"What the heck?" is what women ask me when they call wanting to know if I can help them with a husband or partner who has little or no interest in sex. Of course, like most people, they have bought into the myth that the male partner always has more desire than the female partner, or that their partner is weird for not wanting sex.
In writing my new book for therapists on how to treat sexual problems, here is what we know about low sexual desire in men: very little. While pharmaceutical companies have been chasing after the magic elixir that would make women want sex, generating lots of research, interest in men with low desire has been almost non-existent.
In my practice in Orange County, CA I have observed the following reasons for a man's lack of interest in sex:
- Undiagnosed depression
- Undiagnosed low testosterone
- Other sexual problem, like premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Aging and associated decrease in sexual activity
- Myths about sex ("A man should always feel like initiating sex")
- Medical problems and chronic pain
- Last but not least, relationship problems and poor communication
Often, there is a combination of factors, like erections not being as hard as they once were, as well as a lack of intimacy in the relationship. Even men who are treated for low testosterone don't always get their drive back. If their partner is hypercritical about their lack of interest, that doesn't help, either.
What to do about low sexual interest? An assessment is the first step to creating a treatment plan. Once a sex therapist like myself identifies the problem, there are usually several things that can be done to improve a couple's relationship when a man loses interest in sex.