Why Men Think Women Stop Having Sex

In conducting the survey for our book, He's Just Not Up for It Anymore. When Men Stop Having Sex and What Women Are Doing About It (Harper Collins/William Morrow, February 2008), a surprising number of men volunteered that they abandoned sex after repeatedly being turned down by their wives. That, they said, was why they were no longer sexual with their partners. Although in some cases this might be redirecting "blame," in other cases surely it was true.

It is estimated that there are 20 million couples in America currently living in sexless marriages, which is defined as having sex less than 10 times per year. If you follow conventional wisdom, you would assume that most of the time, it's the woman who has the low libido. But, you would be incorrect. About 50 percent of the time, it's the man who decides to stop being intimate. Of course, that still leaves half the puzzle unsolved. After all of our research on men, we are now curious about why women decide to stop being sexual. Do reasons overlap? What are the similarities and the differences? We've started a new survey to find out why women say they stop having sex with their partners, why men think they do, and how men are reacting. (If you are a man or woman in a sexless marriage where the woman was the one to initiate the situation, we would love to hear from you. At the top of this article you'll find a link to participate in the new survey, which is for either current and past relationships.)

Some preliminary results follow, but before we share them with you, we want to say this: There's one way men are like women ... they feel hurt, angry, confused and not very appealing when their spouse rejects them in bed. Many say that they can't pinpoint a reason why their wives lost interest in intimacy; they just know that passion used to be a part of their lives, and now it's gone. Others claim that their partner was never that interested in sex to begin with (and yet, they married them anyway). Some say their wives were abused as children, and this, of course, had a profound effect on their adult sexuality, or that their religious beliefs preclude sex for any reason other than procreation. Many men mention medical conditions that make intercourse uncomfortable or just not possible, but were confused as to why their partner also abandoned any other type of intimacy. And a few mentioned either pregnancy or a newborn, suggesting (hoping) the situation is temporary. Similar to our first book, a lot of the men seem to be shifting responsibility away from themselves. (A lot of the women, by the way, did the same thing in our last survey.) Therefore, some of the major reasons the men gave for their wives' loss of libido had to do with how she felt about herself. These statistics will surely change; our current sample is quite small, but 59 percent of the men believe that she stopped making love because she doesn't like the way she looks, and 46 percent said that she's gained a significant amount of weight.
It is interesting to note here that only 14 percent of the men admitted that they gained a significant amount of weight. Thirty-nine percent said "she doesn't believe I find her physically attractive," but interestingly, an equal number of men said that their looks may have been the reason. But, back to the finger pointing, 68 percent said "she's too tired," 52 percent said "she's depressed" (36 percent of the men said that they were depressed), 44 percent said she had difficulty achieving orgasm and 40 percent blamed menopause. We don't want to suggest that there weren't some men who shared in the responsibility. Forty percent were open and honest enough to suggest that she believes sex to be boring and routine, and 28 percent said that their problem of impotence was a contributing factor. Sadly -- very sadly -- 21 percent of the men say "she no longer loves me." This, of course, may not be true at all. There are so many reasons why a person may decide to no longer be intimate. However, it strongly emphasizes a need to talk openly and honestly about the issues. It can't be a silent, unilateral decision without some serious consequences -- like hurting someone you do love very much. For a man, does the end of sex mean the end of marriage? Not necessarily. Two-thirds said they definitely would or might stay even if their marriage remained sexless. But only 11 percent were optimistic that they would resume sex. Not surprisingly, almost every one of the men wanted their wives to get her libido back.
Aren't men supposed to be disinterested in therapy? Not the guys that contacted us. More than 40 percent of the men said that they wanted to get into couples' counseling, but their wives refused. Although most thought their wives were faithful, 22 percent of the men admitted to having affairs -- which is about the same as the national average. Bob and Susan are currently researching and writing a new book about why women stop having sex with their husbands or partners. (Their recent book He's Just Not Up for It Anymore: Why Men Stop Having Sex and What Women Are Doing About It was published by William Morrow in December 2007.)
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Source: Relationships & Love

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