Why Men Don’t Always Want Sex


Believe it or not, men are not always in the mood. Sex educator Ken Melvoin-Berg helps turn this unfortunate situation into an opportunity for exploration and fun.

This is a touchy subject, but I don’t feel like having sex all the time anymore.

Surprise! I’m getting older. Soon I will be 44 years of age. I am into alternate sexual practices; I’m in an open relationship, BDSM, and have multiple sexual partners. I should always be in the mood, right? Wrong!

My sexual appetites, extreme as they may be, don’t run the marathons they used to when I was 18. However, my primary partner, Sunny, has not only peaked, she is climbing Mount Everest. This article is written from the perspective of an ethically non-monogamous man who digs chicks. Although I was born as the gender I identify as, don’t ever make the mistake of calling me a cismale, it’s an insult to me (I’m working on a future article explaining why I don’t like that term). No matter the gender or sex of your partner, you may find things you can relate to in this post.

On the physical side of things, erectile dysfunction, hypertension, diabetes, medications, and a host of other medical conditions can be a mood and boner killer for those of us with dicks. This article deals primarily with the psychological reasons men don’t want sex. If you suspect a medical issue, go see your doctor.

So what’s a dirty old man to do when the mood isn’t arriving as easily as it has in the past? The first thing to do is fucking relax. You are not the first person on earth to not feel like doing it all the time.


Identify the Root Problem 

Not being in the mood is nobody’s fault. It does not mean I don’t find my partners super sexy and irresistible as hell. Sometimes I’m stressed. Sometimes I have an aging body with a decline in sexual desire. Sometimes it’s Thursday and I don’t want to fuck.

Getting your libido in sync with your partner’s is a psychological thing first and foremost. Weight gain, self esteem issues, financial pressure, and lack of communication are the most common sources of tension in any couple. Knowing this is half the battle.

For example, if you are living from paycheck to paycheck, and are stressed about it, a good partner may want to have sex with you to relieve the tension. But in a lot of cases, especially with men that are primary providers, this may be the last thing they want to do!

Identifying the principal source of psychological discomfort can be hard, humiliating, and cause more tension in the short term. Digging deep and discovering the true issue is very comforting and can lead to a better, more communicative relationship.


Communicate How You Feel About the Situation 

Talking can help. Actually sit down and look for a way to best communicate why you feel the way you do. Sometimes we can figure this out in counseling, other times it may be as simple as discussing the problem with your partner to uncover what is at the base of the issue. This isn’t always easy but it is always helpful. Men, in particular, have a hard time communicating about emotions and accepting blame for emotional discomfort. Acting masculine doesn’t mean you have to be a dick.

Acting masculine doesn’t mean you have to be a dick.

Take the communication a step further and bring it into the bedroom. If you’re trying to solve an issue about sexytime, bring it to the place where sexytime happens. For example, if you’d like your partner to add a few new moves to their blowjob repertoire, tell them! If you’ve been wishing they’d throw in more hand motions, a tickle of the balls, or to move a little to the left, let them know. You might find asking specifically for what you want and working together to achieve it works wonders.


Think about what fantasies get you in the mood 

Men have fantasies that when acted upon can easily rev up the libido. We can’t always have what we want; however, asking your partner to act out some of the elements of a fantasy is a great way to get exactly what you want! This doesn’t have to be asking your partner to swing from the chandelier or host a wild orgy. Acting on a fantasy can be something as simple as asking for and receiving unreciprocated oral sex. For some, anal sex might be taboo enough to give you wood hard enough to cut diamonds. Yet others may want to incorporate elements of BDSM like choking, spanking or hair pulling. I personally like getting stuck in a Pornado (sitting at my computer watching my favorite porn) and simultaneously having Sunny give me head while she’s wearing a wig. Let your imagination run wild!

Sometimes I’m not in the fucking mood, literally. It’s OK to not be in the mood. For the love all you hold dear, tell your partner why you aren’t in the mood! They might think the reason has something to do with them– they’re not attractive, you don’t love them, they have gained too much weight or a million other things. Reassure your partner. In this case, a little communication can go a long way. The self-help book, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” by John Grey, can be a bit of pop psychology bullshit, but it does have some universal truths in it. Men that love men often have an easier time in communication with their partners than heteros (at least in some basic ways), because most men communicate in roughly the same way.

Understanding women is like nailing Jell-O to a tree. I will never try and understand women but, by Odin’s balls, I try to communicate with them!

I am hetero, and I am writing from a hetero point of view. For me, women are amazing, beautiful, fragile, yet strong creatures that need communication on a level I can’t begin to comprehend. Understanding women is like nailing Jell-O to a tree. I will never try and understand women but, by Odin’s balls, I try to communicate with them!

Not being in the mood can be a great opportunity to get what we desire sexually at a later time too! Don’t let re-scheduling freak you out. Setting a solid date/time later can help the problem resolve itself. There is nothing wrong with scheduling time for sex. Don’t force yourself to be sexy at a time you’re not feeling it!


The little blue pill isn’t the only answer! 

Some think as we age, medicine is the only thing that can help us get or keep wood. The little blue pill doesn’t help with desire; it only helps with erectile dysfunction. Swingers are almost always on the forefront of medical techniques that help older folks with these issues. This section is very subjective to what works for you as an individual. Take all of this with a grain of salt and check with your doctor before trying anything as extreme as injecting your cock with go-go juice. I also need to add, “Buyer Beware!”

There’s a lot of quackery and snake oil out there. Many will use whatever current herbal supplement is in vogue at the moment. However, the US government cracks down on anything that could be potential competition to Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, and Avanafil. Herbal supplements are great when you find one that works for you.

Often times, as soon as you do find one that works, the government takes it off the shelf because it threatens the livelihood of big pharms. Most of the best supplements have a combination of capsicum (chili peppers), ginger, yohimbe, and cinnamon. Look for these when starting to look for an herbal supplement. Intracavernosal injections are the latest trend. According to the American Urologic Association, taking an intracavernosal injection (a medical injection right to the cock) is the single most effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. Alprostodil and Phentolamine are the most common medicines that men are shooting into their own meat mushroom. Some doctors are also prescribing multiple compounds together in what is called Bi-mix and Tri-mix.

Cockrings are like external Viagra. Restricting blood flow of the penis by sticking your cock and balls in a leather, silicone, stone, or metal cock ring can make you harder, thicker, and more robust. But they aren’t for everyone. My personal favorite is Stockroom’s Stainless Steel Teardrop Cock Ring. It gives me a raging boner harder than Chinese Algebra, and is designed to simultaneously give an external prostate massage. Plus, the weight of the metal feels great!

Topical lotions at this point in time are snake oil. They don’t work or they make your cock numb and useless. There are some new topical lotions in the works that are similar to the intracavernosal injection meds, but they aren’t on the market yet.

For women, there currently isn’t any equivalent of a little blue pill. Pfizer tried desperately to come up with something as women are much more likely to use meds than men are. The fact of the matter is, women are primarily going to succumb to mental and physical efforts such as counseling, education, muscle relaxation, and self exploration (masturbation).

When it comes to getting in the mood, remember to relax, identify the problem, communicate, and live out some fantasies. Bring your communication to the bedroom. It’s OK to re-schedule sex for a later time if you’re not in the mood. Please go to your doctor if you have either a mental or physical issue that should be treated with conventional medicine, and use meds only if you have to!


Originally appeared at Get Lusty for Couples

Cross-posted with permission from Sunny Megatron’s Blog

Ken Melvoin-Berg owns Weird Chicago Tours and the Midwest’s premier S&M Dungeon, The Studio. As a Lecturer and Sexstorian, he is the creator of On The Edge (a lecture/film series on BDSM). In addition to authoring 14 books on various subjects, Ken edits and writes numerous articles on sexuality. He travels around the world teaching kink awareness to various private groups and continually develops new kink-friendly/sex positive classes. Ken is responsible for the infamous Northwestern University Fucksaw controversy while teaching his class, Networking for Kinky PeopleSunny Megatron is his partner in crime and perverted adventures.


Photo courtesy of Flickr/tuppus

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  1. “Although I was born as the gender I identify as, don’t ever make the mistake of calling me a cismale, it’s an insult to me (I’m working on a future article explaining why I don’t like that term)”

    thank you…I really, really thought I was the only one that got squeaked by that term. I would love to read this article when you finish it.

  2. Sounds great, Mary.

    We’ll get your question/situation covered this week. Do e-mail me w/ any other questions. REALLY hope this improves your problem. Your hubby needs to know how he could please you better.


  3. Hey Cheeky

    That seems like a big issue! We’d love to get some recommendations for you and your husband. Would you like us to address this issue by our resident sex therapist at GetLusty for Couples–Moushimi Ghose?

    Chief Lust Officer

    • Cheeky Mary says:

      I will take any help I can get especially if the sex therapists name is Moushimi Ghose.. Absolutely!!!
      Is that the only thing on offer? LOL

  4. Cheeky Mary says:

    My partner not only has very little interest in sex but when he does get it up (always with me initiating it), he looks after his own needs which takes 30 seconds, so I normally have to wait 30 days for 30 seconds. I’m so frustrated and cant leave him because I have two daughters with him and love him about 20 years. I have no more patience left.

  5. I do worry about my declining social interest but I think women need to realize that the sublte efforts at romance men once made to woo women is also applicable to men even if the form requires some changes. Romance to man might me reminders of his masculinity but it could also be reassurance that he is loved and admired by his mate. There has been mention of men’s declining sperm counts to do chemicals from plastics and such. This is a big deal and the fact we don’t pay more attention to it shows how bad we have gotten at confronting issues affecting males in our society. Average sperm counts dropping in half is no minor event.

  6. Open question to anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, etc. (the usual caveats.)

    Say that you are living in a committed monogamous relationship. You don’t have any kids, and besides both of you having full-time jobs (which you find fulfilling and satisfying) and a house, you don’t have any outside time-consuming or draining “requirements”, mostly just doing what interests you and all in all leading quite a comfortable life.

    Now, you have a somewhat lower libido than your partner (from here on called X). X’s sexuality is never intrusive or demanding. X always respects a no for an answer, and when you actually are having sex, you know that X go to lengths to ensure that you are getting what you enjoy and having at least a good time as X has. However, your own libido is kind of “sleepy”, it’s like you don’t have the “urge” or fantasies by yourself, but has to be “awaken”, maybe by a certain courtship from your partner. And therefore it’s also the rare occasion that yourself take the first initiative to sex.
    Maybe your partner has hinted or outright stated being tired and getting the self-esteem shot by more often than not being turned down by you,

    Imagining yourself in this situation, how do you think you would react if your partner stopped taking the initiative? Would you take it up as an issue to discuss? Or would you mostly feel relieved that you don’t have to “work yourself up” anymore (even if you claim to really like it once you acyually get there!)?

    • When my boyfriend and I started dating, I iften tried to initiate sex only he would tell me he was tired, or he would have sex with me but he was clearly not very into it and only going through the motions. I tried a lot of things to get him more interested – wearing sexy outfits to dinner, making flirty remarks, etc. – without success. About a year ago, I decided to stop all of it. I don’t initiate sex, ever, anymore, and I make no particular effort to be sexy or do sexy things to get him in the mood. We have sex on his schedule. He has never said anything about it. He’s never mentioned it, so I guess he ‘s happy not being pestered anymore. To be honest, I’m frustrated as I feel unable to fully express myself sexually but there is less stress over the sex part. Our rekationship is great in many ways and he is my best friend, so I don’t want to end it. I figure my libido will probably tank when I hit menopause and maybe we’ll be more in sync then ….

    • I will have go at this, although I rarely am the lower sexed one unless something is wrong emotionally, or stress or fatigue. I have twice been the higher sexed one who has given up or just watched it dwindle twice, I got a bit on the side and it eventually ended both times.

      I think its better to talk about it, and be honest with whats going on, but the key is to avoid pressure and blame … Sometimes X can help the other partner Y get their kicks, or they can be understanding if they are taking care of business in another room.
      There are ways of getting the spice back – a week apart, some time in nature, a change of scene to a hotel, etc. Then there is always the Coolidge effect in whatever arrangement you prefer, where fresh blood sparks things up – look up Mating in Captivity.

      Being relieved sounds awful to me – and if it dies out completely I suspect that X would become unhappy, depressed, and perhaps eventually get their needs met elsewhere – and with good reason as the other person has given up on the intimacy.
      Personally, I don’t believe total monogamy can lead to fulfillment or decent well-being of either parties in these cases where the sex dies out – My view if its died out, X either finds another supply (ideally without guilt or too much deception) or you will get to a point where it’s better to end it, or worst case is learned helplessness and both just suffer – ie the beginning of Hope Springs.
      Actually, you said committed – so if Y lets it/participates in letting the sex wither then Y has broken that commitment in my view.

  7. Yeah – really appreciate this article, i have a higher libido than my partner and sometimes when i have attempted to instigate sex he has refused and i’ve found it really hard on my self esteem. we have a good relationship and although we talk about it, and he continues to re-assure me that it’s not me and i shouldn’t think so, it’s hard at times not to think it. It’s really valuable to hear about other men who experience a lower libido than their partner, and i really appreciate Sarah’s comment as its not an issue i discuss with my girlfriends so it’s been hard to know if other women are experiencing the same feelings of low self esteem and how threatening it can be to the relationship. Totally agree with the point that talking about it can be really beneficial, though really dificult on us, as the things that we find hardest to discuss often hit straight to the heart of our deepest vulnerabilities. but i really believe that uncertainty and lack of knowledge about why your partner doesn’t fell like sex with you breeds anxiety and stress, communication can really help clear that up and make a situation far more manageable.

  8. I appreciate this article as I am in a relationship with a lower libido partner. We are both in our 40’s. It’s been tough not to blame myself and to feel that he simply doesn’t find me attractive enough to get excited about. It is an issue we struggle with and there have been times where I have considered ending the relationship simply because it is hard on my self esteem to feel that I’m not really what he wants sexually (though he claims that’s not the issue). Overall the relationship is good but it is certainly a lot different from what things were like in my 20’s.

    • Untamed Shrew says:

      I’m in that situation, too, and it is a bit hard on the self-esteem. But, I am trying to look at it from his point of view, and understand his disappointment in realizing things ain’t what they used to be. In the end, I still feel like it’s about the person, not so much the sex.

  9. “There’s a lot of quackery and snake oil out there. Many will use whatever current herbal supplement is in vogue at the moment. However, the US government cracks down on anything that could be potential competition to Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, and Avanafil. Herbal supplements are great when you find one that works for you.

    Often times, as soon as you do find one that works, the government takes it off the shelf because it threatens the livelihood of big pharms.”

    Sorry, but no – skip the conspiracy theories. When supplements are taken off the market, it’s because they’re poorly regulated, usually ineffective, and often dangerous.

    If the supplement “threatened the livelihood of big pharma”, they’d study it, refine it, and sell it.

  10. Thanks for the comments. This article was difficult for me to write because the topic is so personal. I have sexual relations with multiple partners fairly frequently, but I can feel desire waning compared to how I was in my 20s. I love my life, my girlfriend, lovers, submissives, friends with benefits and all of us love my libido as it is. Is it as active as it used to be? Nope. But I am completely comfy with its current level.

  11. PursuitAce says:

    Having learned from this website that anything but enthusiastic sex is akin to sexual assault, my perception of sex has done a one eighty. I have zero interest in it anymore. The thought of it disgusts me. I will not be a rapist.

    • Pursuit Ace, thing is, everyone’s idea of “enthusiastic” is probably different. For some people it’s probably a totally energentic almost over-eager approach while for others, it could just mean someone that is happy and excited.

      But if this website changed your perception of sex, you might want to ask yourself why that is. It doesn’t have much to do with this website. The answer lies within you.

  12. Untamed Shrew says:

    I love this article, and this site, for saying what needs to be said. Mother nature is a cruel mistress. Virtually asexual in my 30s and early 40s, the libido is finally awakening at a young near-50, just when many men are experiencing this issue. It’s difficult to navigate the topic, not wanting to alienate emotionally. To be able to discuss it honestly relieves one burden, but then the question, how do we bridge the gap in needs and wants? I find myself realizing that I will likely forfeit my new-found desires for a relationship with someone whose company I otherwise enjoy. I adore cuddling, yet it seems men who lack desire are not necessarily comfortable with that, as maybe they think it sets up expectations they can’t or don’t want to fulfill. It’s all so confusing. Now about that cock ring…

    • And I guess there’s not a small number of men in their 40’s where having a “virtually asexual” partner throughout their 30’s have at least partially contributed to their decreasing libido.
      Mother nature is a cruel mistress, indeed…

      • Untamed Shrew says:

        Being virtually asexual for me meant I was having it, just not that into it mentally, so not even knowing what I was missing for a long time. Choice of partner may have had something to do with that, and possibly biology. Fast forward several years, and I’m learning more about the porn habit and compulsive masturbation, and how it can affect real sexual relationships, and a man’s libido with women, negatively. That’s another animal, and I can’t take responsibility for someone else’s addiction. It’s increasingly common, and in my former husband’s case, started as a teenager and escalated to an uncontrollable level. It took me a couple of years to catch on. But, I tried not to shame him for it. He opened my eyes to a lot of things, mostly positive, about sexuality. Still, it was hard to be second to the hand, and it was hard on him, too. Still learning. Just realizing that in this age group, there are a lot of factors that affect sexual expression, for both men and women.

  13. wellokaythen says:

    It should be noted that there are some people who are young, perfectly healthy, and perfectly well-adjusted who just “naturally” don’t have much of a sex drive. Some even identify as asexual. (It’s hard for me to comprehend fully, but I know they exist.) A decline in libido is not necessarily evidence of something wrong happening. It could be, and one should look at the usual suspects, but it’s not always evidence of something bad happening.

    That being said, as a 42-year old man who’s slowed down quite a bit, I love this article and I appreciate where it’s coming from!

    • A young person with no interest in sex, missing out on fun, is not evidence of something bad happening?

      • Of course not. Everyone has a vastly different sex drive, and it’s perfectly natural, that is unless the root of it is linked to a health problem as wellokthen stated. Those with a high sex drive may not understand someone with less interest but that just speaks to sexual disparity. No aspect of human life can be cast into limiting categories

      • wellokaythen says:

        There are things out there that are more fun than bad sex. (At least, I hear that’s true.) Having a high sex drive and no outlet for it is hardly fun. More like torture for some people. It’s only the height of fun if you’re having sex and it’s good sex.

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