Why do men stop having sex?

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Why do men stop having sex?

As a sex therapist, a question that I get asked quite often is: ‘why do some men stop having sex??

‘In the beginning of our marriage we had great sex and lots of passion and then he changed. Where did his desire go? Why does he not want me anymore?’

So we are talking specifically about those men in long term relationships, who had an appetite for sex to start with and then all of a sudden stopped being interested in sex. Besides medical reasons for this drop in libido, such as depression, sexual dysfunctions, and certain medications, there are a few additional ones that seem to pop up in my practice.

Sometimes a man changes his sexual behaviour as soon as he marries, because the woman is no longer his girlfriend, or someone to share what he secretly, even unconsciously, considers to be illicit sex. Now she is a wife, and sex is suddenly sanctioned and not exciting anymore. This is also referred to as the Madonna/whore syndrome, where men see women as either hotties or homemakers, but never as both.

Then there are some couples where pregnancy is the end of all passion. Some men perceive pregnancy as a sense of impending responsibility. Others have a strong fear of becoming a parent, and therefore tend to avoid sex. And then there is the sex act itself. There is the fear of hurting the baby or the whole idea of having sex in the presence of the unborn child can be of putting for some.

Additionally, we have the sexless stepfathers, the tremendous responsibility of suddenly becoming stepfathers of their wife’s children is enough to shut some men down sexually. This can be particularly true of men who have no prior experience in parenting, the anxiety and sense of responsibility can be a libido killer.

In this day and age, there seem to be more and more men who are passionate virtual or cyberspace lovers. They masturbate in front of the computer and get caught in the net. This can also be a reason that there is decreased passion in the real world; with their wife in the bedroom.

Other men may have perfectly normal libidos, but psychological issues prevent them from having a close and intimate relationship with their loved one. Most of these men tend to have experienced some sort of abandonment, rejection, desertion as a child.  So for them preventing to allow real intimacy, works as a self-defence mechanism; he loves his wife so much, but he can’t possibly risk losing her, so he protects himself by avoiding a fulfilling sexual and intimate relationship.

Then we have the asexual or homosexual man, who marries because he wants love, companionship, social status, acceptance, and family, but not sex. These men, as well as men with lower than average libidos, would tend to have little or no sex very shortly after marriage, or even before. Women may notice that these men are truly wonderful in other ways, but they are just not very passionate. It is important to note however, that homosexuality is an unlikely, but possible, answer to the question of why men stop (or never start) having sex.

Last but not least, a lot of men seem to be angry at their partner, or they seem to have this build up rage. The ultimate intimacy killer is really resentment and anger towards your partner. They use this anger as a first line of defence against intimacy and commitment. Others might withhold sex as a punishment. However, the anger can be very justified, but unless these men confront their anger and work through it, the sex will not get better.

What can we do about it?

In the ideal world, low-sex people would find each other. They will then end up with a loving compassionate relationship and the occasional passionate and sexual encounter and they will not have a problem with it. We are then talking about matched libidos. But, as we all know, this is often not how it works in the real world.

Lots of couples ask themselves; why is this happening, which one came first, the anger build up, the resentment escalation, or the faded passion? Who is the guilty party? Who lost their libido first? It is important to realise that WHY or WHO really does not matter, what matters is to end the cycle of blaming one another. Take responsibility, talk openly and honesty, and listen, really listen to your partner with respect and love.

This then brings me to discuss the fact that many men claim that sex is predictable, boring and unadventurous, but says who? Do these men really want to spice it up and to what extreme? Well, sex in a long-term relationship is probably never going to be as frequent and as delicious as it once was and if that is what you are after you can forget about it. However, this does not mean that sex has to be boring and unadventurous. Even without the initial passion and excitement, sex can still be extremely satisfying, fun and a regular part of life.

The key really is sensitive communication. Ask your partner what feels good for them and tell your partner what feels good for you in a sensitive way. And really listen and take into account each others needs.

Dealing with changes in libidos, feelings of rejection, and in turn relationship issues can be very distressing and talking about sex can often be difficult or very sensitive. A sex therapist or relationship counsellor can assist you in making changes to your sex life and bringing the passion back into your life.

As I always say:

Noticing changes in desire?
Take control and bring back the fire
A sexless marriage is something from the past
Cause you want your relationship to last

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