Desire discrepancy – where one partner wants sex more than the other – occurs in most long-term relationships, as couples juggle the demands of work, family and doing life together. Although it may typically be the woman who is the low libido partner and the man the high, it can just as readily be the other way around.
Irrespective of who is affected by low libido, when desire discrepancy occurs for long periods, the high desire partner can feel rejected, lonely and detached from the relationship. He or she can react by becoming hurt and angry or by seeking sexual affection elsewhere. Neither choice is good for a happy relationship and positive sexual and emotional health.
Low libido in men is a relatively common problem, with an estimated 25 to 40 percent of men experiencing low sex drive at some point. Despite this, the issue remains one of the hardest for men to acknowledge and talk about, as faulty stereotypes present men as always ‘raring to go’ sexually and women being the ones more likely to suffer from loss of libido. Sex therapists report low libido is one of the most common reasons couples seek help with their sex life.
Sex therapist Matty Silver was overwhelmed with responses when she wrote about the stress low libido causes in relationships. In her article, she noted a man’s sex drive could fluctuate for all the same reasons as a woman’s. “He could be stressed, unhappy, or tired because of having to work long hours. There can be lifestyle issues such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, or the use of medication for depression, high cholesterol and diabetes.
“Men don’t always realise these issues can affect their sexual functioning. If they suddenly experience erectile problems or premature or delayed ejaculation, they can become very reluctant to have sex.
“Women often don’t realise that erectile problems can be due to health problems – rather than desire – and can take a partner’s avoidance of sex personally. They question whether they are attractive to their mate any longer or if someone else may be involved.”
Sexologist Elaine George agrees that the most common sexual issue she sees with couples and singles is low libido. Often it is the man who experiences a loss of sex drive. “Blame achieves nothing,” says George. “Women need to realise that this is not about them, even though their self-esteem and self-worth suffers. What's important to know is that the problem is almost always fixable.”
And it’s important to note that low libido is not the same as erectile dysfunction. Low libido is not wanting sex. Erectile dysfunction is wanting sex, but not being able to complete the act.
Deciding whether you suffer from low libido or not depends on how satisfied you are with your current sex life, and with life generally. The definition of low libido is subjective, according to sex therapist Dr. Louanne Cole Weston. “If a man is concerned about his low sex drive, or if his relationship is stressed because his partner is complaining about not getting enough sex, there could be a problem. It's about compatibility, rather than the number of times a week the couple has sex,” she says.
One couple she counselled had sex twice a year; once at Christmas and once on his birthday. They were both happy with the arrangement but were worried there was “something wrong with them”.
Says Dr. Weston: “We went through it all and found they didn't really want to change. Their true joy lay in doing what they were doing together in their laboratory. Sex was not a high priority for either of them. They were real cerebral types.” After a couple of sessions, they realised they were both happy and there was no need for change.
Many of the medications prescribed for midlife health problems like depression, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure are identified as reducing sex drive. WebMD says the side effects of such medications are the number one cause of low libido in men. Drugs that cause low libido in men can include:
Financial downturns hit men's jobs the hardest and the stress of losing a job, of redundancy in mid-life, and working longer hours to secure your future take a heavy toll on a man’s mind and body. Traumatic events like a job loss can reduce testosterone levels dramatically and add the equivalent of ten years of physical aging in just a few months.
The temptation to ‘self-medicate’ stress by increasing alcohol or drug intake can have disastrous results. Doctors suggest drug and alcohol consumption may be a bigger cause of low sex drive than the stress itself.
A drop in testosterone affects sex drive. Hormonal imbalances after the age of 40 can also result in an increase in estrogen, leading to weight gain and further reduction in libido.
Chronic illness – particularly diabetes and heart disease – can result in low libido in men.
Women underestimate the impact financial or job stress has on a man's sense of well-being, suggests bestselling author and Today show and Oprah regular Michele Weiner-Davis, author of The Sex-Starved Wife, What To Do When He's Lost Desire. Low libido is men's best-kept secret, she suggests in a Time magazine interview.
She suggests other personal issues could also impact on a man's desire, including a childhood history of sexual abuse, or if he grew up in a dysfunctional family and has low self-esteem.
One of the myths of male sexuality is that nothing gets in the way of their sex drive; they'll want to have sex at any time and in any place. The reality is that many men are as affected by underlying unresolved relationship issues as women are.
Many men need to feel emotionally connected to feel sexual. And nothing turns off a man quicker than a critical, nagging wife. Author Nigel Marsh received a hot response when he complained many men were ‘sexually starved’ because their wives used sex for power in the relationship.
It’s important to understand that low libido can be treated and it’s worth doing something about. If you are suffering from a loss of libido, take stock of your situation, talk to your doctor and your partner, and make a checklist of things you can do to start taking control and getting the joy of sex back in your life.
Herbal Ignite for Men is an over-the-counter dietary supplement taken daily with food to increase men’s health and libido. Its formulation works to:
The three key herbs in Ignite for Men – Tribulus Terrestris, Horny Goat Weed and Avena Sativa – have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to rejuvenate men’s sexual and hormonal health. The herb Tribulus Terrestris, in particular, has also been found to naturally boost testosterone levels and is available in capsule form in herbal supplements like Herbal Ignite.
Herbal Ignite has been used successfully by thousands of men in New Zealand and Australia to increase testosterone levels and boost libido and sexual satisfaction. It also relieves stress and fatigue and improves energy levels and confidence. It has a potent herbal formula that works over time to help resolve the underlying causes low sex drive in men and, in particular, low testosterone levels that result from aging.
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Disclaimer. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and does not substitute for the advice provided by your medical professional. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.
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