By Jennifer Goldberg | Best Health Mag
Why does he turn down sex?
When it comes to sex, men are ready to go at any time, right? Well, not always, says 29-year-old P.J., an online producer from Toronto. “It’s rare that I don’t want to have sex, but the times I will say no are when I’m thinking about something intensely and I can’t pull myself out of it,” he explains.
Not even a surprise birthday visit from his girlfriend wearing lingerie could pique his interest one time when he was deep in thought. “I was feeling pensive and I didn’t want to be outside of myself. And with sex, you want to connect with somebody,” he says.
It may be difficult to imagine that a healthy heterosexual man would turn down a woman wearing a thong. However, P.J. is far from alone in this situation, says Vancouver-based sex therapist David McKenzie. “In the last two years, I’ve noticed more clients of mine than before are men lacking the sexual desire and it’s the women who are initiating sex,” he says.
If your partner is turning down your advances there’s probably a good explanation for his lack of interest—and it likely has nothing to do with how he feels about you. Here are some common reasons why men say no, and what you can do to get him back to say, “Yes!”
1. He’s suffering from depression
“Clinical depression is one of the biggest killers of sex drive in men,” says McKenzie. Men of all ages, even teenagers, may experience much lower sex drive when they’re struggling with this mood disorder.
What you can do: “Remember that clinical depression is a physical illness and not a character weakness,” says McKenzie. There are plenty of online resources available to help you and your partner better understand depression and how it can affect your relationship. (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, for example, has some tips on how to cope.) The key here is patience, especially during treatment—while antidepressants are very effective in treating depression, they can also contribute to low sexual interest. Your partner may want to speak to a doctor, however, if he notices that treatment is severely interfering with his sex drive.
2. His testosterone levels are low
“When a man gets to be over 40, his testosterone levels begin to decrease,” says McKenzie. “If this happens mildly over time, then a man will gradually lose his sexual prowess. But sometimes males can lose testosterone very rapidly.” This condition is sometimes referred to as andropause and comes with symptoms that include loss of energy, depressive symptoms, and low sex drive.
What you can do: Low testosterone is a physical condition that can be treated by a physician. If you suspect your partner is experiencing some of the symptoms associated with andropause, suggest he ask his doctor for a testosterone test to determine if low levels are to blame for his lack of desire.
3. He's got trouble with the plumbing
Though erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are common problems, says McKenzie, a man who experiences these difficulties may withdraw from his partner for fear that she’ll be disappointed or think that he’s less of a man.
“It’s hard on a man’s self-esteem to not be able to perform in bed,” explains David, a 28-year-old musician from Toronto. “Growing up, guys always talk about being a player and being able to perform well sexually. It’s part of guy culture.”
What you can do: This can be a difficult subject to discuss with your partner, but don’t avoid the issue, says McKenzie. A problem left untreated could result in resentment between partners down the road. Approach the situation very delicately, David advises. “Start by saying, ‘You know I love you no matter what,’” he suggests. “Don’t make a big deal out of it or make him feel like it will affect your interest in him as a partner if he can’t make it happen.”