One of the most widespread myths is that men maintain their constant sexual desire regardless of the circumstances. Now, is that so? We analyze it.
Desiring is wanting something vehemently and longingly. Desire is always the aspiration towards something that you do not have at the moment. It is a human tendency that drives towards the search for what is absent and without which fullness cannot be achieved. The same thing happens with sexual desire.
This desire encourages the human being to seek a sexual encounter for different reasons: reproductive, social, personal, etc. They arise from this perceived lack at a relational level and trigger a series of behaviors that aim to bring the person closer to that long-awaited goal, sex.
What is sexual desire in men?
It is a psychological state that seeks to initiate and maintain human sexual behavior, triggered by internal or external stimuli. Basically, it is the impulse that moves people, in this case men, towards an intimate encounter with another person, to share intimacy, maintain a relationship, to enjoy and feel pleasure, etc.
Sexual desire in men appears at puberty, sometimes associated with involuntary ejaculations during sleep. This desire can be maintained until around the age of 50, to later begin its decline, accompanied in some cases, by a decrease in libido as well.
Feeling desired by the partner increases sexual desire in men.
Sexual desire in men and some associated factors
The factors associated with this type of desire are biological, psychological, sexual, relational and cultural (Nimbi et al ., 2020):
Androgens, like testosterone, are essential for sexual behavior in men . In fact, research on the subject has shown that a minimum level of androgens is required to experience sexual desire.
It is also known that testosterone increases the desire for sex without commitment and, consequently, for a greater number of sexual partners. Satisfying these desires usually reduces blood testosterone levels after intercourse, but not the level of perceived desire (Puts et al. , 2015).
Sex hormones are released into the bloodstream by the glands and travel to the brain, where they sensitize certain regions of the cortex, making them more receptive to sexual stimuli and thoughts.
While it is true that moods can promote or inhibit sexual desire, studies on the subject offer conflicting results . There is research that indicates that low levels of sexual desire are associated with a lack of positive affect related to sexuality than with the presence of more negative emotions (Nimbi et al. , 2018; Nimbi et al. , 2019).
Depression and anxiety have also been found to be associated with low levels of sexual desire. In an investigation carried out with 919 men, Bancroft et al. (2003) found that 9% of those with elevated levels of depression reported an increase in sexual interest and 42% reported a decrease.
Likewise, it was found that among men with significant anxiety, 21% reported an increase in sexual desire and 28% reported a decrease.
Positive and negative past sexual experiences have direct effects on sexual interest and behavior. Sexual problems can have a negative effect on sexual interest and function in general.
For example, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation have been reported to be the most prevalent comorbidities among men with low levels of sexual desire (Carvalheira, 2014).
Regarding the sexual response, the level of desire usually increases during any sexual experience (masturbation, intercourse) until orgasm, and seems to predict the quality and satisfaction of the orgasmic phase (Paterson et al., 2014 ) .
Negative past sexual experiences affect sexual desire in men.
In an investigation, carried out by Murray et al. (2017), on the male experience in long-term relationships, it was found that, regardless of age or relationship duration, factors such as “feeling desired”, “exciting and unexpected sexual encounters” and “intimate communication” were factors aroused sexual desire.
While “rejection”, “physical and negative ailments”, “health characteristics” and “lack of emotional connection with the partner” were the main inhibitory factors.
Peer pressure and male gender role expectations have been identified as risk factors for levels of these desires. Similarly, it has been found that the stigmatization of reduced male libido can negatively influence sexual satisfaction (McCarthy, 2009).
Many of the cultural stereotypes or myths about male sexual desire can affect these desires. The stereotype that men think about sex all day can make men feel pressured to exhibit such behavior, as long as they are not undervalued for not meeting such a standard.
To conclude, sexual desire in men is influenced by different variables . These desires motivate men to seek sexual intimacy, but not necessarily emotional intimacy. What’s more, for many of them, sexual desire and its satisfaction is a way of creating said intimacy and not a consequence of it.