In my last blog post, I discussed the issue of women and low sexual desire, a topic that is commonly presented in various media articles and forums. But what about men, do they ever have low sexual desire? According to the common stereotype, of course, the answer would be no. We all know that men are supposed to always want sex, to be always in the mood, always ready to go. But is that really true? In reality, many men–just like women–report interest in sex that varies over a lifetime. The men I see are frequently too tired for sex, have a hard time letting go of worries from the day or performance anxieties, or just have a difficult time getting in the mood. In some cases, low desire is a result of erectile difficulties or ejaculation difficulties.
Often times, when these men are able to relax, clear their mind and get into the moment then they enjoy sex. As discussed in the last post, what these men are experiencing isn’t low desire but merely a different type of desire that is less well known. The more well-known type of desire—the one that most people mean when they say the word desire—is spontaneous desire. Spontaneous desire is the one that hits you right away. Whereas these men are experiencing responsive desire, what might be described as more of a slow burn. Responsive desire builds up when you’re in a sexual situation, so long as you’re able to clear your mind of other distractions. Distractions such as thoughts of “I need to get up early for that big meeting”, or “I wonder if my erection will last”, or “My partner was in a foul mood this morning and taking it out on me and I’m still kind of pissed off about it.” Responsive desire will only develop if you are able to clear your mind of other thoughts and be present in the moment when you are starting to be sexually intimate.
If you have responsive desire or mostly responsive desire (some people have a mix of the two types of desire) what can you do to help improve your sex life? The first step is to acknowledge that responsive desire is just fine and can result in great sex! Knowing that you might not arrive to the sexual encounter already ready to go, but that the desire can build as the sexual encounter develops…just knowing that can help ease some of the pressures that men face in sexual situations. In our busy lives, it can also help to be intentional about carving out time for physical intimacy and ensuring that there is enough time for sexual desire to build, rather than trying to rush things. Finally, if you find that you’re having a difficult time clearing your mind of other distractions, seek out the help of a sex therapist—a specialized therapist with training in both couple therapy and sex therapy—who can help guide you through this process.