Sex can disappear from a relationship in no time. Dry spells are certain. There are many factors to consider here, but it’s clear that men can get really bitchy when they aren’t getting laid.
How have men dealt with it?
Anger, shame, abuse and sports to name a few. We beat the shit out of ourselves and sometimes others. The urge is not our fault, even though we think it is and have been taught that the urge itself is offensive. We’re told to be a man, go masturbate, watch some porn, run it off, go shoot a gun or take a cold shower. Men are supposed to suffer through it alone and sublimate the urge by torturing our bodies and minds just to deal with it.
We put increasing pressure on our partners and then we feel more frustrated by their declining interest. Sometimes we cheat. It’s pretty obvious that we’re struggling.
It might help to look at some reasons we feel sexually frustrated.
1) Men are hard on themselves (no pun intended).
Oh yes, the world has known patriarchy. Male gods created the world and men sustain it—right? With all this power comes the responsibility of righting the Earth on its axis.
Remember the myth of Atlas? Modern men carry this myth on their back. We feel like we need to do everything for everyone all at once. The pressure we feel we need to be under is sizable. It’s almost like we we’ve lost our manhood if we’re not obsessing over keeping our shit together. When we are hard on ourselves, pressure builds, and the only way we know how to share our burden is through connection and release. Thinking we have to do it all ourselves destroys the former.
Masturbation only relieves the latter.
Antidotes: meditation, yoga, communication with our partners, help someone else hold up their world, reverent self-love, or joining a men’s group who talk about new ways of being a man. It’s time for Atlas to put that big ole world down and start taking care of himself. Where are the myths about male self care?
2) We don’t understand that our power to create goes beyond the sperm and ovum.
Creative slumps are hard to take for men. Many of us don’t know how to create, and if we know how then we struggle with what. We’re intimidated by the creative power of women. When sex fails to bring fulfillment, many men decide to deliver the seed and focus their attention on the new life that they’ve helped create, but find out that the woman has done all the creating.
We get frustrated and try for more sex, but all we can attain is more children or feel good moments which, shortly after, will render us tired and spent. Men create things in the world, they create new thoughts, ideas, and many men don’t know that the sexual energy is the best fuel for this process. Mother Theresa was once asked how she accomplished so much. She admitted freely that she rerouted her sexual energy into her ministry.
Antidote: somewhere in childhood, we wanted to make something happen. Dig deep. Draw something. Learn that piano song. Plant a garden. Fathers inspire children through their creating. Put that sexual urge into future generations.
3) If we’re not fighting and conquering, we’re not living.
We’ve been taught that life is a competition. No struggle; no reward. Sex for men can be like a prize after a hard won tournament. If it’s too easy we don’t want it. We don’t feel like it’s enough to just enjoy the desire for sex that naturally arises out of love. So, we create distance, we put up dragons and ogres and large castle walls between us and our partners so that we have to work for it.
C’mon man! Learn to know you deserve pleasure because it is a human right, not something you have to out-do yourself for. Porn is the opposite of this. There is no conquest, only reward, and leaves us feeling as though we’ve cheated ourselves.
Antidote: The only thing you need to compete with is your shadow. Challenge yourself to wake up. But most importantly, allow yourself to be loved (by you) and you’ve already won.
4) We can’t talk to our partners about it.
There is a lot of shame around male sexuality. Back in the medieval ages, we took it when we wanted it and no questions asked. Now we’re experiencing a radical and necessary backlash to our patriarchal transgressions. This erotic drive that hurt so many men and women is now looking as dark as the dark ages. The positive side of male rapturous sex is lost in the twilight.
Antidote: Shame is a huge problem for men. We pick partners who shame us because we were shamed during childhood. We are afraid that asking for sex is the equivalent to rape. To share our fantasies is like opening Pandora’s box. Sometimes we’ll choose partners who withhold sex so that we have to earn it by pleasing them in other ways (see #3 above). Shift around it men. Healthy male sexuality means having healthy partnerships where we can put our gonads on the podium and have them held compassionately. Stay far away from relationships where your sexuality is hostage. And have fun for life’s sake.
5) Poor Diet/Poor Exercise: Yes, you are becoming what you eat.
Horking plate after plate of red meat and high fatty foods, especially without exercise, is going to put your sex into overdrive. I went to a sex club in Spain once to see what it was like. They served the fattiest, most saltiest spicy pepperoni right at the bar to get people going. Try it. Eat fully loaded hamburgers for breakfast and lunch, then finish the day off with three or four bowls of beef chilly, and you’ll most certainly be looking at your partner differently. We’re not Ferdinand out in the meadow looking for every opportunity to mount (see #2), so let’s not put him on our plate so often.
Antidote: Eat more fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, legumes (mmmm… lentil curry), and exercise. It’s hard at first (literally), but after some transition we can approach our sexual urges with less ferocity and more mindfulness.
Author: Jordan Kozey
Apprentice Editor: Renee Jahnke / Editor: Renee Picard