For many women, emotional closeness is an essential prelude to sexual intimacy. So problems in your relationship can be a major factor in low sex drive. Decreased interest in sex is often a result of ongoing issues, such as:
Desire usually (but not always) wanes with age. In general, sex drive decreases gradually with age in both men and women, but women are two to three times more likely to be affected by a decline in sex drive as they age. Reduced sex drive becomes much more common in women starting in their late 40s and 50s. The effect of age also differs by individual: some women experience a big decrease in sexual desire beginning in their midlife years, others notice no change, and a few report increased interest in sex at midlife. Those women whose desire increases may feel liberated by their new freedom from contraception or by newly found privacy if their children have recently left home.
Causes of decreased desire are complex. Scientific studies have consistently shown that about one third of US women report low sexual desire or interest, and that this low desire is troubling to about one in three of those women.1,2 The upshot is that about 10% of US women are troubled by having low sexual desire. While a troubling lack of desire can affect women of any age, it has been reported in studies at a higher rate (12%) among midlife women (ages 45 to 64) than among women 65 or older (7%) or women younger than 45 (9%).1
Interviewer: We're talking today with Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones. She is our expert on all things women. And, Doctor Jones, we got an email today from one of our listeners and she asked, her husband or her boyfriend, she just said partner isn't feeling anymore for sex. He's not interested. She knows she is normal, but is he normal?
Dr. Jones: Okay, as a woman gynecologist, I'm not sure about my standing here on this guy thing, but as a reproductive endocrinologist, a specialist in infertility and hormone problems, the issue comes up in my practice. So let's get to the "is he normal" part. Remember, we talk about "not normal" as being what is experienced by less than 5% of people. Not normal is sort of like not very common. Women and men have the unrealistic expectation that when it comes to sex, men are always ready, willing and able, but population studies suggest that about 20-25% of men said that they are not interested in sex at some times. And that would make your man normal, meaning lack of interest in sex is common.
Now, lack of interest is more common in women than men, with about 40% of American women saying in the past year there was a period of at least two weeks when they weren't interested in sex. Now, when it comes to men and women, there is no normal when it comes to the frequency or interest, as the range is all over the map. So we can use a decrease in interest or libido as a decrease in what the man had experienced before. So the causes of decreased libido in men are largely the same as in women. And let's go through some of those.
Number two, stress. For men and for women, the stresses of daily life cloud the brain and you have to have a pretty empty brain to be completely focused on sex. Depression is also common in men and women and can be a major suppressor of sexual interest.
Number five, poor body image. Women understand this, but men can be affected by body image issues that make them feel somewhat insecure. Yes, guys can be insecure and that may decrease their interest.
In the United States, 26 percent of women 15 to 44 years of age who had ever married chose tubal ligation for contraception. Studies on how this procedure affects sexual activity and satisfaction have given mixed results and generally have involved too few patients to allow reliable conclusions to be drawn. Costello and colleagues used data from the U.S. Collaborative Review of Sterilization to study the impact of tubal ligation on sexual interest and pleasure.
Data were available on 4,576 women for two years following planned interval tubal ligation. The majority (75 percent) were 35 years or younger, had completed high school (82.8 percent), were married (63.9 percent), and were white non-Hispanic (65.8 percent). Sexual interest was reported to be unchanged by 80 percent of women. Overall, 18.3 percent reported increased sexual interest, with the greatest increase reported by white women (20.1 percent) and those who had attended college (20.4 percent). Decreased sexual interest was reported by 1.7 percent of all respondents, with the highest rates among women who had never married (4.2 percent) and those with fewer than 12 years of formal education (4.2 percent).
A multivariate analysis of several clinical and other factors associated with sterilization showed that regret about the procedure was the only factor associated with a poststerilization decrease in sexual pleasure or interest. Of the 147 women who reported regret, 6.8 percent experienced decreased sexual interest, and 5.6 percent had decreased sexual pleasure. Even in this group, the vast majority reported no change (86.4 percent for interest and 88.8 percent for pleasure), and increased and decreased interest or pleasure were reported equally.
The authors conclude that the majority of women experience no change in sexual interest or pleasure after interval tubal sterilization. Those who do report change are more likely to report positive rather than negative changes.
If the spark in your relationship seems to have fizzled, you're probably wondering what happened. Why did your partner lose interest in intimacy? Did you do something, or is there a problem between you? Or could it be possible that her dampened desire has nothing to do with the state of your relationship, and that she may be experiencing female sexual dysfunction? With a better understanding of women's feelings about sex and intimacy, you could help rekindle her desire.
Your interest in sex may change when you have kidney disease or kidney failure. At first, you may have less interest in sex. This can happen because you need a lot of energy to cope with the physical and emotional changes brought on by your illness. In time, your interest may return to normal.
Emotions can also affect sexual functioning. This includes stress, depression, nerves, fear of disability or death, marriage problems, and much more. For some people, having kidney disease may cause physical changes that can make them feel less attractive. This can also affect sexual interest. Couples who find that their sex lives are changing should talk to their doctor or social worker. Many of these problems can be treated.
Feeling worried, anxious, or depressed is normal when faced with a serious loss such as kidney disease and kidney failure. These emotions can cause loss of energy and lower interest in many activities, including sex. If a sexual problem does occur, embarrassment and guilt often follow. Fear that the problem will happen again may cause the person to shy away from sexual situations. Relaxation exercises can help to control these fears. Regular physical exercise and activity help keep the mind busy and can improve physical condition and body image. If sexual problems continue, sex therapy can help. Even if the problem is psychological, some of the treatment options mentioned for physical problems may be helpful.
Sex therapy deals with the sexual problems of couples and individuals. The first step in sex therapy may be sexual education for the individual or couple. The therapist may assign activities to be done at home. These include communication exercises, stress reduction activities, and practicing ways of improving skills in giving and receiving enjoyable touches. Sex therapy can help with problems such as low sexual interest, trouble in reaching climax or reaching climax too soon, pain during sexual activity, and erection difficulties. Therapy also can help a person work through the effects of chronic illness on sexual functioning.
Are the results from a recent BMJ Open study really that surprising? A survey of 6,669 British women and 4,839 British men who had at least one sexual partner in the previous year found that 34.2% of the women and 15% of the men reported lacking interest in sex. So much for the belief that every relationship is perfect all the time.
Of course, what happens in Britain doesn't necessarily represent what is happening in the rest of the world. However, there's a decent chance that loss of interest over time is occurring in relationships in other countries. After all, anything that can be gained can also be lost. The questions then are why is this happening and what can you do about it? Ignore it is probably not the right answer. When you or your partner are not interested in sexy time, it may keep sending the same negative, "I don't find you attractive," message to each other. Instead, ask yourself the following questions:
However, be careful about finding too many other excuses for loss of sexual desire beyond what is listed above. You can go a long time suppressing and explaining away why you are not getting what you really want. Talking with some of my recently divorced friends has revealed that the intimate portions of their relationships disappeared years before they legally separated. It's common to stay in relationships well beyond the point where you instinctively realized that the other person wasn't right for you. This of course wastes your time and the other person's. Loss of interest in sex can be like a canary in a coal mine for a relationship. Take it seriously. Talk about it, and see if there is a fix. If the cause isn't temporary or readily fixable, it can be the first sign that you are not really meant for each other. Don't fear the unknown or being alone. Moreover, your odds of finding someone who is a better fit are likely better than 1 in 285,000, and you don't really need Giants season tickets.
It is common knowledge that sexuality changes over time. But still, low sex drive, regardless of its prevalence, can be a cause of concern for men and their relationship. Identifying causes why men lose interest in sex may give you the insight to help get your sex life back on track. 2b1af7f3a8