Problems with low sex drive, neglect of "conjugal duties," and consistent
failure to satisfy a spouse’s need for physical intimacy can run either
direction in a marriage. When issues of this kind raise their heads and disrupt
a marital relationship, it’s good to have some idea of what may be causing them.
Where men are concerned, our counselors’ observations have led them to conclude
that there are at least ten major reasons for decreased male libido. Here they
1) Medication. Surprisingly, this reason is often overlooked.
Prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter drugs can have a distinctly
suppressing effect on a man’s desire for and interest in sex. Prescription
medications that belong on this list include antidepressants, tranquilizers,
anti-ulcer drugs, diuretics, anti-hypertensives (for high blood pressure),
psychotropics (for mental illness), opiates (for pain) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
(NSAID’s). Over-the-counter drugs to remember are those used for coughs, colds
2) Depression. This factor is the second most commonly overlooked, despite
the fact that depression is the most frequently encountered
emotional/psychological problem in modern America. It’s a real sex-drive zapper,
and it can easily escape the notice of driven, motivated, high-functioning
individuals who don’t realize that they’re depressed.
3) Pornography and Sex Addiction. This villain is making its evil influence
felt in the lives of an increasing number of otherwise respectable Christian men
(and women). Many therapists report that pornography is moving to the top of the
list as a cause for husbands’ decreased interest in their wives. Ironically,
sexual release through porn addiction and self-stimulation, combined with deep
feelings of guilt over a secret, double life, often lead to the development of a
kind of "sexual anorexia."
4) Childhood Experiences. Many men make the mistake of thinking that they
were not sexually abused if they were never sexually touched. But simply seeing
sexually explicit material at a young age can sometimes result in permanent
mental scars, unless the individual in question is treated by a qualified
therapist. Other negative childhood influences include poor body image, too
little bonding with parents and family members or too much smothering by a boy’s
5) Sexual Inexperience or Performance Anxiety. Believe it or not, many men
are extremely insecure when it comes to sexual prowess. Self-doubt can cause a
husband to feel defeated before he even starts. Fears arising from inexperience
can often be resolved with education and the patient understanding of a loving
wife. Performance anxiety, on the other hand, is sometimes connected with deeper
issues unrelated to sex, and in such cases it can only be overcome with the help
of a qualified therapist.
6) Stress. Stress is such a familiar part of modern life that many couples
end up accepting it as a "third marriage partner." Over-commitment and over-work
leave husbands and wives with no time and no energy for the fun part of
marriage. Even life-changes that are usually perceived as positive – a
promotion, a new home or the arrival of a baby – have a way of consuming energy
and thus hampering a normal sex drive.
7) Erectile Dysfunction. It’s important to point out that impotence, or ED,
is not technically the same thing as loss of libido. Still, when one is present,
the other is usually soon to follow. Hormonal issues also play a role in this
frustrating drama – lowered testosterone levels can add to the vicious cycle.
Here, as in so many other areas, health problems rarely occur in isolation.
8) Street Drugs and Alcohol. Despite their reputation for reducing sexual
inhibitions, either of these can also have the long-term effect of decreasing
9) Illness, Aging and Pain. It should be obvious that all of these factors
diminish a person’s ability to experience sexual pleasure. As a result, they
also chip away at sexual desire. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to detect a
connection between them and a loss of healthy libido. You and your husband may
need to consult two or three different physicians before finding one who is
competent to diagnose the real problem.
10) Relationship Problems. In some cases, the role of relational issues in
precipitating sexual dysfunction is fairly obvious. In others it’s harder to
discern. Some couples mistakenly believe that they can leave their unresolved
conflicts at the bedroom door. Perhaps you and your spouse need to do some
soul-searching. Do you have good conflict resolution skills? Are you subtly
putting your husband down or disrespecting him in other ways? If you are, you
shouldn’t be surprised if his interest in you begins to wane.