Clients often come to see me because one partner has lost sexual desire, while the other still hankers after more regular sex. Common perceptions maintain that women’s sexual desire is usually the first to go in a long-term relationship, but lately the numbers seem to be evening up. More and more, men are claiming that they are less interested in sex than their partner. So why do men sometimes lose sexual desire?

Stress and lack of sleep

Times have certainly changed. We live a fast paced life, with masses of information constantly flowing our way. Many men lead busy lives and are expected to achieve and advance continuously. This leads to stress and limited time for relaxation. The stress response is not conducive to feelings of sexual excitement and arousal. Due to this, a lot of men find that they are lacking interest in sex. Without time to wind down it becomes more difficult to place sex high on the agenda. Short spells of relaxation could change this significantly, as will getting enough sleep. Taking time to take care of yourself may change the way you feel about sex and intimacy.

Changes with ageing

We all go through physical changes as we mature. It is a fact of life, and sadly, one that seems to be quite unpopular. With the fervent quest for eternal youth so prized in our society, accepting the ways in which our body’s change becomes more difficult. So, men who begin to notice that their erections are not as strong as they once were or that they take a little longer to become aroused, may find themselves berating or judging these changes. The quickest way to lose interest in sex is to believe that you are inadequate sexually. Cultivating acceptance around your maturing body might allow you to feel more comfortable with the changes, which may in turn increase your desire to become sexual.

Concern about sexual dysfunction

As mentioned above, stress and ageing can result in altered arousal and sexual excitement. For a man who has never experienced a change in their sexual functioning, this can be quite scary. Almost every man will experience some incidence of either; losing erection or ejaculating too quickly or too slowly, just to name a few. Allowing these events to impact on future sexual experiences could lead to decreased sexual confidence, potentially leading to sexual performance anxiety. Remembering that you can’t get it right all the time and allowing your body to respond as necessary could lessen the impact of these situations. Remember that it is normal for sexual changes to occur without attaching too much meaning to the event.

Mental health concerns and medications

Depression and anxiety often effect sexual desire. The addition of medications to treat such conditions may impact libido. A significant side effect of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications is decreased sexual interest. The combination of depression and medication could significantly reduce sexual interest. Understanding this could lead to different ways of achieving arousal, such as increased sexual creativity or even simple patience with yourself.

Understanding reasons why men may lose sexual desire could alter how it is perceived. Rather than seeing it as a failing, compassion could be all it takes to increase sexual interest. While there may be medical reasons behind loss of sexual desire in men, it is also important to consider the reasons above. If you or your partner are struggling with sexual desire, seeing a qualified clinical sexual health counsellor could make a big difference.