|If either of these individuals remind you of yourself, you should reduce his stress levels.|
If we put faith in the results of a recent European study from the Department of Clinical Psychology at the Instituto Universitário in Lisbon, Portugal, the Department of Psychology at the University of Tromsø in Tromsø, Norway, and the Sexology Unit at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia, stress is the common denominator that distracts men from their original duty to do what has to be done for the survival of the human race ;-)
Homo coitum quaerens aut evitarens?
It may sound surprising, but unlike sexual function, the sexual desire of the male members of the human race has not been examined as extensively as the one of their female counterparts. When you think about the initially quoted "wisdom", it is actually not that surprising. Men are are after all believed to be always looking for the next "catch".
Sexual disinterest is stressful!
Faced with the surprisingly high rates of sexual disinterest in men, scientists like Mccarthy et al. have already identified several major relationship problems as potential culprits. In view of what you've learned already, it should be obvious that these problems are not necessarily related to the 'classic' mismatch in sexual interests between a hyperactive male and an (under-)active female partner. On the contrary, the data in Figure 1 makes it plain obvious that for men in their thirties, it would not be unlikely that they are disinterested and their wives or girlfriends dissatisfied.
It goes without saying that problems like these and the mismatch between the perceived and the expected level of sexual desire are stressing - very stressing, according to the data Ana Carvalheira's, Bente Træen's and Aleksandar Štulhofer gathered in inteviews with heterosexual men from Portugal, Croatia, and Norway (Carcalheira. 2013):
|Figure 1:Lack of desire and professional stress, two sides of the same coin? Data based on Carcalheira (2013)|
"Stress ⇆ Sexual Disinterest" - it's that easy!
|A 2013 study by Talbott et al. suggests that Tongkat Ali, a traditional testosterone and libido booster works mainly be reducing stress levels (learn more)|
It is thus not really surprising that the data from the Carcalheira study tells us that men who feel distressed about their own lack of libido were 2.5x more likely to suffer from anxiety right before sex and/or have trouble maintaining an erection.
To be stressed or not to be stressed - that's the question!
Just as the cliche would have it, the highly reserved Norwegians were 3x more likely than the red-blooded self-proclaimed Latin lovers from Portugal to suffer from a lack of sexual desire. With a 50% higher risk of losing interest in the other sex, the participants from Croatia end up somewhere in between the 'Latin lovers' and the 'prudish Vikings'.
|Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics, individual variables, and relationship-related characteristics as correlates of a distressing lack of sexual interest among healthy heterosexual men who are not using antidepressants (Carcalheira. 2013)|
What's I personally find quite telling is the high rate of a distressing lack of sexual desire in long-term (5years +) relationships and as a consequence of an indifferent attitude towards the attractiveness of the sexual partner. Interestingly, finding your wife or girlfriend "neither attractive, nor unattractive" is an even greater turn down than thinking of her as a "very unattractive" (see Table 1).
"And that's all stress?"
No, that's not all stress... In the previous paragraph we have already learned about a libido killer that cannot be traced back to stress: The lack of 'adventure', 'novelty' or whatever you may call it - a phenomenon which is probably also the reason that people start looking at their partner as "neither attractive nor unattractive" is another important contributor to sexual disinterested in men. One out of 22 if you will - 22 items on the scientists list of potential causes of a reduced sexual interest:
|Table 2: Self-assessed causes of a reduced sexual interest during the past 6 months among heterosexual Portuguese, Croatian, and Norwegian men in percent (Carvalheira. 2013)|
- Carvalheira A, Træen B, Štulhofer A. Correlates of Men’s Sexual Interest: A Cross-Cultural Study. J Sex Med. 2013 [accepted manuscript]
- Dimou PA, Bacopoulou F, Darviri C, Chrousos GP. Stress management and sexual health of young adults: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Andrologia2013,xx, 1–10 [accepted manuscript]
- Hyde JS. The gender similarities hypothesis. Am Psychol 2005;60:581–92.
- Hyde JS. New directions in the study of gender similarities and differences. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 2007;16:259–63.
- Janssen E, McBride K, Yarber W, Hill B, Butler S. Factors that influence sexual arousal in men: A focus group study. Arch Sex Behav 2008;37:252–65.
- Laumann EO, Nicolosi A, Glasser DB, Paik A, Gingell C, Moreira E, Wang T; GSSAB Investigators’ Group. Sexual problems among women and men aged 40–80 y: Prevalence and correlates identified in the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors. Int J Impot Res 2005;17:39–57
- Mccarthy B, McDonald D. Sex therapy failures: A crucial, yet ignored, issue. J Sex Marital Ther 2009;35:320–9.