When Your Man Doesn’t Want to Have Sex

Temma Ehrenfeld  @temmaehrenfeld
January 20, 2016  | Last Updated: January 19, 2016

Sometimes it’s like the Wall of China has grown up in your bed. Night after night, he doesn’t reach your way. 

Some men turn off when they’re having erectile issues. It may help both of you to know that they’re common. About 20 percent of adult men report being bothered by episodes of premature ejaculation and similar numbers or more say they’ve had problems with erections. Rule out medical causes, including heart trouble. As I mentioned in my last blog, obesity can lead to ED, so losing weight could help. Beyond meds for ED, you could try sex therapy, which typically lasts no more than nine sessions.  


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Do you know what’s going on with him at work? Men with work problems are nearly twice as likely to report sexual issues in the last year. They comfort themselves with more alcohol, caffeine, or drugs, all of which can affect sex drive and performance. If he’s worried about getting fired, can’t cover the bills, or is unemployed, his pride is smarting. You can go out of your way to show appreciation and admiration, but some men will feel worse if they think you’re babying them.

Express gratitude as much as criticism and be sure not to belittle him in his presence. Complaining when he’s not around may be helpful for you up to a point — but he may notice subtle signs if your friends and family lose respect for him. 

You’ll read that men get addicted to porn and develop an inability to have erections with flesh-and- blood partners. The science isn’t clear: men who watch a lot of porn may be hotter for their actual partners. And giving your man ultimatums isn’t going to build his confidence or trust.  

Psychologist Gail Gross points out a number of emotional scenarios that make men withdraw in bed. You may have let your relationship turn into watching TV and doing chores and he’s bored. He may be angry with you. Maybe you’ve gained weight and he believes you are taking him for granted. He may think you need better hygiene (painful to hear but an easy fix), or that you’re too critical. He could be attracted to someone else and feel guilty with you. He may have problems with intimacy that surface because, ironically, your relationship has grown too deep and he’s feeling vulnerable. 

If he’s lost interest in sex and you also noticed he’s stopped laughing at your jokes, he may be depressed, or your relationship may be in trouble. One strategy is to pretend that you’re dating again and return to the kinds of things you did when you first met. Start talking. Take more time to romance each other, with small kindnesses and touching that isn’t intended to lead immediately to sexual intercourse. Try joining him in one of his activities that you usually ignore. Make sure you’re laughing at his jokes. 

Testosterone levels naturally go down with age, but the decline varies from one man to another, and men show symptoms at various levels, the Endocrine Society reports. Again, obesity is a risk factor for unusually low testosterone. If he’s also lost body hair or his testes are small or shrinking, he might get his testosterone checked. Younger men who are infertile, suffer from arthritis, or have type 2 diabetes, should ask for a test. 

A careful doctor will take several tests before prescribing testosterone, most commonly administered through a patch. The supplements do help many men feel more desire and manage erection issues, but at the price of increasing their risk of heart problems or prostate cancer.  

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