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An estimated twenty million American men and women are in relationships in which the man has stopped being sexually intimate. Is the problem physical, emotional, or psychological?or are these guys simply bored with their partners?
To find answers, bestselling author and relationship expert Dr. Bob Berkowitz and his wife, Susan Yager-Berkowitz, began an unprecedented survey of more than four thousand men and women in this situation, gathering data and following up with hundreds ...
An estimated twenty million American men and women are in relationships in which the man has stopped being sexually intimate. Is the problem physical, emotional, or psychological—or are these guys simply bored with their partners?
To find answers, bestselling author and relationship expert Dr. Bob Berkowitz and his wife, Susan Yager-Berkowitz, began an unprecedented survey of more than four thousand men and women in this situation, gathering data and following up with hundreds of interviews with selected respondents. Why Men Stop Having Sex provides a unique window into the sexless man's mind—so that men and women can understand this important issue and begin to address the problems that have inhibited intimacy, and ultimately solve them.
Why Men Stop Having Sex
Most women are raised to believe men want sex all the time, a belief the media consistently reinforces. So when a woman suddenly finds herself in a sexless marriage, it not only hurts a lot, it's bewildering. It seems irrational. That same man, the one who couldn't wait to get you alone, couldn't wait to make love to you, now acts either annoyed or exhausted if you even hint at intimacy. Sex should be such a natural, pleasurable, loving, simple thing, shouldn't it? How did this happen?
Sex, of course, isn't simple at all. It may be an expression of love, a whole lot of fun, irresistibly sublime, and the high point of your day, but simple it's not. Some anthropologists suggest it was, once upon a time. When the objective was procreation and a male perhaps shared meat with a female in exchange for as much sex as he wanted, both were far too busy hunting, gathering, and outrunning whatever creature might hunt and gather them first to worry about whether or not sex was happening on a regular basis. And, after all, who knew what a regular basis was, anyway?
Today we know, or at least we think we do. Women's magazines seem to constantly be giving results to polls that ask the inevitable question: "If you are married or in a committed relationship, how often do you have sex?" The average is one to two times a week, a figure that hasn't changed since Kinsey first published his data on men in 1948 and women in 1953. Data are data, but what about all the couples who wouldn't score quite so high onthis test? If you are in a relationship where once a month is the norm, or for that matter, once a year, do you even want to take the test?
Why is it that so many married couples find themselves living a life of celibacy?
Today we live in a world where every available form of media seems to scream out that people, and men in particular, want sex, and more sex. That trite and hackneyed expression "sex sells" still seems to be the mantra for pushing everything from soda to cars, to, well, sex. And the majority of us buy into this. We want to be those elusive things—desirable and sexy. The ultimate goal, what most of us really want, or think we really want, is to fall so much in love, to be in a relationship so committed that we become one special person's own private sex symbol. We get a house together, and maybe a family, and lots of sex. Forever.
So why is it that so many married couples, those very people able to have as much sex as they want, find themselves living a life of celibacy? These same couples probably once had sex on a regular basis. They thought each other interesting, attractive, and desirable enough to commit to sharing a bed forever. What stopped the passion?
If you're in a sexless marriage, you're not alone
It's good to know there are other women who experience this. I thought it was really rare. (Female, 35)
Surveys tell us that 40 million Americans live in a no-sex or low-sex marriage. Some believe the number might be even higher. After all, we live in a culture where everyone, or at least everyone in a committed relationship, is supposed to be having sex, and lots of it. Not having sex equals failure, a lack of desirability. Who wants to check the "never" box on that magazine quiz? A sexless marriage is defined by experts as making love ten times a year or less. Whether or not that is a problem, of course, depends on the couple. If both are content, if "ten times a year or less" meets their needs and expectations, then they have no problem. Unfortunately, this usually is not the case. Often the loss of sexual pleasure and intimacy results in depression, suspicion, anger, resentment, and sometimes, infidelity and divorce. Although it is clear that this issue is rarely one-sided, it is nevertheless surprising to many that it is just as often the man who puts the brakes on sexuality as the woman. The late Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld, who was one of America's leading sex therapists, suggested it was more often the man when he wrote, " . . . in the vast amount of couples consulting me about desire complaints it's the women who want more and the man who always has a headache." These same men who used to do whatever it took to get their fiancées or new brides into bed no longer desire them. What happened?
What stops the passion?
Why do men stop having sex with their wives? The reason is seldom simple and may have a physiological, psychological, or cultural foundation; recent studies add a genetic component. Often these elements combine.
We looked at the statistical reasons our male survey respondents, who self-identified as choosing not to have sex with their spouses, gave us for no longer being intimate, and we studied their comments carefully. Let's first take a look at some statistics. We asked men to rate a list of reasons on a scale that went from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The following table lists in descending order the percentage of men who agreed with each of the causes.Why Men Stop Having Sex