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. 21

    Sexual compatibility within a range is important. Open and earnest communication when the compatibility appears missing or has changed even more so.
    I have never been in a relationship where I had sex as frequently as I wanted.   Once a day is about right. Based on my (ahem)self experience 10/week is ideal assuming enough opportunities, and half that would be enough. Unless I am living with someone that level of opportunity doesn’t exist. Having compatibility here is key for my relationships because   making up the difference myself causes difficulties.
    I stop or drastically scale back masturbating when I am in a relationship because it can impact being appropriately stimulated by the real thing.   This creates other difficulties. When we have the opportunity to have sex, some of my partners would be surprised by the umm…volume. It is also weird how it changes in other ways (color, consistency, and even scent) when several days pass in between. Some of my partners have been put off by this combination and maybe the others just didn’t say anything. Would love to find love with a sexually compatible partner, but at this point, I am resigned to buying six packs of personal lubricant at Costco. 😀
    I had one partner (my wife) who didn’t seem to like sex after the first year, or at least she didn’t like it with me.   This bothered me until I noticed she complained about everything in her life. Example: I don’t believe we ever went out to a restaurant without her complaining to the waiter about at least one thing. She was a fundamentally unhappy person.
    She rarely initiated, frequently rebuffed, complained that I wanted it too much and complained  during sex.   Noooo, I don’t mean “hey honey, it feels good when you do this to me…”. That is healthy and helpful for us both.   What is more of a turn on than your partner enjoying sex with you? It was “You aren’t doing that right.”   “Your nose is weird.” After she would orgasm it was “How much longer?   Hurry up. Your forehead is weird” ….etc.    She would complain even when she initiated. I am the only person in the world who had a headache after sex. “Not tonight dear, I don’t want to get a headache. “:D
    This took most of the the fun out of sex so after a few years I nearly stopped initiating (which of course she complained about! LOL) and began rebuffing her few attempts to make me unhappy.
    If your partner is rebuffing you, have a open and honest, caring and gentle talk about what it means to you when they rebuff and what is not right for them so they want to rebuff. You will have to push past the lies told to spare your feelings (“I have to get up early” BS.   Quickie, baby!) and find out what is at the root of the problem.   In my case it was because I was in a hopeless partnership with someone who complained all the time. Live and learn (wouldn’t it be better to be BORN knowing?? Who is in charge?   I   want to complain… 😉 ) In an otherwise healthy relationship there is something you two can likely if you know what it is.

  2. 22

    I think it’s very sweet of you to try to help Rose out; as you can see most of us have completely written her off. I hope she takes your advice to heart.
    One of the things I love about relationships is partnering with someone to make each of our   lives better. People that do their best to accommodate their partners when they can, and make a habit of defaulting to yes rather than no, are the ones I most enjoy, and the type I strive to be myself.

  3. 23

    Alisah #12 and SoulSister @20
    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 hormone levels are/got totally out of balance over time.  
    Quite frequently, guys get ED even though their testosterone checks out fine. There are many mens blogs that can attest to this. If it was something as simple as “low T ” all the time, then it would be an easy fix. The frustration occurs when testosterone levels are fine and it still happens. So then people assume its psychological. But that isn’t even true. Its a compromised circulatory system due to a buildup of fats.
    A guy is always interested in sex. If he says he isn’t it is because he is having trouble getting it up and/or keeping it up. And testosterone isn’t the only reason why. It can be a gradual blockage of the arteries. When someone has a poor vascular system due to small blockages, it can manifest in many ways…dementia from lack of blood flow to the brain, erectile dysfunction due to lack of blood flow to the penis, etc.  
    When a guy gets a heart attack due to clogged arteries, the signs were most likely present years prior with bedroom difficulties. But he probably thought it was low testosterone. His testosterone could have been just fine, but if he had some blockages in the artery system, the blood flow will diminish in the genital area before other signs appear. Why? Because the capillaries which allow for blood flow in and out  of the penis   are tiny compared to the larger arteries of blood carried to the heart and brain. So when the smaller vessels get clogged, it is a matter of time before the larger ones become blocked too. ED doesn’t only stand for Erectile Dysfunction. It can stand for Early Detection.
    One way to unclog the arteries naturally is taking soy lecithin supplements. It will help clear out the fat clogging the arteries since it is an emulsifier of fats. Once the fat is emulsified and broken down, your body can expel it more easily.  Add some ginseng and ginkgo biloba to increase blood flow to those newly cleaned out areas, and next thing you know, the guy is 21 again.

  4. 24

    I’ve said “no” a lot even though I have a very high sex drive. When you have been rebuffed enough before you lose motivation to try, or even agree. Plus when your partner doesn’t like to kiss and always says something odd during the act (i.e. “the ceiling needs painted”) it is easy to lose motivation. I think this highlights the importance of sexual compatibility.

  5. 25

    While I think it is fair to ask for a rain check on sexytimes, it becomes greatly unfair if you don’t actually plan and commit to making it up to your partner.   I think the latter is the key to preserving the balance.   If I say I am too tired, I say it knowing that I sure as hell better be the one taking the lead come tomorrow or whenever the next time is.   That’s just plain courtesy, IMO.

  6. 26

    Sarahrahrah # 10
    First – love the name, it makes me smile!   And as for your comment… ABSOLUTELY!!   
    Sparkling Emerald # 11
    I knew I was going to like your post even before I started reading… I was right!   That was so well put.   
    Goldie # 19
    Yes!!!   When I am in a relationship and my partner comes to me I say yes almost all the time unless the relationship has gotten to the point where it is no longer a workable thing.   If the relationship is in that bad of shape, it is over in very short order.   
    Soulsister # 20
    One of my best friends was in a marriage where she had to beg for sex.   I watched her self worth plummet.   I could not live like that.   (And eventually she came to the same conclusion.   If there was some health reason that was not fixable then that is one thing but simply refusing your partner feels more like a selfish power play to me.   If we want monogamy then we damn sure better step up to the plate!
    My mother and step-dad were married when she was 66 and he was 70.   I learned very quickly to NEVER go over to their house in the afternoon without calling first.   Because they would invariably be upstairs “napping” . 🙂   Up until he was diagnosed with cancer at almost 80 years of age those two were very sexually active (seriously, several times a week).   But he was in good shape.   He played racquetball two to three times a week and was on no medications.
    Beloved # 21, John # 23, Josh # 24
    Thanks for the male POV.

  7. 27

    I hear ya!   I said no to my ex in spite of being randy because I knew it would turn into another coital complaining conversation about what she didn’t like about me.
    @John 16,23 Goldie19, Soulsister20, Alisa12
    Many women (and some men) here are focusing on the lack of an erection or arousal as the sole reason for rebuffing.   Erection or not, arousal or not, there are other ways to be sexually close that are still good for the woman and can be emotionally rewarding for both. A man that can’t tell his sweetheart   “Peter can’t come in to play today so how about we try something else,” instead of a lie about “feeling tired” is a man that is insecure about himself or not confident his partner is accepting. Popping Viagra like tic-tacs and mainlining testosterone gel might get him hard, but it won’t change how he feels about the relationship.

    It isn’t just about testosterone or circulatory problems, there may be something in the relationship that is so off putting he doesn’t want to deal with having sex with you and would rather get his jollies in private. Wouldn’t you like to know what that is?

  8. 28

    Wow, thank you John #23. Very informative post. You’re right, the few people I’ve dated who had trouble in that area, all had extra weight and bad eating habits. One was taking blood pressure meds. I hope they look at their problems from the Early Detection angle and do something to improve their health — they’re all good guys and I’d hate for them to develop serious health problems!
    “When a guy gets a heart attack due to clogged arteries, the signs were most likely present years prior with bedroom difficulties. But he probably thought it was low testosterone”
    We bought our first house 10+ years ago from a single guy who (judging from his photos and his old clothes that we found in the house) carried quite a bit of extra weight. We found empty bottles of testosterone pills all over the house when we were cleaning it. Hope the poor guy is okay!

  9. 29
    Some other guy

    @Goldie #19
    “well, what is a woman supposed to do when she, “really needs to get   off”?
    I’m sorry if I gave the impression that there was something wrong with being In A Mood where you simply need to get laid. For me it’s all about presentation: which would make you more likely to scratch my itch?
    “I really need a BJ”
    “Hey sexy thing, I’m feelin’ kinda frisky and was reeealy hoping to sneak off for a little playtime with you”
    I can’t imagine those would be equally effective.

  10. 30

    Or you could just go ahead and rub one out.

  11. 31

    There is a difference   between having needs and being needy. Expecting another person to give themselves up to gratify my own needs or visa versa
    And there is a difference between taking care of yourself, self care and being selfish.
    It’s about knowing and understanding   the difference. of needy verses having needs and self care and   selfish.
    It feels best to me to take care of myself by only   only sharing my self in loving healthy grown up relationship based on mutual love, respect, physical and emotional desire. Not on one where one person is either begrudgingly going along t with what another wants to appease another, or because they feel a sense of obligation.
    What others want to do and the type of relationship they want is up to them to decide.

  12. 32
    Some other guy

    @Rose #31
    Yes, needy people are a turnoff, and this probably impacts all the other parts of the relationship too.
    But let’s say that you’re in the kind of healthy relationship you speak of, including a mutually respectful, passionate and satisfying sex life (were that we would all be so lucky).
    Then one day you’re feeling seriously in the mood, but your partner is distracted by troubles with work (or whatever), and simply doesn’t have sex on his mind.   Not about you being needy or him being inattentive, just two lives momentarily out of sync..
    Are you going to let the feeling pass without at least an attempt to interest him in a little playtime, hoping for the best?
    Or do you simply never get frisky?

  13. 33

    Some other Guy 🙂 I am nearly always in the mood physically. However as a woman I need and want to also be emotionally turned on and connected to the person how I have already previously mentioned before I feel truly happy to share all of myself with another. I don’t feel good just engaging in the physical act. If others are ok with this and feel good about it, then that is up to them.
    I Would be open to listening to my partners troubles if he wanted to share, he knows where to find me if he wants to do that or leave him alone if he preferred his cave time and wait until we both were in the right place to fully be together in a mutually healthy loving connected way. And if I felt the need want and desire would take care of my own needs.   I make no apologies for who I am and what I   want an need as a woman.

  14. 34

    I get and feel in agreement with much of what you wrote Beloved.

  15. 35

    Beloved @ 27   – my boyfriend is over 50, I would hope by now if he is in a relationship and something is so off putting to him that he didn’t want to have sex with me but take care of himself  instead,   he would have the maturity to either talk about it or break up with me!   I don’t feel that is something I should have to dig out of him. If I ask him if he is attracted to me and wants to have sex with me, and he says yes, then I will take him at his word that maybe it is something else.   We are all adults, this is not our first rodeo, we are responsible for communicating our needs. If someone wants to pull some passive/agressive behavior like withholding sex from me because he is having an issue he won’t talk to me about, then we should not be together.
    Rose @ 31, I am not sure that I consider myself being needy if I have a healthy appetite for sex and turn to my boyfriend and partner to have him meet those needs.   He happens to need more nuturing from a woman that I care to give naturally…dinners cooked, help him with secretarial type chores, occasionally help him clean up his house.   But I do those things because I am his partner and I want to make him happy, not because I want to cook dinner or scrub out his toilet or type a letter for him.   But if I do those things for him, he feels loved by me.  
    If I have a higher sex drive, and I turn to him at those times when he is not particularly in the mood, why would I not expect him to try to meet my needs for no other reason that he loves me?   Sometimes we have great passionate sex (when he is in the mood) and sometimes i just want his hand or mouth for a little while (when he is not in the mood).   Sometimes I cook him a great dinner (when I am in the mood), and sometimes I get him take out (when I am not in the mood).   The important thing is, as his partner, I care about him getting fed because that is what makes him feel loved.
    So what is the differennce?   I try to meet his needs, he should try to meet mine.   That is the great thing about being in relationships when you are older…you are there because you CHOOSE to be, not because you HAVE to be….
    And I can have an orgasm way, way faster than it takes me to go to the grocery store, cook him dinner, and do the dishes….10 mins of his time when he is not in the mood vs. 2 hrs of my time when I am not in the mood.
    At 50, I am looking for a win/win…..and a big boy who can communicate….

  16. 36
    Sparkling Emerald

    Rose – I’ve read all your stuff about being needy vs having needs and self care vs selfish, but I’m sorry hon, it just sounds like you are being selfish.     Maybe it’s just a semantics issue, but to me there is a difference between being DEMANDING, and being needy.   News flash, if you come right down to it, we are ALL needy, but that neediness is MORE apparent when our needs aren’t being met.   And sex is a NEED, not a want.     Perhaps we don’t need sex to survive as individuals, but as a species we do.   So we are biologically hardwired to seek sex, similar to how we seek food & water.   So deny this NEED to your partner on the basis of him being needy, where else is he supposed to get THAT need met ? He might not die a physical death, but deny love and affection long enough, and he could die a soul death.
    Would you refuse to make a meal and/or join you partner for a meal because he was coming from a place of “hunger” ?   Would you insist that all the meals you eat together be coming from a place of wanting to experience the wonderful tastes and textures of food ?
    I think in a healthy relationship, we all do things to meet EACH OTHERS needs, even if we aren’t feeling like it would be some metaphysical encounter with the divine.   Not just sexually, but in many areas.   If you have children, then basically you spend most of your time meeting THEIR needs, and believe me there will be plenty of times when you’d rather be doing ANYTHING, than holding and comforting a sick, slobbering, snot covered crying baby at 2AM.   Not that I’m comparing a romantic partner to a snot covered baby (but deny sex long enough and they can get a little whiny or pouty)     I can understand how men can become resentful when their wives will dote on their children and never deny them physical affection, and then neglect their husbands sexually.   It might not kill him to do without, but giving him a quickie, or a hand job or another kind of job wouldn’t kill you either.

  17. 37

    Sparkling Emerald that is exactly my point if a ‘man’ or ‘woman’ are whiny or pouty they are   behaving and coming from a place the needy child within them. And are not behaving like healthey grown up men or woman. Behaving like man/boys and woman/girls and no healthy grown up man or woman wants to mummy or daddy their romantic partner.
    It’s icky and totally unattractive to a healthy grown up men and woman.  
    I prefer healthy adult grown up relationships myself.
    Who’s denying anyone physical affection? Sex means more than just physical affection in my eyes.   Cuddles kisses etc are all physical affection. Sex is very much more than that. I am physically affectionate with lots of people.

  18. 38

    Beloved. I feel curious, would you now communicate how you felt to a future partner then if there was a problem. Or would you did what you previously did which was to rebuff?  Do you think you may have both been in that realtionship to learn to communicate better?
    “my boyfriend is over 50, I would hope by now if he is in a relationship and something is so off putting to him that he didn’t want to have sex with me but take care of himself  instead,   he would have the maturity to either talk about it or break up with me! |
    Chronological age is not the same as emotional age of the individual, this is especially the case with individuals who have come from a physical, sexual or emotional abusive family and have not gotten help to heal from their abuse. They are emotionally stuck and operating from that age some of the time.
    “We are all adults.”
    Only on the outside.
    Some are still stuck as children on the inside.

  19. 39

    Rose 38  –
    I am digging in my heels here….I am looking for a great  love with someone, not an ok one, not a “well, he is good enough” one….
    This means I am totally committed to making a man feel fantastic with me, which means learning what his needs and wants are and doing my best to provide for them. I am not interested in fixing anyone’s inner child, nor do I expect them to fix mine.   I do however, expect the man I am spending my time with to understand and do his best to meet my needs also.  
    If you have read the Five Love Languages, you will understand that we all speak our own language on what makes us feel loved.   If you are committed to someone, you will learn their love language and speak to them in it. They will feel loved. Or you can CHOOSE to just do what comes natural for you and HOPE that you have the same love language.  
    Mine are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. If you want me to be happy and you want me to stay around (because financially I don’t have to), you will  give me attention  and fuck me a lot.     If he is having an issue with doing that, either physical or emotional, he needs to go figure out how to fix it.   Or not.     If a man doesn’t want to do that, for any reason, I will eventually go find one who will.
    His are Acts of Service and Physical Touch.   If I want him to be happy, I need to do things for him, like cook him dinner, help him with chores, and be very affectionate with him, even though it is not natural for me. Or I can CHOOSE to not do things for him and eventually he will get dissatisfied enough and go find a woman who will.
    It is really very simple. Having a great love with someone is nothing more than understanding what someone needs and giving it them (yes, especially when you think they are being “needy”), and having them do the same back. My husband did not care what my needs were, he thought I would just stay around regardless…that is why he is called my “ex”….and he is still mad that I left him…go figure….

  20. 40
    Sparkling Emerald

    Rose – If you withhold affection from your mate long enough, don’t expect them to behave to your exacting standards of “grown up behavior”.   That would be like with holding food from your child, then complaining that they are hungry.     To be married to someone who feels resentful or begrudging of giving sex is not attractive or grown up either.   YOU brought up the idea of “begrudgingly” giving sex.   Is that attractive ?   You get up on your new age-y sex must must be some sort of other worldly, Goddess experience, high horse, when in reality, sex can be pretty primal and down to earth.   It is NOT attractive to married to someone who can’t come down to earth sometimes and meet the primal needs of her mere mortal husband.
    Lack of physical affection (sexual and otherwise) can cause serantonin levels to drop and lead to depression.   Physical touch (and in GROWNUPS that includes sex) is a NEED, and when that need is withheld can lead to mild to serious depression.   Don’t deny a man his GROWN UP needs, then complain when he acts like a child.   Behaving like some virgin school girl, waiting for the perfect Harlequin Romance moment,   isn’t very adult either.   Withholding someone’s needs from them and then complaining that they are too needy when YOU are the only person they are supposed to turn to, to have those needs met is SELFISH.   Marriage is not about one partner sitting back and deciding that ONLY their needs matter.   (In this case every sex act must be the perfect act of emotional, spiritual,mental, intellectual and oh yeah, physical sublimity)
    Making love is about sharing, but in a long term relationship/marriage, it doesn’t mean that every single act of love has to be between two partners who are both 100% in the mood.   The sharing can be a back and forth flow, where BOTH partners meet each others needs, even when one feels less in the mood than the other.  
    If sexual refusal becomes a regular feature of a marriage (or LTR) then it’s time to examine the relationship.   Is there a physical problem ?   Is “I’m too tired” really masking resentment that the other partner doesn’t pull their weight on household chores/ income earning ?   Is “I’m not on the right spiritual plane” really a cover for thinking your partner is beneath you in some way ?  
    Women who constantly come up with excuses for sex refusal aren’t any better than husbands who constantly come up with excuses for never spending any time at home.   (Gotta work late, got my golf game, feel like going out with guys, etc) And continually denying someone’s needs then complaining that they are “needy” is hypocrisy. Try meeting someone’s needs, instead of complaining how needy they are.

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