Men Say No to Sex More Than You Think

a man refusing to have sex with his woman

The old stereotype where the man wants sex and the woman says she has a headache/stomachache/early day tomorrow might not be as accurate as you think. Seems men are turning women down, too.

An article by a female author in GQ explores this idea.

She writes, “To be fair (and painfully obvious): Men are human, too. You guys have feelings and problems and hungers that sometimes take precedence over boning. Maybe you had too many beers and are experiencing acute alcohol-related performance anxiety. Or maybe your not-in-the-moodness has to do with something bigger: the ubiquity of porn–effortlessly consumed like a drive-through value meal–or some existential male malaise that Zach Braff will surely explore in his next movie.”

Or, as is much more likely, we’re just tired and not particularly inspired to do the exact same thing to the exact same person again. Steak is great. You just wouldn’t want to eat it every single night. You know what I’m saying?

The author accidentally stumbles into an excellent point: the idea that, since it doesn’t cost a guy very much and it keeps you happy, he should just get it up and please you. “Just try saying yes to us more often. Even if you’re a little tired. Even if Mumford & Sons are doing that namby-pamby forest jig thing you like so much on Fallon. (DVR, dude.) We’ll be happier, so by Newton’s Law of Relationships, you will be, too. And I also can pretty much guarantee you won’t regret getting busy, either. It’s not a trip to the dentist’s chair, it’s sex.”

Amen. Apply that exact same “just say yes” advice to women who aren’t in the mood and we’ll have a lot more happy marriages.

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  1. 1

    AMEN!   I used to be one of those women who complained about horny boyfriends   until I was in a relationship that went sour and my man would only have begrudging sex with me once or twice/ month.   That was an eye-opener; I realised how tough it can be to constantly rebuffed.
    Since then, I try to give an enthusiastic YES when I’m in a committed relationship and I hope that men will do the same.   If you’re tired, it’s okay to say something along the lines of, “I totally want to do this but I’m exhausted so would you mind if we didn’t make this one a Marathon session?”   If you have some reason you really don’t want to, that’s fine too, but the manner of declining is important. “Baby – I’ve got a squash game with Bill in 45 minutes.   I should go but then we’ll have all afternoon to do naughty things in bed,” sounds like a lot more fun than, “No.”
    Oh, and I know that most men think that their penises are pure magic but if yours isn’t up to the task, TRUST ME, no woman will complain if you “only” use your skilled fingers or tongue.
    And, Gentle Readers: Please take note.   Some of have complained that Evan is sexist bc he tells women to make compromises to keep their men happy.   Although his readership/target audience is overwhelmingly female, he clearly thinks what works for the goose is what works for the gander.

  2. 2

    Great post!
    You are spot on!
    Just say YES!   Amen to that!   When two people are in a committed, monogamous relationship they can only get sex one place.   When one or the other doesn’t want sex it doesn’t leave their partner with many options.    If your you don’t have much time or you are too tired for the full-meal-deal, quickies are an excellent choice.

  3. 3

    There are two basic reasons that people want to have sex:
    !) because they feel needy,
    2)To share love, passion, warmth and connection.
    When you approach your partner from a place of wanting to get something, you are coming from a needy state. Neediness is unattractive in an adult And is not   erotic for your partner. Your neediness may result in your partner feeling used rather than aroused.
    If you use sex in the first way that is when problems occurs and the realtionship dies. And is more cases that not the wife wants out. Biggest reason for wives wanting divorce is this emotional disconnection.
    Wanting sex to share love from an emotionally connected place comes from a completely different place inside than sex to get somethingSo if one person wants to have sex and the other doesn’t ask yourself what is the reason you are wanting sex. Hve you become emotionally disconnected?
    If you have sex to appease another person you are abandoning and emotionally disconnection from yourself and the other person.

  4. 4
    Valery North

    Well, I’ve got to disagree that, “It doesn’t cost a guy very much”.     Just as I would disagree that, “It doesn’t cost a woman very much”.     How much it costs depends on the people, the situation, the mood and emotional background, and it’s not up to anyone except the person saying “no”, how much it would cost them to say “yes”.
    I’ve adopted as the motto for my blog, “If you wait for the right moment, you could be waiting forever”, so I’m in favour of having a policy of saying “yes” more often (in general, not just with sex), but even so there are some times or things to which “no” is still the best or only answer.     So if the idea of sex starts off as “meh” rather than “ick”, then I can see the case for choosing to please one’s partner and see if the build-up (foreplay, dirty talk, whatever) makes it feel more enticing – the classic “motivation follows action” saying that I also am working on developing in my life.     But sometimes motivation doesn’t follow action, and if not, then it’s better to stop.
    Ultimately, how many people want to have sex with someone who isn’t enjoying it?     How satisfying or pleasing is that, really?     Suggesting “say yes more” is a magical answer to sexual satisfaction for one’s partner (or oneself) seems ludicrous to me.

  5. 5
    Some other guy

    Holy crap, Rose @#3 is a serious downer.
    It’s of course great when a couple’s intimate time is mutual and passionate, but as with many areas in life, interests and appetites will rarely be in sync at every moment of the day or night..
    We’re not talking about a woman telling the guy “Hey, I really need to get off, can you help?” (which is not attractive), but the woman feeling close to her partner and wanting to share some intimate time.
    Yes, it’s possible (and common) that relationship issues could lead to general lack of interest – which sex won’t fix – but not everybody is in the mood at the same time.
    What Rose is suggesting that if you’re not in the mood, the high road to take is to reject your partner.

  6. 6

    The article is funny and true. No boyfriend (nor my ex-husband) could ever keep up with me, my labido has always been higher than theirs. Sex 4 or 5 times a week doesn’t seem out of line to me. Getting turned down a lot is a downer and tends to make a woman feel not-so-beautiful or desired. But I like this article because the author puts a fun spin on things and helped me to see the humorous side.

  7. 7

    …hhhhmmhh…I remember saying no, to partners I was sexually incompatible with..

  8. 8

    Some Other Guy @5:
    Oh was it another sex-should-always-be-a spiritual-and-transcendent-experience thing again? I skip her posts, so I didn’t read it.
    Certainly, sex is  often  a  deep and personal connection.   But, in my experience, it’s  also  often just  a lot of fun and giggling.  Sometimes it’s a passionate and intense blowing off of steam.  And, yes, sometimes it’s about accommodating the other person with a quickie for one reason or another.   That’s life. Yay for the variety of human emotion.
    Like the author, I don’t think I’m an unreliable narrator.   I’m a 61 y.o. grandmother. I vote for Yes.

  9. 9

    @ Amy # 6
    I know how you feel.   4 or 5 times a week is definitely not out of line!  
    @ hunter # 7
    If you were sexually incompatible… why were you partners?   (Bet you weren’t partners for long.)
    @ WaterDragon # 8
    You stoled the words right out of my mouth… (or is that stoled the words from beneath my fingers?)   My mother (who is 78) has a motto when it comes to sex… “Waste not, want not.”   Amen to that!!!!!

  10. 10

    #3, #5, #8
    I’m all for neediness!   If you can’t come to (and with!) your partner when you’re feeling turned on, what is the point of being in a committed relationship?   In a certain way, it is incredibly empowering to know that you can make someone’s day just by giving to them sexually.   I love sex and really miss it in my life now, but even when I was in a relationship, I figured that it was a very easy and primal gift that I could give my partner.   While I don’t advocate doing things that one feels are degrading or dehumanizing, I don’t understand how someone can turn their partner away for intellectualized reasons such as Rose mentions in #3.   I liken it to not feeding your child because they are crying about being hungry.   Sure, perhaps crying or whining about it is bad form, but a compassionate person will still will do whatever they can to help meet their needs.   I think the same should go for both men and women with sex in committed relationships.
    If only I could find a slightly perverted, yet otherwise decent and committed man.   Are these qualities mutually exclusive?

    1. 10.1

      sarahrahrah!, I definately agree with you on the hungry child analogy. I’m actually in a relationship right now where it’s me wanting sex “4 or 5 times a week” and my boyfriend is often not interested, lol. This is very ironic because I used to be married to a man that had hurt me so many times in so many ways that, no matter how much I had forgiven him, I simply could not “get the juices flowing” for him, and gave him sex as rarely as possible. Couldn’t stand the thought of sharing my body with him.
      And now, I’m in a relationship where I’m the one who seems to always want sex! (Except I don’t think my boyfriend hates the idea of pleasing me, his libido is just lower than mine, which I’m hearing is typical.)
      Even though I agree with the “hungry child” analogy, I have come to realize a few things over the course of the last few weeks.

      I used to feel “dirty” because I wanted sex so much more often than “the guy” in the relationship, and began to wonder if something was wrong with me. But to be fair, the guy can have sex any day of the month he wants, while, being female, I spend 25% of every month unable to enjoy the best part of my body, lol! So it stands to reason that my libido might be more “concentrated” into the other three weeks of the month. So now, I feel a little less guilty, not that I should have felt guilty in the first place.
      I had a talk with my boyfriend and told him how the disparity between our sexual appetites made me feel like he wasn’t attracted to me. He promised that it had nothing to do with me; sometimes he just feels a certain type of way, and doesn’t want to have sex. While I can’t quite understand that at this point in my life, knowing that did make me feel a little better.
      Here’s the most important realization:Even though we are in a committed relationship, men still like to chase their women, and my man is no exception. I’ve learned to stop “offering/throwing” myself at him, lol. And just be patient. Eventually he does come around, its always a very pleasant surprise, and I no longer torture myself by getting us both all riled up only to hear him say that he “doesn’t want to do that right now.” Plus personally, it’s not quite satisfying to have sex that doesn’t involve the guy trying to entice me. Part of the reason I like to have sex is because I like to feel desired and physically appreciated, and that’s hard to feel that way when I’m the one initiating everything. So I just surrender and wait patiently. It kind of sucks, but I spent years in my unhappy marriage figuring out how to squash my sexual urges, so placing a cap on it for a few days at time shouldn’t be so difficult, lol.

  11. 11
    Sparkling Emerald

    Rose –
           When two people are in love, in a committed monogamous relationship, every single act of sex doesn’t have to be some tantric, soul connecting,other worldly experience, because the overall relationship is one that is loving and committed. So AFIC, every act of making love is special, even if one partner is more in the giving mode and the other is more in the receiving mode. Maybe even ESPECIALLY when it comes from that place.
         And when did having needs become a BAD thing ?   And when did meeting your partners needs become a bad thing ?   Sometimes the most loving thing one can do, is to put your partners needs ahead of your own.
       There’s a word for someone who will NEVER do something just because   their partner wants or needs it, but will only do things their way, on their timetable according to their moods, their needs and their wants.   That word is selfish.

  12. 12

    The post forgets the most important aspect of why men tend to lose interest in sex, and that’s lack of testosterone. I see it in my practice more often than not that men’s hormon levels are/got totally out of balance over time.  
    Two of the most common reasons: their bodies (just as everyone’s, by the way), are flooded with too much estrogen and estrogen mimicking substances, which gets the estrogen/testosterone ration out of balance.  
    The second reason is stress. If a man has too much stress over too long a period of time, the adrenals aren’t able to produce enough cortisol to lower his stress levels. In order to bring them down anyway, testosterone is used to produce cortisol, which of course lowers a man’s testosterone level.
    Lack of interest in sex in a man is a SYMPTOM that has to be taken seriously! If the hormonal imbalances aren’t corrected the consequences are often depression and other diseases.
    I hope this sheds another light on the content of this post.

  13. 13

    Sheesh Rose. No, those are not the only reasons people want to have sex.
    Sex is *pleasurable* and feels extremely good.   Sometimes people are just horny and it is not a profound and sweeping commentary on the state of the relationship.

  14. 14

    I agree Valery.

  15. 15
    Karl T

    LOL…you skip her posts.   I see I’m not the only one.  
    #5 LOL as well.
    She’s bringing up sex as using people yet again and this time we’re talking about married people- last time it was casual sex.  

  16. 16

      Rose has such a distorted view of things when it comes to sex. All her posts follow the same theme. I said last week that I   would bet $100 that she has been pumped and dumped more than once. I am doubling down to $200.
    As for the topic at hand, I think the “tired” thing can sometimes be an excuse. If you get a boner when your girl tries to initiate then you do it. If you cant quite get there, then you use that “tired”   excuse. It has happened to me before where my girl wanted sex but nothing was happening on my end so I said I was tired. But an hour later a Woodrow Wilson appeared and I was waking her up. Did 1 hour of sleep cure my tiredness? Nope. But since I was ready to go, all of a sudden I wasn’t tired anymore. Most times it can happen on demand. But other times, there is a tape delay so to speak and you need to buy some time. That’s where a guy saying he is tired comes in handy.

  17. 17

    Alisah in #12
    What sorts of things in everyday life are mimicking estrogen or are flooding us with estrogen?
    I also thought cortisol was produced BY stress? Along with not enough sleep being a producer of cortisol? And that cortisol will give you a “sweet tooth.”

  18. 18

    Hi Rose! I’ve been a silent reader for 4 years; this is my first time posting. I have a confession to make: I am regularly baffled by the content and intentions of you comments.  
    I get the sense you are a compassionate lady, but for whatever reason, your comments come across as limited in perspective and inappropriate. I’m choosing to believe this is not intentional on your part, and simply an ongoing grammatical error.  
    If this is the case, there’s an easy fix!
    Start getting SPECIFIC about YOU and your PERSONAL EXPERIENCES from YOUR life. If you start sharing your stories rather than general, sweeping statements, there will be no way we can misunderstand what you are trying to communicate. For example:
    You wrote:
    “There are two basic reasons that people want to have sex.”
    Please consider being more specific:
    “There are two basic reasons I (Rose) want to have sex.”
    “A study conducted by (insert relevant reference) claims there are two basic reasons that people want to have sex.”
    Here’s another example:
    You recently wrote:
    “If a man is telling you he is happy to have causal sex, LISTEN he is letting you know that he is happy to use a woman’s body as an object for his own instant self gratification with no regard for the woman as a whole person.”
    Please consider being more specific:
    “I (Rose) once made the error of sleeping with a man who told me he only wanted causal sex, I did not LISTEN. When he left, I felt used because I secretly hoped it would develop into a relationship.”
    “Unfortunately, I (Rose) was taught that sex means a man will use a woman’s body as an object for his own instant self gratification with no regard for the woman as a whole person. Therefore I have unrealistic ideals about sex and have difficulty enjoying sex for the physical act that it is, not even when it is consensual and respectful.”
    Alternatively Rose, maybe you’d like to consider starting your own blog? However, here is not the place… this is Evan’s domain 😉

  19. 19

    Joining the needy crowd here 🙂
    #5 – well, what is a woman supposed to do when she, “really needs to get   off”? What is my partner supposed to do when he really needs to get off? I’d rather have him come to me for that, than have him wait till I’m in the right place spiritually, emotionally and connection-wise, and look for other ways to release his tension until he thinks I’m ready. Unless I just gave birth, had surgery or something similar, I’m going to enjoy it at least to some extent, so 99% of the time I’m not going to say no. On second thought, I can see myself saying no if the sex is consistently horrible, but then he wouldn’t be my partner for long.
    @ Lia, I like your mother’s motto! Hope I’m like that when I am 78!
    @ Alisah 12 — good point. Excessive use of alcohol has the same effect too. As do some serious diseases. Of course this should be factored into the equation. Nobody here advises to force your man to say yes to you when he’s just gone through radiation treatment and doesn’t have the desire or physical capacity. Unfortunately, these things happen.

  20. 20

    Alisah #12-
    The single biggest thing my boyfriend and I fight about is his lack of interest in sex.   The first 5 months, I had frequent, great sex with him.   I thought I hit the jackpot!!Then it just dwindled, now I am lucky if he initiates once a month. He will have sex with me about once a week if I push for it, but he is just not that interested. He would rather sleep!
    He is 53, overweight (around the middle), got killed financially in the downturn so is definitely depressed about that, and tested on the very low end for testosterone.   He does take the testosterone gel (not regularly enough tho!). We have been together for two years, I love this guy, love our chemistry together, but I am thinking of ending the relationship just because of the sex issue! I would love sex 5-7 times a week, will be satisfied with 2-3 times a week, can’t even get that.   He refuses to take “pills”…..
    He says he is attracted to me and I know he loves me a lot, I am 51, in great shape, good in bed…but if I don’t get laid more I will have to hit the road, too young to give it up and I previously  lived in a sexless marriage too damn long….
    So my question is, is there something natural he can do to increase his testosterone?   I try to get him to exercise, he will eat what ever I cook him, so is there something I can feed him to help? Natural supplements?
    BTW, many of my single friends in this age group are all having the same issue with these men. And no, we don’t want younger men, we want men our age who want sex! Is that really too much to ask?   Apparently it is…I hope this is not just the way it is going to be from here on out, or I may just decide to to to the other side!!

    1. 20.1

      @soulsister,   you really are my soulsister, you just wrote my life history of relationships, current one says, he is trying, he;s going to see his doctor, he’ll try harder, sooon, blah blah blah , but after 2 years without sex, I am ready to just give up on him and start over. I’m too old for his crap.

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