By JENNA PRICE
The rampaging male libido is dying, killed by stress and exhaustion.
That’s the news from Australian sex therapists, either from their own clinical practice or from research.
Which is kind of a relief, isn’t it? Not the stress and exhaustion bit (been there, done that) but the fact that men will now be relieved from their duty of pretending they want to be top performers all the time. If you think about that critically, for even a minute, you know how unrealistic it is to imagine that men are permanently ready for sex.
Elaine George, who is midway through her PhD research into male sex drive, says the stereotype that men want sex at every opportunity just isn’t true any more, if it ever was. Her colleague Margaret Redelman has seen a definite increase in male clients who say they are experiencing low desire or a drop in desire. And recent Chinese research shows that sexual satisfaction for a couple is a two-handed play; in other words, it’s good for both of you and if you are having trouble, chances are your partner is too.
As a sex therapist, George wanted to find out exactly what gaps there were in the study of desire. What she discovered was that all the research on libido was about women. Did we enjoy it? Why didn’t we enjoy it? How could we enjoy it more? It was almost as if the study of male sexuality had no questions which needed answering. Even researchers had brainwashed themselves into thinking that men didn’t have a problem with sex.
When she started doing the numbers, she discovered more than half the men she surveyed had no interest in daily sex and about one in six men said they would prefer to have sex once every three or four weeks, far distant from the mythology of a sex fountain.
George says often men are in denial about their own lack of desire. Or they think there is something wrong but are too afraid to discuss it. Or think there is something wrong when they measure themselves against the stereotype of wanting sex 24/7.
In a significant number of cases, it’s the lifestyle. She says most sexual issues are an interplay of biological, psychological and contextual. ”Stress and fatigue are two significant factors in contributing to a decline in sexual interest and that’s the first time it has ever been identified in proper clinical research,” says George.