The Libido differences between couples. And research into how men are touch deprived
Much of my day as a Sex Therapist is spent talking about libido differences between couples. Opposite sex drives between partners are challenging. Not always, but often it’s men who seem to want sex all the time. With their exasperated partners having to push them away making everyone feel badly. Again not all but many healthy, adult men want sex daily or every other day, time permitting. But the expectation that men are all Neanderthals chasing their partners around the house all the time isn’t fair to the men I see. Many really want their partners to initiate. Or they see their sexuality as a dance rather than a conquest. Or the anxiety of performance makes them gun shy. Or they have lower testosterone and feel diminished. At times for the men I see it feels exhausting to always need to be “sexually on”.
As women we have had guys pull our ponytails in school, try and get us out of our jeans in High School and actively hit on us in bars. There is an exception that men will pursue. There is a great article about why men seem to pursue sex over and over. As the author Mark Greene says ” In our culture we believe that men always have a sexual agenda. We believe that, given the opportunity, men will collapse into the sexual at a moment’s notice. That men don’t know how to physically connect otherwise. That men can’t control themselves. That men are dogs. Yet, if we don’t trust men and touch where does that leave us as a culture? And where do men go for touch and connection?”
Men turn to sex for touch. When I ask men to talk about what intimacy means to them they think sex. When I ask them to describe something romantic it often has a sexual slant. Many men feel loved when they are touched and that touch is sexual in nature. And their partners who often want to simply cuddle find an erection poking them. Men haven’t been able to express their tactile selves. Unless it’s between the sheets on the sports field they don’t have a vehicle for nurturing touch.
As Mark Greene says “The lifelong lack of platonic touch in boys lives ultimately results in the loss for them of the clear distinction between platonic touch and sexual touch. Young men starving for touch seek it in the sexual realm, often exclusively from their partners. This makes frequency of sex a challenging issue for couples. Men key on sex in an attempt to bridge our way back to the gentle comforting touch of our distant childhoods, the pure first experience of touch in our lives that can never quite be recaptured or recalled. Sex takes on the role of fulfilling both sexual and platonic touch needs.
The result? Men background all other positives in our relationships, judging every interaction against the sexual pleasure metric.”
So you have generations of men who identify the need for physical affection as someone touching their penis. It’s not the only reason, male sexual urges can be daunting. As I tell my clients ” I’ve spoken to men for 25 years and I am still gobstopped about how horny guys can be sometimes”.
Separating sex and touch is one of the first things I do as a Sex Therapist. Mindful non-genital touch- even if it’s only 3 minutes each in a busy day can help separate sex from positive affection. And then both partners can calm down and truly see each other.
Mark outlines the issue for guys who are touch deprived.
“Many of us are also terribly prone to approaching sex mechanically, staring inward at our own flaring confusion instead of looking outward into the mysterious miracle of our partners. And in that moment, sex becomes another exercise in internalizing our experiences instead of surrendering to emotional interdependence, which we have never learned to engage. In relationship after relationship, romance withers. Sex falls off. But even as these relationships falter, we men remain willing to go to the well of cold mechanical sex, long after our lovers have lost their passion for it, because like everything else in our emotional landscapes, we have confused the mechanics of contact with truly connecting emotionally.”
I suggest getting a regular RMT massage therapist. It’s professional and therapeutic. Touch is a basic need. Finding a way to get hugs, physical connection, and positive physical interaction – in a non-sexual way is really good for your sex life. Read the whole article here.