Ever since we began researching and writing He's Just Not Up for it Anymore, people have been asking us: "How come?" Why do men choose to stop being sexual with their partners? We discovered that this is a complex question with a wide variety of answers, because there is rarely only one reason. For example, a man suffering from erectile dysfunction may be too embarrassed to admit it to his spouse or even his physician, and find it far gentler on his ego to believe that his wife doesn't enjoy sex very much anyway or that he's just plain bored with her. This may anger his wife, who feels undesirable and unloved. He responds by being angry at her, and they enter a kind of feedback loop of marital discord that is difficult to get out of.
One of the reasons we began to explore why men stop being sexual is that so little has been written about the topic, although there are millions of men who choose not to be intimate with their partners. It was our hope that by discovering the "How come?" we might help people in this difficult situation find ways to communicate with one another, which is the most important thing they can do. When we finished the book, we realized that it was, after all, really a book about marriage, and understanding why relationships that begin with love and hope so often deteriorate. Once all of the "whys" are categorized and explored, a dialogue can begin. And then anything is possible.
In researching our book, we surveyed more than 4,000 people and followed up hundreds of the responses with in-depth, online interviews. This was completely anonymous, and all respondents were numerically coded. We asked the men to rate a list of 22 possible reasons why they stopped being sexual with their partners on a scale that went from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The following is, in part, a result of that question. We urge you to remember that reasons overlap, and many men strongly agreed or agreed with more than one answer. However (and we were surprised about this) the first reason was way ahead of all the rest.
Top 10 Reasons Why Men Say They Stop Having Sex
She isn't sexually adventurous enough.
She doesn't seem to enjoy sex.
I'm angry at her.
I'm interested in sex with others, but not with her.
She has gained a significant amount of weight.
I no longer find her physically attractive.
I suffer from erectile dysfunction.
From "He's Just Not Up for It Anymore. Why Men Stop Having Sex. And What You Can Do About It," By Bob Berkowitz, Ph.D. and Susan Yager-Berkowitz, M.A. (Harper Collins/William Morrow, 2008) Based on an online survey of over 4,000 people.
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.