Men who want to have a baby also tend to report lower levels of sexual desire, according to a new study conducted by researchers in Italy. The research, which was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that a number a factors were linked to men’s levels of sexual desire.
“For years, the debate in scientific literature has been focused on female sexual desire and arousal, arguing that female sexuality is very complex and full of psychological and relational issues,” said study author Filippo M. Nimbi of Sapienza University of Rome and the Institute of Clinical Sexology.
“Male sexuality has been under-evaluated and considered as mechanical and simple (stimulus, erection, and orgasm) and since the 1997 even ‘hyper medicalized’ (since the creation of Viagra). In our clinical experience the situation is a bit different. The psychological, relational and cultural issues are very important for men’s sexuality. With this project, we wanted to analyse the male sexual response starting from the desire phase — the most unknown part.”
“What is clear is that male sexuality is considerably more complex than previously thought: a hard and rigid erection is not enough to explain men functioning,” Nimbi said.
For their study, the researchers surveyed 298 heterosexual Italian men on a wide variety of topics that could influence their levels of sexual desire.
The researchers found that energy levels, depression, fear, premature ejaculation severity, relationship compatibility, sexual distress, lack of erotic thoughts, subjective sexual response, and sexual conservatism were all related to men’s sexual desire.
“The important message of this study is that desire in men is strongly influenced by gender and sexual stereotypes such as the idea that ‘the erection is the most important element to satisfy the partner.’ Moreover, feelings and emotions have a key role in sexuality,” Nimbi told PsyPost.
“We are facing a reality in which we are not used to feeling and enjoying the pleasure of a sexual encounter. Mainly, we are in rush and just focus on the orgasm, but sexuality (and pleasure) is much more.”
Fear and lack of erotic thoughts in particular were stronger predictors of lower levels of sexual desire.
Surprisingly, the researchers also found that the desire to have a baby was negatively associated with the level of sexual desire. In other words, men who desired children were less likely to want to have sex.
The study didn’t directly address why this was the case, but Nimbi and his colleagues wrote that it could be attributed to unconscious fears about lifestyle changes and added responsibilities.
“Many questions are still open,” Nimbi remarked. “For example, this study has highlighted some of the main psychosocial factors affecting sexual desire, but there are many others. How sexual desire is understood has profound implications for how sexual behaviour is treated in ethical, medical, social, legal and religious contexts. We like considering this study as a starting point towards a deeper understanding of sexuality for both clinicians and researchers, but also the general public.”
“In a world where we are living in a hurry, we should find time to relax and dedicate to sex — leaving the rush outside the bedroom (or wherever we are going to have sex). Good sex needs time, relaxation, carefreeness and a good partner,” he added.
The study, “Expanding the Analysis of Psychosocial Factors of Sexual Desire in Men“, was co-authored by Francesca Tripodi, Roberta Rossi, and Chiara Simonelli.