6 Reasons Men Say No to Sex
Are you getting turned down in the bedroom? Don't worry, it's not about you. Here are six reasons your partner might not be having sex, and what you can do about them.
By Jennifer Goldberg from Best Health Magazine | December 2008
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Why does he turn down sex?
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 saying, “Yes!”
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1. He’s suffering from depression.
“Clinical depression is one of the biggest killers of sex drive in men,” says sex therapist David 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 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. “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.”
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4. He’s stressed out about his career.
Worrying about work can be a real mood killer for many men, especially
if they tend to equate professional success with self-worth. “It’s the
times when I feel like I’m going nowhere and accomplishing nothing in my
career that I will spiral into a negative place and I would say no to
sex,” David explains.
What you can do: Discuss the situation away from the bedroom. “Right
before bed isn’t always the best time to engage in a deep conversation,”
says David. Instead, mutually decide on a good time to chat about
what’s going on in his life. Ask if there’s anything you can do to
support him through a stressful time, but be clear that his demanding
job is taking a toll on your relationship.
5. He’s exhausted.
Chances are, if your partner says he’s too tired for some late-night
nookie, he’s really exhausted. “If I’m a little tired, I’m usually up
for it,” says David. “But there are times when I’m just so dead to the
world I’m physically incapable [of having sex].”
What you can do: Don’t take it personally. According to McKenzie, about
98 percent of the men he counsels would say that their lack of sexual
interest has nothing to do with how they feel about their partners. P.J.
concurs. “It would be a turn-off if my partner were to make the issue
about her, because then I would feel guilty on top of being exhausted,”
he says. Rather than acting hurt or angry, set the stage for a
conversation about what’s going on in his life to make him so tired. But
if the problem persists for more than six weeks, it’s time to consider
getting help from a therapist or physician.
6. You’re moving too fast.
If a new man you’re dating turns down an invitation to “come upstairs
for a nightcap,” he could be trying to tell you that he’s not ready to
sleep with you yet. “There’s a lot of emotional involvement that comes
with having sex with somebody,” says P.J., a 29-year-old online producer. “How do you get skin to skin
with someone you don’t know?”
What you can do: Slow down—this could be a sign that the guy wants to
get to know you better before getting physical. Take the declined
invitation in stride and remember that, despite what your father might
have told you before the prom, guys do have more than one thing on their
minds. “We’re emotional beings too, and we want more than just sex,”