Why should a man have sex

My husband doesn't want sex anymore - what's behind it?

Listless? When a man doesn't want sex

A man who doesn't want to have sex all the time seems to need some explanation: an anomaly, like snow in July. Sexual aversion in women, on the other hand, is often labeled "normal". In my opinion, behind the question of how it happens that men have no desire is a predominant, purely biological-medical understanding of sexuality - and a very depressed image of men. A closer look reveals a much more complex picture.

Listless through stress

If a man who was sexually active in the past no longer feels any pleasure at all for a long period of time - neither with himself nor with others, it may "just" have something to do with his current life situation. Maybe he's got a lot on his mind right now?

But it could also be an indication of health problems, such as depression. Because worries and stress naturally also affect men's sexuality. Some men use sex to relieve tension (which in the long term does not go down well with their partners and for whom "listlessness" creates), while with others stress is detrimental to pleasure.

How much sex is actually normal?

Does listlessness mean for the man: "Less lust than my partner"? In our relatively equal latitudes, the sexual appetite of men and women is roughly balanced. Men are often more demanding in their younger years, while women often want more sex later on. So it is perfectly normal for the woman in a relationship to have greater desires than the man. Just know that the person who wants more sex often struggles with not feeling wanted by their partner - while the partner with less desire complains that he or she feels pressured and can so yes develop no desire.

Sometimes listlessness also means: "Less than I suspect that it is normal." Given the ubiquity of sex in the media and advertising, it can seem like everyone else is having more (and more exciting) sex than us. But no matter whether seven times a week or just at Christmas - as long as you (both) are fine with your sexual frequency, everything is fine. There is no number that tells us how much sex is "normal".


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What role does porn play in sex fatigue?

Lately one reads more often that a connection between male "listlessness" (in this case the dwindling desire for partner sex) and the frequent consumption of online porn is suspected. Whether and how the consumption of porn affects men has not yet been thoroughly researched. Some claim that this "rewires" the male brain so that partner sex is hardly possible, while other studies have found no such effect.

Young men who have little or no experience of couple sexuality run the risk of taking porn at face value and developing completely exaggerated expectations of their partner and themselves. In my experience, adult men know how to tell the difference between pornographic fiction and reality in their own bed. In addition, I've never heard a man rave about his auto-erotic date with the laptop.


Our "Love Your Sex" podcast episode on the topic: A man speaks openly about his sexual aversion - listen!


From love sex to everyday life

Male listlessness can also arise because the transition from being in love to the next level is not easy for many and the (couple) sex decreases more and more or falls asleep completely. We get the love sex for free, so to speak - the couple and sex therapist and EMOTION expert Berit Brockhausen compares it with the starting balance of a prepaid mobile phone. The sex that comes after being in love needs more care, attention and discussion. The love affair ends at some point, but you don't throw your cell phone away just because the credit has been used up, Brockhausen rightly states.

A specific case: a baby comes, sex goes

With Lukas, a man in his early thirties, and his girlfriend Mia, it was a mixture of what I said so far. Lukas' own little company occupied him a lot, he sometimes struggled to put his head down in the evenings. Sex was now less important to him than it was before he started his own business, but they still slept together regularly. The sexual troubles began when Mia became pregnant. She enjoyed the pregnancy and the increased blood flow in her abdomen eroticized her. Lukas, on the other hand, looked at Mia's growing stomach with astonishment. He realized for the first time that sex had consequences, and the idea that her child's first impression of his father's penis was a deterrent.

Lukas refused Mia's erotic advances more and more, which hurt her deeply: He no longer found her attractive! Mia's offense persisted even after the birth and she watched Lukas carefully to see if he still wanted her. Her sexuality had become something troubled and Lukas had less and less desire for it.

In my practice, this is the most common reason for listlessness: The previously practiced couple sexuality no longer works due to changed living conditions and a new one has not yet developed, in fact the couple is not even aware that they can and must develop something new. Rather, you try to keep the old alive for a while, with waning success.

In this case, the men still have lust and satisfy themselves, only they have no desire to have sex with their partner. They don't necessarily tell her that. It's easier to say, "I'm not in the mood" than "I don't feel like having this sex with you". For the first one can put forward biological reasons, for the second one is responsible.

In the case of Lukas and Mia, the task for him was to be able to see his girlfriend as an erotic woman, even if she was now a mother. Mia's job was to address her self-doubts.


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Listless phases are normal

Whether it comforts you or worries you: Lustless phases, even with men, are part of every developing love relationship. You are often part of an adjustment process that almost never goes smoothly. It is a common mistake to believe that our sexuality is simply ready, a biological reflex, like breathing or digestion. Human sexuality has largely been learned: what excites us, how we excite ourselves, how we combine sexual pleasure and emotional closeness - none of this is innate, we develop it in the course of our lives. Sexuality must keep pace and change with our changing living conditions throughout our life. Listlessness can be an invitation to wonder where our sexuality needs to change and expand in order to fit in with our lives again.

Learn more about body psychotherapy and couples therapy at Marc Rackelmann: koerperpsychotherapie-berlin.de


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Would you like to know what you can do to meet your partner and increase his or her desire? There are seven tips in our article Listless Man.