Why Doesn’t Your Husband Want to Have Sex? by E. Bernstein
May 12, 2018
Despite the conventional wisdom, sometimes it’s the man who loses sexual desire
Contrary to conventional wisdom, sometimes it’s men who first lose sexual desire in a long-term relationship, a new study finds.
Men’s desire for sex can be as tricky as women’s, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky.
Men often lose interest when they feel insecure, when they worry they are losing autonomy in a relationship, or when physical changes cause embarrassment. Pressure to be the initiator compounds the stress.
“We expect male desire to always be high and to be simple, like an on and off switch, while we expect women’s desire to be a complicated switchboard, but they are both complex,” says Kristen P. Mark, associate professor of health promotion and director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky and the lead researcher on study, a broad look at men and women that analyzed 64 studies on sexual desire since the 1950s.
Psychologists say desire in both sexes ebbs and flows. And it’s natural for it to decline after the heady honeymoon period, which typically lasts about 18 months to two years. Still, almost 80% of married couples have sex a few times a month or more…
Women do lose desire more often than men: Research shows that about one out of three women – regardless of age – report a lack of interest in sex for at least several months in the past year, compared with one in five men, according to Edward Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, who has studied sexual desire and dysfunction for 25 years. But experts say thta men are often reluctant to talk about sexual troubles, so the problem may be more prevalent.
Dr. Mark’s research, published in March in the Journal of Sex Research, found that the reasons for a drop in desire generally fit into three main categories – individual, interpersonal and societal. Some issues, such as stress, a drop in self-esteem or changes in their attraction to their partner, affect both men and women.
But men’s desires also wanes for different reasons. Men have trouble when they expect their desire to always remain high, and it does not, or when they fail to make their relationship a priority. Sometimes men’s desire drops when a couple has sex for negative reasons – to avoid a fight, for example – rather than positive ones, such as to increase intimacy.
Men also feel pressure to always be ready for sex and to initiate it.
There are often physical issues, as well. A man’s less-efficient blood flow as he ages, diseases such as depression, or medicines for issues such as high blood pressure or mood disorders can all hurt a man’s sex drive.
And these physical changes can cause emotional distress. Embarrassment is a big issue for men who have trouble getting or maintaining an erection, and so they may stop initiating sex. “For the guys who don’t like to do what they don’t do well, there will be avoidance, because they feel ashamed,” says Michael A. Perelman, co-director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Human Sexuality Program.
Unlike women, men often lose interest in sex when they are unhappy or insecure, Dr. Laumann says. Stress about a promotion, worry about a child, the transition to retirement “all undercut a man’s sense of his abilities and prowess,” he says.
And sometimes the problem does stem from the relationship. Sex can become routine in a long-term marriage, or the partners grow apart. A man may harbor resentments, often about money. Or he may de-eroticize his wife. “He sees her as a good person, mother, supporter, but not as an exciting love,” says Barry McCarthy, a psychology professor at American University.
Is the relationship doomed when a man – or a woman, for that matter – loses interest in sex? Not necessarily.
… there is a possibility that a decrease in desire for your partner may indicate that the person is no longer right for you, says Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist… You may have grown too far apart, or your goals, values or interests may have changed.
…. But often the problems an be solved. This will require talking, the experts say, and it’s important to do that before it is too late.
… Both partners should ease pressure by accepting that men, not just women, don’t want sex all the time.
[From the article’s side bar]:
What To Do When A Man’s Sex Drive Flags?
[excerpts – this is not the complete list from the article]:
Have reasonable expectations.
Don’t buy into the stereotype that says men are always ready to have sex.
If the male partner is reluctant to go, the woman can suggest he talk to the therapist on the phone.
Have the woman initiate.
Often couples have a “sexual script” where the man always initiates. The woman can take some of the pressure off him by starting the interaction.
Do nonsexual things together.
Take up a new hobby, try a new cuisine, ride a roller coaster.
Be nice to each other.
Kind partners desire each other more, research shows.