It’s time to talk about why he wants less sex than you.
The sex stigma that surrounds relationships usually points in a direction that sounds like ‘I’m
not in the mood’ or ‘I’m too tired.’
At the forefront of people’s minds, many assume that men are the ones who initiate sexual
Dr. Sarah Hunter Murray is a Registered Marriage & Family Therapist with a Ph.D. in Human
Sexuality and the author of “Not Always in the Mood: The new science of men, sex, &
“Current heterosexual gender norms suggest that men are the ones to initiate sexual
activity while women act as the gatekeeper who says yes or no”
“However, my research and clinical experiences suggest that it is not at all uncommon for men to have the low or decreased desire, and almost all men find themselves in times where they don’t really want to have sex, whether that is because they are tired, sick, or feeling emotionally disconnected from their partner” she adds.
Being told no to a woman can be damaging for both self-confidence and self-worth. Men
seem to take it better as that tends to be the stereotypical norm in heterosexual relationships.
“Women initiating sex and men saying no to her advances goes against the grain and thus can leave both partners feeling less than optimal” Sarah says.
“For the woman, she can be left feeling that her partner is not attracted to her or that something is wrong with her relationship”
It is quite understandable for sex to become less and less, later in the relationship. The
pressures of life like having kids and maintaining a working career can very easily take its
the toll on a couple’s sex life.
Without these pressures during the honeymoon stage, having less sex can lead to alarming
concerns and result in damaging effects.
“If it happens somewhat regularly, the woman may project her concerns by criticizing her male partner, questioning his sexuality and/or his masculinity” Sarah adds.
For women both young and old, this can lead to many unwanted thoughts such as guilt, shame, and the feeling of rejection.
Talking about the impact of rejection,
Sarah also states,
“Some women can retreat, feeling emotionally bruised from being sexually rejected and pull away from initiating sex as well as being receptive to their partner’s future sexual advances.”
Times Are Changing
The national Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) found that high school students within
the US are having less sex today than in previous decades. From 1991 – 2017 sexual activity
has dropped from 54% – 40%.
This, of course, will be a delight to both parents and educators, but this may highlight the fact
that young couples are becoming less sexually active.
Reasons for this may consist of the overuse of social media and digital distractions like
pornography and Netflix.
To put it simply, staying in seems to be less stressful than going out and mingling with
potential sexual partners.
By creating these habits early on, it’s possible they may stick around even during a
From a woman’s perspective, these issues can be more alarming because being rejected by the
the guy is not the traditional flow.
As Dr. Sarah Hunter Murray puts it “going against the grain.” When this circle of unhealthy sexual rejection begins, it can easily lead to an ongoing issue of inactivity.
“ Some women can also retreat, feeling emotionally bruised from being sexually rejected and pull away from initiating sex as well as being receptive to their partner’s future sexual advances.”
Experiencing sexless encounters during the time when the hormones and chemicals are
flowing nicely will leave both partners feeling frustrated, no matter who is to blame.
When discussing sexual issues early on in a relationship, she says
“I think it should ring alarm bells. It’s not a good sign in the early stages of a relationship when a man is not interested in you physically.”
Aside from not being in the mood, other factors may play a part
“Before you get too perturbed, check if performance anxiety plays a role” she adds.
Another reason could be the convenience of pleasing themselves and not their partner
“Some men get used to meeting their needs alone without the work of meeting the needs of a partner and get a bit lazy,” says Julie.
She also mentions the everyday grind of maintaining a working career
“I think quite a lot of young people prioritize work, which at one level is very admirable but sometimes to the detriment of their relationship.”
A common issue for Julie during her practice has been the constant need for males to achieve
their pleasures in other areas, away from their partner “women are often coming to me
complaining that their partners are not interested in sex or can’t maintain an erection.
I think that’s due to excessive use of porn and whilst I have no moral judgment about such an
activity, when it becomes too compulsive and relied upon, that visual stimulation of the
synapse in the brain create the neural pathways to need that sort of stimulation and this can
be destructive with a real live sexual situation” she says.
This issue is just another digital distraction that the current generation of young adults is
Unfortunately, in many cases, convenience overtakes effort and intimacy.
On the flip side, experiencing these issues early on gives a couple of time to deal with them
without the many life distractions that come later in life.
Digital distractions are a common factor when dealing with young couples. It is important to
take that onboard along with other potential problems.
“I do think that we need to have a screen-free time. Even when you’re watching television,
people can have their iPad or phone on their lap, madly typing away or seeking connection with others on Facebook or other outlets,” she says.
“The distraction of screens is a real barrier to emotional intimacy and that is a real barrier to sexual intimacy.”
A good start is putting away the phones, focus on each other, and let nature takes its course.
A Lockdown to Discover
With the current situation of Covid-19, couples are spending more time together. For some, it
can be a great opportunity to really discover each other and work out their issues. For others
it may be damaging, giving the lack of space they may or may not have.
It’s important to see what changes no matter how little, can be done for your relationship.
Like what Julie highlighted “distractions of screens are a real barrier” so let us keep them to a
If the love and attraction are thre, the rest will follow.
If not “Get clear of it before you invest too much” Julie adds.
“Perhaps having a bubble bath and a glass of champagne before getting
back out there is what’s needed.”
Richard Young is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Originally from Ireland, he moved overseas in 2015 and began his writing journey. Through traveling and living overseas, cultural and social differences are a go-to-topic, as well as the social changes throughout multi-cultural countries.