Brier Jirka is a sex therapist with the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center. She blogs every other Tuesday for livewellnebraska.com. Read more from Brier here.
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How many women out there think that men always want sex or only ever think about sex when it comes to having a relationship? And how often are women portrayed as “not being interested” or thought of as having more than enough excuses to keep their partners at bay?
These ever popular misconceptions just aren’t true. Sometimes it’s the male partner that is struggling with his libido, and in our culture, a male’s sexuality is a big part of his identity.
The issue we often hear about is erectile dysfunction, which although technically separate, can play a large role in low desire. When treating erectile issues we often see that a low libido can be caused by ED and visa versa. This is because similar factors can affect both – whether it’s a testosterone deficiency or psychological issues.
Many of you ladies are probably thinking, ‘Pshh, that is not my husband.’ But this is a serious issue that affects men of all ages. Our society puts pressure on guys to feel they must be ready for sex at all times, so it’s hard for them to admit when the issue comes up. But it can’t be treated unless it’s addressed.
In Michele Weiner Davis’ book “The Sex Starved Wife,” she found:
- 30 percent of women say they have the higher desire in a relationship
- 2/3 of today’s couples experience desire issues
- 1/5 of couples say it’s the male who has the low desire.
- When I first meet with a couple or a patient facing this issue, we examine we examine the root of the problem.
Medical factors can include:
- Hormone levels – testosterone is the desire hormone
- Acute or chronic issues such as diabetes, heart conditions, etc.
- Prescription or recreational drug use
A thorough evaluation by your primary care provider can help rule out any of these or provide the necessary treatment if needed. When looking at psychological factors, we consider if the patient is:
- Suffering from depression or anxiety
- Dissatisfied with their partner and intimacy expectations
- Feeling unloved, unappreciated, or if conflict is present
- Scared of closeness or has past issues of abuse
Then we move on to the healing phase and develop a plan to help the patient/couple move forward in their sexual relationship.
- I encourage the couple to start talking about the problem as “we” and “our” – not “his”
- I help them to clearly define their intimacy goals.
- I ask that they simply change one thing when it comes to being intimate. Doing so can have a domino effect.
- I also speak about simmering. This refers to those times when you have sexual thoughts. Instead of pushing them away, stay with the thought for a few minutes. Allow yourself time to think about it. This may just provide answers to what you want sexually.
Remember, a low libido has so many variables, and it needs to be taken seriously in our male population. So lades, next time your partner says he’s not in the mood, don’t roll over and get upset. Talk about what’s going, express your feelings and thoughts, and tackle the issue together.
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