The assumption that all men are constantly wanting sex with their partner simply isn't true ¿ and it's one reason why women feel so ashamed to admit it when their husband rejects sex with them. Stock image used

Sex therapists say roughly one third of couples who seek therapy over differing sex drives involve the woman wanting more sex than the man.

The assumption that all men are constantly wanting sex with their partner simply isn’t true – and it’s one reason why women feel so ashamed to admit it when their husband rejects sex with them.

‘I’d tell my friends if he was having an affair. But I’m certainly not going to tell them my husband hasn’t touched me sexually for years,’ one woman told me.

Many women assume the worst when sex stops: their partner doesn’t love them or is having sex with someone else.

But extra marital sex is rarely the reason when a man loses sexual desire for his partner.

It’s far more likely to be that…

The assumption that all men are constantly wanting sex with their partner simply isn't true ¿ and it's one reason why women feel so ashamed to admit it when their husband rejects sex with them. Stock image used

The assumption that all men are constantly wanting sex with their partner simply isn’t true – and it’s one reason why women feel so ashamed to admit it when their husband rejects sex with them. Stock image used


If a woman confesses to me that her male partner is suddenly avoiding sex and won’t talk about it, my first question is ‘How old is he?’.

If he’s over 40, I suspect erection difficulties have something to do with it. If he’s over 50, I guarantee that’s the case.

Men expect to lose their hair and develop a beer belly. But no-one talks about what happens to his penis when it ages. Wonderous and impressive as they are, an erection is simply a penis that’s full of blood. If he’s having erection problems, issues with blood flow are often to blame. Unfortunately for men, there’s rather a lot of things that can affect it. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, being overweight, low testosterone levels (ageing), unhealthy lifestyle (drinking, smoking, eating junk), stress and anxiety. Most men aren’t aware of this.

The first time he doesn’t get an erection on cue is a sobering experience, even if he’s not sober. If it happens more than once, it often rates as one of the worst moments of his life.

Humiliated. Depressed. Emasculated. They’re just a few of the words men use to describe the feeling of not being able to ‘get it up’.

Many men would rather not have sex at all, than deal with a penis that ‘doesn’t work’. Sex to most men means putting their penis in something. It’s extremely difficult to convince a man that oral sex, hand-jobs, kissing, touching and using a sex toy also counts as sex. You can do a lot without an erection, but most men don’t believe it – and aren’t interested in exploring the concept.

Erection problems aren’t the same as low desire but if he experiences one, sooner or later he’s likely to feel the other as well.

UK-based sex expert Tracey Cox  (pictured) shares the top five reasons your partner might not be having sex with you anymore

UK-based sex expert Tracey Cox  (pictured) shares the top five reasons your partner might not be having sex with you anymore


There’s constant discussion on female body image and how it impacts their desire for sex. But men also grapple with feelings of attractiveness and the same thing happens to them.


Most women come up with three main reasons to explain why their partner has lost interest in sex.

But how likely are they to be true?


‘We used to have sex every day. Now, he initiates once a month if that. Of course there’s someone else – what other reason would there be? He’s not going to just suddenly go off sex.’

Likelihood of being right: 3/10

Actually, he can – for all the reasons I talk about in this article. Cheating is the least likely reason for your partner turning to face the wall instead of you. Lots of men experience a higher desire for sex with their partner while having an affair.


‘I see him looking at women who are younger, prettier and thinner than me. I wouldn’t actually mind that, if we were still having sex. Everyone looks at attractive people. But when he knocks back every advance I make, how can I not take this personally?’

Likelihood of being right: 4/10

Women grow up believing all men pursue attractive women and want to have sex with them. Therefore, they must be unattractive in some way if their partner isn’t pursuing them sexually. There may be some loss of attraction if you have significantly changed your appearance – like extreme weight gain or loss – but it’s nearly always something else at play.


‘He waits until I head upstairs to bed and says he’s right behind me. Then, at least three times a week, he goes into the downstairs loo, locks the door, and masturbates while watching porn on his phone. I know because I’ve followed him and listened outside the door. In the meantime, I’m lying in bed and trying to look sexy, with the hope that tonight might be the night he notices me. He rarely does.’

Likelihood of being right: 6/10

Online porn has replaced ‘real’ sex for an alarming number of men. It’s instantly accessible, invites him to view ever-inviting images without fear of judgement, and offers an endless supply of variety, 24 hours a day. It’s hard to beat that!

Lots of men see masturbating to porn as a way to have imaginary sex without cheating in person on their partners. Others use it as fantasy fodder to spice up sex. I don’t see a problem with either reason – and there usually isn’t, if the man is still enjoying sex with his flesh-and-blood partner.

The problem with solo porn sex is that it’s so easy, men get lazy. Seducing your partner takes effort: you can be done in under five minutes watching porn.

Likelihood of being right if he has erection issues: 10/10

When erection issues creep in, the chances of a man replacing real sex with porn is extremely high. If partner sex makes him highly anxious and porn sex is zero pressure, which would you choose? Lots of men who suffer from performance anxiety would rather only have sex with themselves while watching porn than suffer the humiliation of admitting it to their partner.

Putting on weight, losing muscle and (as already mentioned) their hair. Even if people are still fond of saying (please stop) that men with grey hair and wrinkles look ‘distinguished’ while women with both just look old, men aren’t immune to feeling depressed when their appearance changes.

This is especially true if his partner is much younger or seems to be faring better than he is. It’s one thing revealing a podgy belly while trying to seduce a wife who also has one. Quite another, if she’s still sporting a six-pack and (you swear) looks a little disgusted to see it.


This might come as a complete surprise because, often, the first hint of a low libido appears around two years into a relationship. This is because almost everyone gets an artificial boost of desire at the start.

The second most common time for it to happen is when children arrive and sex naturally declines. Low desire people can maintain a healthy sex drive if they are having sex regularly. But if sex stops and his motivation to seek it out isn’t strong, his libido will drop to its natural resting place which might be much lower than their partner expected.

Is he secretly gay? Is he having an affair? Am I too fat/too old/not sexy enough? Very few women think it’s because their partner simply has a naturally low sex drive. While we talk a lot about women losing desire, we rarely talk about men losing interest long-term. Let alone not having had much enthusiasm for it in the first place.

The truth is men don’t inherently have a higher sex drive than women: it’s a stereotype. The reality is more nuanced. Desire is a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors that vary widely between individuals, regardless of gender.

Our ‘resting libido’ is also at least partly genetically based. If your partner’s Dad had a rampant sex drive, chances are he does. If that led to Dad having affairs, however, it can have the opposite effect…


Not all men grow up in a household where men are encouraged to ‘be a man’ and seek out sex whenever they can because it’s ‘what men do’.

If your partner’s childhood was marred by a father who had affairs – leaving the impression that wanting sex gets you in trouble or that our sex drive is uncontrollable – he may well subconsciously decide not to let that happen to him. Wanting sex is dangerous, maybe even disgusting.

This can also happen to men if their mother has been treated badly by men. The message she sends (deliberately or unconsciously) is that men’s sex drives are harmful to women. Her son then works hard to dampen his and feels shame if he doesn’t succeed. Normal things that nearly all adolescents enjoy, like masturbation and fantasising, become negative experiences.

Having become the man he wanted to be – one who isn’t sexually aggressive or predatory – he thinks he’s being kind by not wanting to have sex with you.


One study found one in five men say their libido is low because they’re too stressed from work. Then they kill what little desire is left by doing what lots of people do when stressed: self-medicate with alcohol. Excessive drinking affects the production of testosterone, the primary hormone responsible for our sex drive. Not surprisingly, the kick-on effect for all this is often depression. So, he pops off to the doctor, who hands out anti-depressants and maybe some blood pressure pills, effectively wiping out any cravings that might have still be hopefully hanging around. An ever-growing list of medications dampen the most enthusiastic libido.

Check out Tracey’s two product ranges – Supersex and Edge – if you want a quick, instant way to make mundane sex feel more exciting. You’ll find them at (or the lovehoney website in your country).

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