argar

Low Sex Drive Stigma

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argar

I read this article and though it made some interesting and relevant points.

 

There is a stigma against men when it comes to having a "low sex drive."

 

This article examines this issue.

 

I hope you find it equally interesting.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/myths-desire/201703/why-men-experience-low-sexual-desire-and-what-do-about-it

 

 

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RoseGoesToYale

I like that this article makes the distinction between problematic/distressing low sex drive and plain ole low sex drive. I've run across others that either conflate all low sex drive in men as problematic or dismiss it as a problem altogether.

 

"Other factors associated with problematic low sexual desire in men include restrictive attitudes toward sexuality, a lack of erotic thoughts during sexual encounters, concerns about erections, sadness, and shame. And there are those who suggest that men’s low sexual desire is actually a mask for some other experiences, such as an attempt to conceal atypical arousal patterns, compulsive masturbation to pornography, repressed issues regarding one's sexual orientation, or a history of sexual trauma."

 

I found this paragraph most interesting. Typically when you think of restricted sexuality and shame regarding sex, you think of women, because a lot of girls learn from a young age that they should be pure, innocent, or to not engage in a lot sexual activity, especially with more than one person. This paragraph would suggest that men are also picking up ideas that they too should be restrained in sexual matters. The question is now: where are these notions being learned? And who is imparting the shame?

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AwkwardGuy

Some men feel quite a bit of shame and fear related to erectile difficulties.  The male sexual anatomy (MSA) is often very sensitive to physical health, mental health, and the man's general disposition regarding what does or doesn't arouse him. It is that way for women and other gender categories as well. However, when the MSA does not function according to how people expect it or want it to function, it is very obvious. It is not something that can be hidden or even worked around, if intercourse and other activities requiring an erection are very important to one or both lovers. The man will sometimes blame himself, or try to find some reason to blame his lover, or the lover will engage in the self-blame of not feeling sufficient enough to arouse the other. 

 

All of this has been a major issue for me in past relationships, since I've always struggled with ED. The misunderstandings regarding my condition have been the cause of some relationships ending. Sometimes it didn't matter how much my partner assured me that is was no big deal, I still felt like a failure, disappointment, and that I had hurt the feelings of my partner.  It also triggered my fear that my partner would replace me in that way, or in every way. This has certainly contributed to the withdrawal of my libido over time, along with other factors. After a while, my body began to chronically freeze up in intimate situations.

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oldgeeza

I've had erectile dysfunction since I was 19, because I have no interest in having sexual intercourse, I've never seen it as an issue, I actually find that other guys are more embarrassed about it, I'm open about it, it's not a problem. Back in 2007, I was paralysed, it turned out I had spinal issues, but whilst having tests done, the doctor shoved her finger up my backside and became seriously concerned when I didn't have an erection, she was looking at more serious issues, I explained to her that I hadn't had an erection since I was 19, I was 40 at the time, apparently, although I didn't fully understand all she said, partly because I was in so much pain, but the blood rushes through the veins and causes a reaction, because I hadn't experienced an erection for so long, the veins had shrunk and weren't able to take a sudden rush, or something like that, but as I only use my penis to pass water, that's all I need it for, when she asked why I hadn't sought medical help, I just pointed to my face and stated that no one is that desperate.

 

When I did try and have sex, an erection only lasted until I got inside the woman, it took forever to get an erection, it lasted for seconds when it did come up, although I look at women, regardless of my lack of looks, I never see them in a sexual light

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AwkwardGuy

I've always had ED within relationships. In my twenties and thirties, it was primarily a physical reaction to my fears, and so the degree of ED varied, depending upon how a woman reacted to my issues. If she could make me feel safe and loved enough, then I could "sometimes" overcome it to some degree.. However, intercourse always presented the most difficult problem for me. It was not something that I had ever developed a desire for. I was not repulsed by it, but yet it was not a source of arousal for me, not enough to overcome my fears. I was more aroused by the sensual aspects of caressing and touching, and situational triggers, but the women I knew wanted more than that, which led to some humiliating situations for me. By the time I got to age 50, I was exhausted and deeply depressed from all disappointments and humiliations, and my ED became pretty much constant. Health issues probably made it even worse. I went through a cuckold fantasy stage after that, but I think that was a symptom of how despondent I was feeling.

 

Anyway, now, I Just don't have much libido in my body anymore. I sometimes feel an attraction to women on a mental and emotional level, but it no longer translates into arousal in my body. I still have some erotic daydreams, but they arouse my brain, not my body. And even the daydreams seem to be diminishing in scope and intensity.

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oldgeeza

I'll be honest in saying that I'm in my 50's now, my last relationship was back in 1991, it wasn't due to ED, more that I was always being cheated on, again, that didn't lead to ED, I just never had any desire for, I still feel attraction to women, but I never have had sexual thoughts, kissing, cuddling, holding hands etc, but never any sexual thoughts.

 

I have never felt depressed or even as though I was broken, I suppose I've always been pretty black and white about things, it's a fact of life, get on with it attitude, my family have had more issues with it than I have, my friends accept it, as far as I'm concerned, I've got this far in life, it hasn't affected me, so I just carry on regardless

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AwkwardGuy

Relationships are often difficult, with or without ED. I was betrayed a lot too in the past. 

 

You sound very much at peace with who you are and your life. That is a good thing for anyone, regardless of how they relate to others. You are certainly NOT broken, as you've mentioned. You are living your life the way you choose to, and not trying to be what others expect.

 

I wish I could say that I'm at peace with my life, but that is not the case. I've not been able to have or experience most of what I had wanted, because of my anxieties and phobias.  But now it has advanced to a new phase, where my body has disconnected from my mind, with the weird result that my mind wants things that my body is indifferent to.

 

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oldgeeza

@AwkwardGuy, I actually went through that phase in my early 40's after I had spinal problems, my grandmother passing, being suspended from work due to false allegations, my sister deciding to reject me, my housemate becoming a coke addict, another friend hanging themselves, and many other issues, it was the worst year of my life to date, for a long time, things just passed me by, I was working and living away from my home, then as I mentioned, my sister no longer wanted to bother with me, my father and his side of the family were long gone by then, my mother decided I was being awkward and blaming her for not having a relationship, family pressures, at this stage, I hadn't discovered the term asexual, I didn't even have a computer or access to a computer back then, so as far as I was concerned, I was broken, so for a while, after 16 years on my own, I tried to find a partner but for the wrong reasons, it didn't work, no one wanted to know a 40 year old who looks 60, I was just  seen as a dirty old man, then I thought, what the hell am I doing? I'm doing this to be someone in my family, not for me, I knew I wasn't ready for a relationship, back then, the thought of sex, I hadn't had an erection since I was 19, what made me think it was ever going to work? I was trying to do what society thinks everyone should do, not what I wanted or needed, all the other issues were still there, and there I was trying to appease others, it wasn't destined to be, I knew that in my heart of hearts, I sat down when the house was empty, back then I smoked, I went out the side of the house where no one would see me, lit up a cigarette, sat down with a pad and pen and wrote everything down as it went through my head, a pack of 20 cigarettes later, bad breath, it was now dark, I looked at myself, thought about my situation, that's when I grew a pair and said to myself, this is who I am, if others don't like it, well, tough, I wasn't and still am not ready for a live in relationship, I don't think I ever will be, I look, I don't touch, I admit, I do look at the Ukrainian ladies dating sites even now, I know I can't have, I can't give a woman what she needs, I couldn't satisfy their needs, so just look and fantasise, and yes I still do that, but the reality is, this is me, this is how I am, how I will be, and it works for me, I'm comfortable in my single persons bedsit, when I moved here, I knew it was only big enough for one person, it's got a sofa bed, a table and a couple of chairs, the room is full, I spent a lot on it making it my own, I have all I need, I have more than enough to occupy myself, I have some of the best friends anyone could wish for, I get to spend time with my godchildren, I go for walks or cycling, I don't have to cater for anyone else, it may sound a bit selfish, but between work, and my outside life, I haven't got time for a relationship and to be answerable to others, I'm on here for maybe an hour or so at a time, once a day, I don't even own a TV as I don't have time to watch it, I've just made my life around what I have, for me, it works

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AwkwardGuy

@Oldgezza, I think that our sense of happiness and fulfillment depends to a large degree on how we assign value to what we have and don't have. If a person finds more value in what he has versus what he doesn't have, then he feels pretty good about his life.  If the scale is tipped in the other direction, assigning a lot of value to what he is not able to have, then he probably feels frustrated and depressed much of the time. From what you've described, you seem like a content person, at peace with your circumstances, and happy with what you have.

 

As for myself, I've lost something that was of high value to me - my libido. No matter how bad my life was in the past, I had a strong libido that kept my mind, body, and heart in a state of anticipation and readiness for good things to come my way, and it gave me the ability to act on those opportunities, even if in a dysfunctional manner.

 

This is not what I envisioned for my life, to be complaining about the loss of my sex drive or libido at age 54. I highly valued my libido, even though I had ED all my life and had very few intimate encounters - most of those being negative experiences. My libido felt empowering to me, as it fueled my imagination and creative self, and always left me with a sense of hope that my most cherished wishes could come true one day, intimate and otherwise. To lose that feels devastating to me. I feel like a tired old man much of the time now.

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oldgeeza
22 minutes ago, AwkwardGuy said:

@Oldgezza, I think that our sense of happiness and fulfillment depends to a large degree on how we assign value to what we have and don't have. If a person finds more value in what he has versus what he doesn't have, then he feels pretty good about his life.  If the scale is tipped in the other direction, assigning a lot of value to what he is not able to have, then he probably feels frustrated and depressed much of the time. From what you've described, you seem like a content person, at peace with your circumstances, and happy with what you have.

 

As for myself, I've lost something that was of high value to me - my libido. No matter how bad my life was in the past, I had a strong libido that kept my mind, body, and heart in a state of anticipation and readiness for good things to come my way, and it gave me the ability to act on those opportunities, even if in a dysfunctional manner.

 

This is not what I envisioned for my life, to be complaining about the loss of my sex drive or libido at age 54. I highly valued my libido, even though I had ED all my life and had very few intimate encounters - most of those being negative experiences. My libido felt empowering to me, as it fueled my imagination and creative self, and always left me with a sense of hope that my most cherished wishes could come true one day, intimate and otherwise. To lose that feels devastating to me. I feel like a tired old man much of the time now.

@AwkwardGuyjust out of interest, have you sought any form of medical help for this? I ask because I have a friend who lost his libido, obviously, I'm no expert in this field, but he felt very embarrassed by the whole situation, I kept on at him to seek medical advice but he wouldn't for years, then that fateful day came where he went to seek out medical advice, he didn't say anything to me for a couple of years, but after a night on the town, he admitted that he finally sought medical help and that it had worked out well for him, although he and his partner have now split up, he was with her for quite a few years, he was content after seeking that advice, he's 60 now and still got it all going for him, it might be worth biting the bullet and giving it a go

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AwkwardGuy

It is not a medical issue at its source, even though it is affecting me physically. Something like diminished testosterone levels could be one physical manifestation of it, but this is a symptom, not the source of my issue. I'm experiencing this on all levels...physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, etc. Trying to patch it up by eliminating some of the physical symptoms would not be a solution for me. I would never use an ED medication for the same reason. Having an erection with no emotional arousal is not something that would fulfill me or replace all that I've lost. Yes, I would be able to go through the motions with a woman, pretending to be fully aroused on all levels, but I would just be lying to her and myself.  I have a long history of anxiety and phobias affecting my sexual performance. And I have a long history of feeling humiliated by rejection in many relationships. All of these issues, along with a few other issues, have weakened my libido over time, or at least significantly contributed to this. So, this is something I need to deal with.

 

About 10 years ago, I agreed to try Paxil for my anxiety/depression. What I discovered was that it reduced my anxiety, but only because it dulled my brain. I felt dead inside from the medication, and even though I did not have my acute anxiety/depression symptoms anymore. I still worried and still felt sad, and so the medication fixed nothing...it only covered it over. The medication did not fix the source of what bothered me...it only erased some of the symptoms. And the medication almost destroyed my liver, which is why I needed to stop it after a year. Yes, it would be interesting to try some testosterone boosting medication, but I will not go that route, since it is too dangerous. It is a fact that testosterone boosting medications result in cancerous tumors in some men. And even if that were not the case, I'm sure that testosterone supplements would produce an unbalanced effect on me, just like the Paxil. My body would be turned on, so to speak, but psychologically I would still be turned off. I'm just not a fan of medical solutions when it comes to the human psyche, since the people who make and prescribe these medications, really don't understand the source of neurological and psychologically based issues. They just try to treat the internal symptoms and side effects of them.

 

For me, I will either regain my libido through just living my life and encountering something that brings it back, or I will need to accept the reality of life without libido, and work around that in some way. If I were a guy who would be thrilled with just having an erection and making women happy, then I would try everything that medicine had to offer. I might even be willing to have one of those artificial erection pumps installed inside me. However, libido and sexuality are much larger than that for me. They rise to the spiritual level for me. I don't mean to get religious here, but I'm just being honest. If God wants me to be this way and deal with this, then it is just my fate and Karma.

 

I wrote in my profile that I'm an Ensenisexual and Requiessexual. A requiessexual does not experience sexual attraction/desire due to emotional exhaustion or trauma, which I think is very close to the truth for me. An ensenisexual is a person who experiences sexual attraction or desire only when moved by intense emotions. I believe that an intense emotional experience is probably my only hope for changing the direction of my libido or bringing it back to life. Although, I don't know how that will happen at this stage of my life. I will leave it to my fate though. It is not something that I can manufacture.

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Treesarepretty

I know that I am jumping into this discussion late, but there is something that caught my attention. 

On 1/12/2018 at 7:59 AM, RoseGoesToYale said:

"Other factors associated with problematic low sexual desire in men include restrictive attitudes toward sexuality, a lack of erotic thoughts during sexual encounters, concerns about erections, sadness, and shame. And there are those who suggest that men’s low sexual desire is actually a mask for some other experiences, such as an attempt to conceal atypical arousal patterns, compulsive masturbation to pornography, repressed issues regarding one's sexual orientation, or a history of sexual trauma."

 

I found this paragraph most interesting. Typically when you think of restricted sexuality and shame regarding sex, you think of women, because a lot of girls learn from a young age that they should be pure, innocent, or to not engage in a lot sexual activity, especially with more than one person. This paragraph would suggest that men are also picking up ideas that they too should be restrained in sexual matters. The question is now: where are these notions being learned? And who is imparting the shame?

On youtube there is a man who calls himself prplfox and has a beautiful series on deconverting from Christianity. In one part he talks about the shame associated with male sexuality with support groups that deal with sin, particularly masturbation. One phrase he mentions is that thinking of someone sexually is "raping them in your mind." 

 

For my part, I thought during my teenage years that thinking of someone in a sexual way was disrespectful, and that if you knew them personally then it bordered on cruel. I thought of myself as very weak willed because I couldn't stop masturbating for more than a week at a time, except one time at 14 I managed it for over a month and one time at 15 I managed it for 2 weeks. I don't hold these opinions anymore--my mind is MY space, dammit--but I can very much identify with feeling guilty about wanting sex, even if it didn't affect my own drive. 

 

I have noticed that it is a theme among asexuals on AVEN that sex is promoted in the media and therefore they feel alienated, but it is also the case that being too sexual is shown as bad in the media. If you are dating someone and you want sex and they do not it is easy to picture yourself as the shallow asshole that she starts with at the beginning of the story and to want to supress that in favor of "real love" so that you can become the good person whom she ends up with. 

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Deus Ex Infinity
On 12.1.2018 at 2:58 PM, argar said:

I read this article and though it made some interesting and relevant points.

 

There is a stigma against men when it comes to having a "low sex drive."

 

This article examines this issue.

 

I hope you find it equally interesting.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/myths-desire/201703/why-men-experience-low-sexual-desire-and-what-do-about-it

 

 

Yes, It's been a very interesting read! Thanks for sharing.

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Zatarra
On 1/13/2018 at 12:14 PM, oldgeeza said:

@AwkwardGuy, I actually went through that phase in my early 40's after I had spinal problems, my grandmother passing, being suspended from work due to false allegations, my sister deciding to reject me, my housemate becoming a coke addict, another friend hanging themselves, and many other issues, it was the worst year of my life to date, for a long time, things just passed me by, I was working and living away from my home, then as I mentioned, my sister no longer wanted to bother with me, my father and his side of the family were long gone by then, my mother decided I was being awkward and blaming her for not having a relationship, family pressures, at this stage, I hadn't discovered the term asexual, I didn't even have a computer or access to a computer back then, so as far as I was concerned, I was broken, so for a while, after 16 years on my own, I tried to find a partner but for the wrong reasons, it didn't work, no one wanted to know a 40 year old who looks 60, I was just  seen as a dirty old man, then I thought, what the hell am I doing? I'm doing this to be someone in my family, not for me, I knew I wasn't ready for a relationship, back then, the thought of sex, I hadn't had an erection since I was 19, what made me think it was ever going to work? I was trying to do what society thinks everyone should do, not what I wanted or needed, all the other issues were still there, and there I was trying to appease others, it wasn't destined to be, I knew that in my heart of hearts, I sat down when the house was empty, back then I smoked, I went out the side of the house where no one would see me, lit up a cigarette, sat down with a pad and pen and wrote everything down as it went through my head, a pack of 20 cigarettes later, bad breath, it was now dark, I looked at myself, thought about my situation, that's when I grew a pair and said to myself, this is who I am, if others don't like it, well, tough, I wasn't and still am not ready for a live in relationship, I don't think I ever will be, I look, I don't touch, I admit, I do look at the Ukrainian ladies dating sites even now, I know I can't have, I can't give a woman what she needs, I couldn't satisfy their needs, so just look and fantasise, and yes I still do that, but the reality is, this is me, this is how I am, how I will be, and it works for me, I'm comfortable in my single persons bedsit, when I moved here, I knew it was only big enough for one person, it's got a sofa bed, a table and a couple of chairs, the room is full, I spent a lot on it making it my own, I have all I need, I have more than enough to occupy myself, I have some of the best friends anyone could wish for, I get to spend time with my godchildren, I go for walks or cycling, I don't have to cater for anyone else, it may sound a bit selfish, but between work, and my outside life, I haven't got time for a relationship and to be answerable to others, I'm on here for maybe an hour or so at a time, once a day, I don't even own a TV as I don't have time to watch it, I've just made my life around what I have, for me, it works

For a younger Ace this is quite inspiring to read. I tend to worry to much about 'societal pressures'

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