Low libido isn't just a lady problem! But what's a girl to do when her guy's the one turning down lovin'?
It's 2015—and even though views on sexuality are ever-changing, we're still programmed (to some extent) to believe that men want sex...constantly. So it's hard not to take it personally when you're ready to go and your guy just isn't in the mood! (Are we right?) The good news: You're probably not the reason he'd rather watch Netflix and take a nap, says psychologist Tracy Thomas, Ph.D.
According to Thomas, libido can be negatively affected by a myriad of things, including dehydration, sleep deprivation, an imbalance of hormones, stress at work, and performance anxiety. "There are lots of reasons, both psychological and physiological, that his sex drive might be lower than usual," Thomas says. "For one thing, men are socialized to think they need to be inherently good at things—and they're more likely to feel like a bad performance might end up defining who they are, sexually. So they're more likely to opt out of something like sex, rather than risk not being able to bring their A-game."
Of course, fixing your partner's sex drive is not quite as easy as fixing your own (Here are 6 Ways to Boost Your Low Libido), but that doesn't mean you should sit on the sidelines and hope he figures it out. Here, how to assist (and support) your guy when he's feeling less than frisky.
Give It Some Time
"It's very rare for a couple to have sustained similar sex drives," says marriage, family, and sex therapist Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D. "There will always be periods in your relationship when you have a higher or lower sex drive than your partner. It's important to not catastrophize the situation." In other words, his low sex drive might just be a natural phase, not something to be concerned about.
Before you jump to conclusions about libido, Van Kirk suggests taking seemingly unrelated factors—if he's stressing about a possible promotion at work, or even if his favorite sports team is taking a beating—into account. These things can affect his mood, but the effect is probably only temporary. Give him a week or two before you start expressing concerns about your sex life.
Be a Team Player
Everybody has an ego and it's tied (at least partly) to your virility. So you're right: A conversation about his low sex drive is probably going to be difficult. But that doesn't mean you should avoid talking about it, Van Kirk says. Just make sure you come at it from the right place.
"He needs to know that you don't judge him, or think he's less of a man, because he's not jumping you every chance he gets," Van Kirk says. "Don't start the conversation by asking him why he doesn't want to have sex anymore." Instead of focusing on him, focus on the two of you as a team. After all, in a monogamous relationship, his sex drive is as much your problem as it is his. "Use 'I' statements, like 'I feel like we're not having sex as often,'" she says. "Ask how you can address the problem as a team, not how you can fix him."
A 2012 University of Texas study found that women in love are less likely to initiate sex. But if you're always waiting for him to make the first move, you may find yourself disappointed, Thomas says. (After all, men want to feel wanted too!) According to Thomas, it's important that you don't just make the first move to get the ball rolling—you also need to be able to take the lead and express how much you want him without expecting anything in return. "Don't be the girl who initiates sex and then gets offended when he doesn't jump into it," Thomas says. "Pouting or expressing disappointment will only reinforce his fears about performance."
Instead of blaming him for the fact that you're not having sex, Thomas says you should continually express your attraction to him. "Everything doesn't have to come from a sexual place," she says. "Don't take inventory—just let him know that you want him." (And once you get back in the sack, make sure to follow these tips to Have an Amazing Orgasm!)
Consider an Internal Roadblock
Even if your sex life is stellar, it's never a bad idea to get some bloodwork done. There are plenty of physiological reasons your guy could be lacking libido, Thomas says, including easily-fixed issues like vitamin deficiencies—especially vitamins D, D3, and B12, which all help with energy levels. Even dehydration can zap his energy—an in turn, his libido. Of course, another common sex-drive-sucking issue is low testosterone. "Low testosterone isn't just something men over the age of 45 suffer from," Thomas says. "Stress and lack of sleep can drastically lower testosterone, even in young men." While low testosterone is more common in men over 30, his testosterone levels can be affected by weight, smoking, drinking, and diabetes. If you're worried, hit up a doctor to get his testosterone levels checked, as well as cortisol (stress), serotonin, and dopamine levels.