or fatigue, distraction or depression can also reduce sex drive. Talk to parents who have had to share their beds with children terrorised by the aftershocks or families who have had to move in with friends because they live in the red-zone and you can see thoughts of romance evaporating.

Relationship issues

These can arise due to poor communication. Failing to talk over sexual needs and preferences with a partner, unresolved disagreements, infidelity, or conflict can all take it’s toll. Anger often follows grief and loss and it uses up the energy needed to fuel passion. If this affects you it may be helpful to ask your doctor for a referral to a counsellor so that you can acquire more skills to reconnect with one another

Physical factors

In men, libido could decline in cases of hypothyroidism, cancer, diabetes and erectile dysfunction while for women being iron deficient, underweight or malnourished can reduce sexual desire.

Both men and women may experience a loss of libido following surgery or when suffering from major health conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, or infertility.

Hormone Irregularities

These can be important for women  at times such as immediately following childbirth or hysterectomies. It is estimated that half of women experience vaginal thinning, tightening, dryness and atrophy as they go through menopause and oestrogen levels decline. Women also experience a change in sexual desire depending on their menstrual cycle with many women noting a heightened desire for sex in the several days immediately before ovulation when their testosterone levels are rising. Following ovulation when testosterone is falling and progesterone levels increase many women experience difficulty achieving orgasm. It is important to discuss these issues with your doctor if they are becoming a problem.

Lifestyle issues

These can also be associated with the disruption of hormone balance. Smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse as well as sleep deprivation and a lack of exercise can all decrease ones sexual desire.


Some medications can reduce libido such as hormonal contraceptives, SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and other antidepressants, anti-psychotics, opioids and beta-blockers. So do talk to your doctor if this concerns you.

How do these things impact on your nutritional health?

Energy is the key

It is very difficult to be happy when you are tired. Eating well provides the energy to cope with stressors of any sort and will also help you to make better decisions and to keep in shape. See our articles on Brainfoods and Is stress making us fat? for more information.

Concentrate on building healthy relationships.

Try to support one another. See our articles on Simple ways to improve men’s health and Be wary of saboteurs for more information

Talk to your doctor

If you suspect that your health or medications are spoiling your sexual pleasure then discuss this with your doctor. Particularly if you are wanting to start a family. Also see our article on Nutrition for healthy contraception for more information.

Try to get more exercise.

Exercise can help to reduce tension and can help you to maintain a healthy shape. See our article on Tips to move you off the couch for more ideas.

Concentrate on having sufficient sleep

Sleep deprivation will rob you of the energy that you need to cope and will alter the hormones that regulate weight and libido. See our article on Sleep affects nutritional well-being for more detailed information.

Try cutting back on your alcohol intake

While the odd drink can reduce stress and calm the nerves this can quickly change and lead to depression and lowers sexual performance. See our article on Warning signs of excess alcohol for extra help.

Valentines Day comes but once a year. We trust that these ideas will help you prolong the loving all year round. If you would like to discuss these ideas further then do contact us for an appointment.

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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