Men Get the Low Desire Blues Too
As this recent article on men’s experience of low sexual desire points out, women are not the only ones who suffer a lack of desire in their relationships. We see men in our practice suffering from low sexual desire for a number of reasons.
Can’t Come Through with the Goods
One of the main reasons we see men experiencing low desire that is talked about in the article is the fear that they won’t be able to perform. Usually they will say something like, “I don’t want to initiate sex if I’m not going to be able to come through with the goods.” Because they fear they won’t be able to get or maintain an erection or control their ejaculation, they start to distance themselves from their desire altogether. Of course, it is difficult to tell which comes first, it may be that men who have low desire have trouble getting an erection or it may be that erectile difficulties cause men to shut down their sexual desire – the answer is likely a reciprocal relationship and that a negative downward spiral is created as a result.
When we work with men who have sexual dysfunction, we teach them that there are many ways to come through with the goods and that, more than just a hard-on or a lasting session of intercourse, what many women want out of sex is to feel some kind of intensity and emotional connection. Once men accept that there are many ways emotionally and physically to come through with the goods without ever having intercourse at all, they can get back in touch with their desire.
If at First You Don’t Succeed (and then again, and again, and again), Eventually You Might Stop Trying
Another reason that’s not covered in the article is a long-term experience of rejection. This feeling of rejection may come from a lack of confidence when approaching women or from the experience of being with a partner who has low sexual desire. If a man makes pass after pass after pass only to feel rejected over and over again, his desire will start to wane and can even shut down completely. Generally, at the same time he also builds feelings of frustration and negative self-image.
When we see men who are dealing with feelings of rejection and incompetence, we help them in a few ways. One is to see if there may be some things they are doing that are increasing their likelihood of rejection. We help them learn how to seduce and erotically connect with their lovers and partners. Second, we help them get back in touch with their desire as something inherent to them that no one can take away, and help them see the ways that their partner’s rejection might not be personal or about them at all. Third, if their partner is willing to come in, we help them work through differences in desire, share openly about their sexual needs, and learn how to be great lovers to one another.
Lack of Attraction to Their Partner
As this article points out, some men never had or lose attraction to their partner over time and this can cause low desire for men in long-term monogamous relationships with a partner to whom they aren’t attracted. The loss of attraction can be due to familiarity or changes in their partner’s looks or body. Many times, men do not want to lose their long-term relationships because of the many wonderful aspects in the relationship, but have lost attraction to their partner. We have had many men confide in us that they no longer have or have never been attracted to their partner. They feel very stuck because they feel like communicating this would be devastating and, at the same time, they are not interested in sex.
For some men, this lack of attraction can shift by becoming more embodied and connected with desire that has less to do with visual stimulation and more to do with embodied arousal. Another option that some couples choose in this situation is to try non-monogamy, outsourcing the sexual part of the relationship in order to be able to enjoy a lasting and supportive long-term emotional bond.
Low testosterone can also lead to men having lower desire. While many men who have low testosterone immediately jump to taking testosterone replacement therapies, which can have some nasty side-effects, there are actually ways to build your testosterone naturally, including getting more in touch with pleasure in your body, masturbation (sometimes without orgasm), and lowering shame. To find out more about natural ways to build your testosterone, read our blog on The Big T.
And Many More…
Other reasons include emotional shut-down, exhaustion, chronic pain and other desire-inhibiting medical conditions. When we work with chronic pain, what seems to help the most is learning to focus the attention on the pleasure as opposed to the pain. And, of course, there are many ways that we work with emotional shut-down to get people to allow themselves to feel their bodies, their emotions, and their desire again. As for exhaustion, learning how to care for yourself is a life-long process. Everything you do affects you in all areas of your life, so the more you eat right, rest, take breaks, exercise, nap, take vacations, breathe, etc. the more desirous and healthy you will be!