No Sex for Their Wives

We've all heard about sexless marriages. And often, the finger gets pointed at the woman.

But what happens when it's the man who stops being physically intimate? And how does the woman respond when her husband, for whatever reason, stops making love with her?

These are some of the questions my wife Susan Yager-Berkowitz and I are pursued for our book, He's Just Not Up for It Anymore: When Men Stop Having Sex, and What Women Are Doing About It (William Morrow, 2008).

The top reason men say they stop having sex with their wives? They're angry at them. More to the point, the guys tell us that they are overly criticized and controlled by their spouses.

As one man puts it, "For my own amusement, I took to counting the seconds between arriving home from work every day and the first negative comment. It was generally significantly less than a minute. I am under absolutely no illusion that I approach perfection as a partner; however, I find it hard to believe that I warrant comment within 60 seconds."

Oftentimes, the anger remains unexpressed. This silent seething has the effect of Novocaine numbing many of the senses, including sexual desire.

Another reason why the men stop desiring their wives is because they no longer find them physically attractive. When we press the men for details, more often than not they tell us that their wives have gained an excessive amount of weight. Not just the few extra pounds that most of us would like to shed, but upward of 80, 90 or 100 pounds.

Both men and women tell us that depression is another big reason for lack of interest. Compounding the problem, some of the more common antidepressants can cause loss of libido or loss of the ability to sexually perform. And one report we found says that antidepressants can have another negative effect on a relationship: diminished interest in connecting emotionally with a partner. "Too tired," "too stressed," "not enough time" and "overworked" are other major reasons why men are opting out of sex with their partners. But many of these same guys report that they have enough time and energy to watch porn online. In fact, some of the women we interviewed believe that their husbands are addicted to porn. At the very least, many are confused as to why their guys would watch two-dimensional figures on a computer screen when their wives are ready, willing and able to have sex in their bed. On the other hand, some men who are porn devotees use it as an escape from what they see as they emotional and sexual problems in their marriage. Or as Palo Alto, Calif.-based sex therapist Dr. Janice Epp put it, "I think it's easier for men today to retreat from sex with a partner because they have this marvelous new sexual tool to soothe them: the Internet. Here are wonderful fantasy partners who don't answer back, criticize, etc. I can't emphasize this enough: Every single man I've seen has turned to the Internet when sexual difficulties with a partner have arisen."
Online sex definitely holds some attractions for men. You don't have to care about pleasing a woman, she certainly isn't going to complain about your performance in bed, and having an erection is optional (a man can have an orgasm without one). Which brings us to the issue of erectile dysfunction, or as the author Tom Wolfe put it, "the disease that dares not speak its name." Men have a hard enough time admitting that they have ED to themselves, much less to anyone else -- including their wives. Indeed, many men would rather shut down sexually than have to confront their inability to get or sustain an erection. While it's true that Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are big sellers, it's just as true that only about 20 percent of the men who could use those products ever get them. Perhaps because of the shame men associate with impotence, relatively few of them report to us that ED is the reason they've stopped making love to their wives. On the other hand, when we poll women, they are far more likely to identify their husbands' erection difficulties as the culprit for his loss of desire. About one in three men tell us they've had affairs after they stopped having sex with their wives. Four percent say they've realized they are gay, which incidentally is about the same as national population of gay men in America. Much of what we hear from the men who respond to our survey seems to suggest they have not lost interest in sex, just in being sexual with their wives.
Dr. Bob Berkowitz created a worldwide exclusive beat when he became the men's correspondent for NBC's "Today" show, exploring the inner world of men for more than four years. He is the author of the best-selling books What Men Won't Tell You, But Women Need to Know (HarperCollins, 1991) and His Secret Life: Male Sexual Fantasies. He has co-written a new book with his wife, Susan Yager-Berkowitz, called "He's Just Not Up for It Anymore: When Men Stop Having Sex, and What Women Are Doing About It"; published by William Morrow, 2008. Source: Daily Record (UK). Powered by Yellowbrix. - - - - - - A recent survey reveals boomers value sex highly when it comes to marriage. Visit the marriage center for tips on keeping your marriage strong.
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Source: Relationships & Love

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