Contrary to popular belief, men aren't always raring to go all day every day. And surprisingly, guys can have long-term dips in desire just like women. In fact, 14.4 percent of men reported a distressing lack of sexual interest lasting at least two months in the past year, according to a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Read on to discover some of the most common reasons why he may not be in the mood.
His Sexual Confidence is Low
Men with low confidence levels in their erectile function were more likely than other men to report a lack of desire in this study. "Even just one incident of erectile dysfunction for a lot of guys can create a cycle where they think it could happen again and their whole libido lowers," says sex therapist Brandy Engler, Ph.D., author of The Men on my Couch. If your guy is having trouble getting or keeping an erection, take the focus off of that for a while and put it onto something else, like kissing, fondling, or your own pleasure.
He's Stressed at Work
According to the study, this was the number one reason men reported having a low libido. Really, it's not all that different from how your own body reacts to stress by dampening desire. "When you're stressed and in your head all day, your nervous system is all wound up, your body's releasing cortisol, and you're not relaxed enough to experience pleasure," says Engler. If this is the case, make sure foreplay is slow, sensual, and calmingÃ¢â‚¬”like taking a hot shower together, massaging each other, or just having an old-school make out session that let's you both relax and get in the mood.
There's Something Off in the Relationship
You'd be surprised how important the mind-body connection is for men when it comes to sex, says Engler. "If there's a relationship issue he's holding on to or some kind of resentment he's feeling, the body is unlikely to respond to desire." So don't be too surprised if guys aren't always amped for makeup sexÃ¢â‚¬”he might still be mulling things over. In that case, it may be worth hashing things out to see if there are any issues that should be addressed outside the bedroom.
Sexual boredom in long-term relationships was another major reason that men reported a lack of sexual interest in the study. Don't panicÃ¢â‚¬”this doesn't mean he's bored with you. While women tend to take this personally, Engler says it's often not about the woman at all. It could just be that your sex life has fallen into a routine. Most of the time, Engler's patients say they shut down when they're always the ones initiating sex. So if you've fallen into a rut, make an effort to mix things up and show some passion. Suggest role-playing, take the reins when it comes to trying a new position, or experiment with one of the items on our sex bucket list. "Play more of a role when it comes to being creative and seductive," says Engler. "Be present in the experience."
He Already Masturbated That Day
Hey, it's totally possible that he got a little carried away without you, and now he's not feeling as strong an urge to hop into bed. For some men, especially as they get older, they don't feel as strong a desire if they've recently masturbated, says sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D. author of She Comes First. Just let him know that next time you'd like to join in on the fun.
He's Just Not Feeling Sexy
You know you don't feel as frisky after too much Indian food and not enough exercise, and neither does he. If he's just not feeling great, he doesn't have a willingness to get aroused, which means sex just isn't on the agenda for him, says Kerner. He suggests taking a little longer with foreplay, kissing, and touching to see if you can get him over that desire hump. "Sometimes if you can just get arousal going, your body will do the rest of the work," says Kerner.
MORE: 9 Reasons You Don't Want to Have Sex