By Andy Merrett
Jan 23, 2008
Low sex drive in men more common than the stereotype suggests
Men are always thinking about sex and would have sex all the time if possible.
That’s the basic stereotype of a man, always ready to have sex as many times as possible, right?
And yet, it seems that low sex drive amongst men is a far greater issue than that stereotype would have us believe.
According to recent research from the US, one in five men suffer with a very low sex drive, meaning that they find it difficult or impossible to have sex without the aid of medication. The figure for females is thought to be around 33%.
The main causes are attributed to stress, depression, shame, and anger.
Often, if a man feels let down or angry towards his partner, he will either withhold physical sexual relations, or his mindset will be altered such that sex becomes difficult.
It places an incredible strain on a large number of couples, and yet the shame that men feel means that they often won’t seek help. Perceived nagging from a frustrated partner only makes the matter worse.
Of course, sometimes there are obvious physical or medical reasons why sex is difficult or impossible, such as obesity, or certain drugs used for the treatment of diabetes or high blood pressure.
Prescribing pills such as Viagra may help the physical problem around 65% of the time, but do nothing for increasing libido.
“If you’re putting a man down, it reduces his sense of confidence, and with waning confidence comes a drop in sex drive,” says Scott Haltzman, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown University and author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women”
Shocked by a 2005 study she read in the British Journal of Urology that stated low desire is actually more common in men than in women — and more important, that it’s often misinterpreted as erectile dysfunction — Weiner Davis teamed up with Redbook magazine to poll 1,000 married women on the subject.
Sixty percent of the women surveyed said they want as much or more sex as their husbands. About 47 percent of high-desire women asked their husbands to get help, but only 19 percent of their husbands were willing to do so. (Of the 27 percent of high-desire men who asked their wives to seek help, 24 percent were willing.) Weiner Davis says she was most struck by how many couples in their 20s were struggling with the issue. Whatever the case, she found that the low-desire partner controls the frequency of sex in the relationship. Also, while performance issues and suspicions of infidelity made the list, the majority of women cited personal issues, stress and depression as reasons for their husbands’ lacking interest.
Sometimes, adding variety into a staid sex life can help men to regain sexual desire for their partners.
Communication – and sympathetic, understanding communication at that – is key to the whole issue.
Suggestions for working through these issues include:
- Check any medications to see if a possible side effect is diminished sex drive. Antidepressants and high blood pressure treatments can affect libido.
- See a doctor to rule out depression, vascular diseases and urological or neurological problems. They can all affect sexual performance.
- There is evidence that male obesity and erectile dysfunction are linked. If you are overweight, change your lifestyle.
- Consider counseling. If one partner refuses to go, the other should go alone. The relationship will still benefit.
- Have realistic expectations about marital sex. Research proves it’s not going to be what it was in the first few years.
- Broaden your definition of sex. Experiment.
From Inside Bay Area