What makes men stop wanting intercourse?

09.12.2021 - Dana Wainstein-Oren

I have no doubt that this title will cause various reactions. Some readers will raise an eyebrow, but others may breathe a sigh of relief to know they aren’t alone with their situation.

A widespread view claims that men want more than women, that men have stronger libidos, that their thoughts focus more on sexual intercourse than women’s do, and so on. It creates a situation where men who don’t want intercourse are thought of as having something wrong with them.

I’m here to reassure you that men have feelings, their self-image sometimes gets hurt, and there are countless reasons that can cause them not to want intercourse. In all honesty, some of the reasons are pretty similar to those which cause women not to want intercourse.

The mental constructs on how men perceive intercourse, or more correctly, how they’re supposedly meant to perceive intercourse, create the difficulty so many men have in admitting this to themselves, and then seeking assistance.

Often the solution begins with understanding, first and foremost, that you’re as normal as anyone else. This is a great starting point for understanding yourself better. And if you’re the partner of someone who doesn’t want intercourse, or who has low libido, then beginning to understand the framework is the first step to healing.

Here are 4 typical reasons for why men stop wanting intercourse:

1) Problems with sexual functioning. If you’re experiencing some kind of functionality problem and you’re feeling uncomfortable to the point that you have trouble talking about it, treating it, or feel like you’re letting your partner down, this will usually develop into a sense of low self-esteem which in turn creates a situation of avoidance as a way of coping with the unpleasant situation.
Problems with functionality can manifest in difficulties with sexual arousal (and can sometimes but not always be linked to sexual attraction); erectile difficulties from initial erection to maintaining an erection, difficulty in reaching orgasm, or rapid / delayed ejaculation; pain; or discomfort following climax.

By the way, I’ve met men for whom rapid ejaculation is not a problem at all: it does not negatively affect their sexual arousal or desire for intercourse.

2) Stress. Tension and pressures can be caused by a broad spectrum of areas such as financial status, employment issues, problems with children or an expanding family, and so on. Stress does impact sexual functioning, and when that happens, sexual performance is added to the list of stressors.
When we experience stress, the body releases cortisol, a hormone that, among other things, reduces the production of sexual hormones. This in turn makes us feel a lower urge for sexual intercourse, and reduced sexual arousal. The body enters a state of “fight / flight / freeze” which is in fact a survival mechanism, and sex moves much lower on the list of urges our bodies want to fulfill.

Since men tend to speak about these things less, there’s a higher probability that stress is an influencing factor and you’re not even aware of it. If you’re under pressure, I truly recommend finding ways to reduce it through activities such as sports, meditation, masturbation, and if needed, treating the situation with professional consultancy.


3) Your partner does not orgasm. Women who don’t reach orgasm during sexual relations is a fairly well-known phenomenon but it can become a source of frustration for both persons involved. Some men take this personally, which reduces their libido. Other men interpret it as indicating they are not good enough in bed, and who’d want a partner for an activity they’re not good at? It is important to note that orgasm is not the goal in sexual relations. Rather, the individual’s and couple’s pleasure is, and when you’re focusing on pleasure as the target, I can assure you that orgasm tends to show up anyhow. J It’s also worth being aware that usually, you aren’t solely responsible for the situation: there are numerous reasons for why women may not experience orgasm, so let go of that feeling of responsibility. It is always worth talking to your partner about it, though, and looking for ways to resolve the situation together.


4) Criticism from your partner. An attitude infused by criticism can surface in many areas of life. At the gym I come across countless men who feel that nothing they do is “good enough” for their partner, that the partner always has some comment, points out something to correct. There’s a kind of general dissatisfaction and I don’t mean only in the bedroom.

Criticism pervades all areas of life: parenting, attitudes towards the household, relationships with the immediate and expanded family, the small things he does and how he doesn’t do them right, and of course criticism towards what he doesn’t do. “Why did you do X?” is one of the most critical questions around, and many use it without giving it much thought.

That kind of attitude simply creates antagonism and distancing towards the partner making disapproving remarks. Emotional distancing then manifests in physical distancing.

It is important to remember that no matter what the reason for reduced libido, even if it’s not among the reasons listed here, every problem does have its solution. You just need to be willing to take that step towards solving it.



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