6 Reasons Why a Man Doesn’t Want to Have Sex
A suffering sex life can make even the most confidant man feel rotten, regardless of his relationship status. Letting the issue persist for too long is just going to take a toll on you and your partner, so lack of intimacy is something you should take seriously. Take a deep breath because identifying that something’s amiss is a step in the right direction.
Whether it’s you or your partner who’s lacking the desire to be intimate, it’s important to realize there are many explanations for why. We spoke to Paul Nelson, clinical sexuality educator at Maze Men’s Sexual & Reproductive Health and president of the Erectile Dysfunction Foundation, to get a better understanding of what may be going on. Sex school is now in session.
1. Men aren’t always in the mood
The belief that males think about sex every seven seconds is quoted so often, many think of it as fact. According to Nelson, this myth “is one of the worst lies that society has perpetuated.” He also said men are likely to feel, “if somebody wants to have sex with them and they don’t want to, they can’t say no.”
Some studies have even disproved the statistic, like one from 2012. The researchers’ results indicated male subjects thought about getting busy just slightly more than females, but the same was true for thoughts of food and sleep. Furthermore, the team hypothesized some of the reports may only have shown this difference in sexual thoughts due to cultural expectations.
Timing also plays a critical role. It’s an unspoken rule that late at night is when couples should become intimate, but it’s rarely the optimal time for men. “In a way, nighttime is the worst time for men to have sex because their testosterone is lowest,” Nelson said. Some research suggests hormone levels may drop as much as 25% from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That can spell huge implications for your sex life.
2. Functional issues
Often a source of embarrassment for men, erectile dysfunction is relatively common. One of the most often cited studies indicated 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 have difficulties of some sort. That’s not to say younger men can’t have issues, though. And the inability to achieve an erection is just one of many problems.
For a lot of men, maintenance is the issue. One 2006 review published in the International Journal of Impotence Research reported 30% of males worldwide experience premature ejaculation, which can be terribly embarrassing. Fortunately, it’s not a set-in-stone condition. Nelson explained, “There’s tons of medical treatment for that; you just have to go to a doctor.”
But maybe the more important thing to consider is sex doesn’t have to mean strictly intercourse. Nelson said, “If you have premature ejaculation, you need to look at intercourse as the final wrap-up of the whole event.” Be a little more creative with the types of things you do in bed, and you may be surprised what you end up enjoying the most. Even if you or your partner gets to the finish line a little earlier than expected, there’s no reason to call it quits. “This idea that a guy ejaculates and then sex is over is just ridiculous,” Nelson said.
On the flip side, some men experience delayed ejaculation, which is when they struggle to achieve an orgasm. It’s not as common, but it can be hugely stressful for men if they’ve been trying to no avail for upward of an hour. Some scientists suggest it’s largely a psychological phenomenon, and Nelson agrees, saying any type of distraction can lessen your ability to climax.
If delayed ejaculation is a problem for you or your partner, remind yourself that an orgasm shouldn’t be the only goal for either of you. “Many people have wonderful, incredible, fulfilling sex without an orgasm,” Nelson said. “You don’t have to have an orgasm every time.” Instead, focus on what feels good and having fun with each other.
Also, never underestimate the effects of alcohol. Livestrong explained alcohol causes the blood vessels to expand, which means achieving and maintaining an erection is incredibly difficult.
3. Low testosterone
Though low testosterone ties into erectile dysfunction, it deserves its own category. An insufficient amount of this hormone definitely contributes to physical function, but it can also lowers libido. If the actual desire has diminished, it’s time to see a medical professional. Nelson urges men to seek out specialists. “Going to a family doctor for low testosterone is a mistake because they tend to be more conservative,” he said.
On the plus side, there are a lot of treatments for guys with low testosterone. Options include patches, gels, injections, and pellets. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also one of the keys to maintaining adequate testosterone, so getting enough physical activity will make a difference.
4. Underlying medical conditions
Various drugs and medical conditions have implications for male sex drive just as they do for women. For medications, the most common offenders are treatments for high blood pressure and antidepressants. Always talk to your doctor about potential side effects before starting something new in order to avoid surprises.
Anything that compromises your health can also spell disaster for the bedroom. Nelson said thyroid issues wreak havoc on libido, as does carrying around too many pounds. “If you’re overweight and out of shape, you’re going to be out of breath and too tired,” he said. And changes in sexual function might even be an indication something’s wrong with your health. “One of the first signs of diabetes for many men is erectile issues,” Nelson said.
Believe it or not, even your sleep habits can impact your sex life. One recent study found men with sleep disorders, particularity sleep apnea, were more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than those without these condition.
5. Stress and anxiety
Starting a new job, losing your current one, or feeling nervous about an upcoming presentation can throw your stress levels through the roof. It can also tarnish your sex drive, as suggested by some studies. Sex itself may even be the source of stress for some men.
Psychology really comes into play if a man is feeling inadequate in the bedroom. “The more problems a guy has, the more the stress levels rise and that stress and adrenaline prevent an erection,” Nelson said. “So it becomes a vicious cycle.” This means something that might only have been a one-time problem could grow into an issue that hugely affects your sex life.
Even if a man with such high anxiety still physically feels like having sex, he may find himself too afraid to go there. “Instead of looking like a fool or suffering, they just withdraw any sexual activity or even any physical contact,” Nelson explained. His advice? Don’t take sex so seriously. “Stop performing. Start playing,” he said.
6. Lack of communication between partners
No one is a mind reader in their professional lives, so it makes sense this extends to the bedroom as well. If partners don’t spend any time talking about likes, dislikes, and opportunities to shake things, the experience is going to be disappointing for both of them. Nelson said, “Guys who are not experienced lovers need really explicit instruction, hopefully from their partner and not from a book.” Even guys who do have a fair amount of experience need to maintain open communication since everyone’s preferences are different.
If you or your partner aren’t enjoying things the way they are, address it in a constructive way. “Always put things in the positive,” Nelson recommended. “If you say, ‘That’s wrong. I’m not enjoying it. That’s not good enough,’ anyone is going to quit.”
Also consider there may be something wrong with the larger relationship. If you’re having trouble connecting with someone sexually, it could signal lack of trust or feelings of neglect. In these cases, you may need to schedule an appointment with a relationship counselor.