Men and Low Sex Drives: Are We Taking Sex Too Seriously at the Wrong Times?

Published on The Daily Femme – Monday, August 23, 2010

Contributed by Annamarya

I’ll admit—I primarily subscribed to Glamour because they were offering a free handbag. I know, it’s a little (OK, a lot) shallow, but I have an insatiable love of purses. And while the purse was beneath of my speed of pursue designs, I’m glad I kept the subscription. Granted, it’s not the holy grail of women’s magazines (I’m not sure if I’ve even found mine yet) but at least it’s another chance to learn about important issues and events around the world—like men and their low libidos?

That’s right. On page 244 of its September issue, as part of its Health & Body: Sexual Health section, Glamour ran the small story “Wait: He’s Not in the Mood!?”, about the decreasing male libido and how we can “turn things around.” According to the piece, British researchers found that 30 percent of surveyed men desire sex less than they used to, a number they claim has risen over the past decade. Therapists, the article’s author, Kaitlin Menza, writes, blame, among other factors, “the economy and unemployment,” and one sex therapist, Ian Kerner, Ph.D. says that “a man’s sense of security and sexual self-esteem are connected.” It can also affect a woman’s confidence, as one anonymous glamour.com reader quoted for the piece admits, “My boyfriend swears this isn’t about me, that he’s tired and stressed. But I’m so hurt, I won’t initiate anything for months.” Personally, I empathize with the reader—I’ve been in the same situation with my boyfriend, who, when he was working 60+ hours a week, didn’t want to even see the bed (kitchen table, floor…etc) as a possible rendezvous point. The way we got through it? The same way Menza advises: talking honestly about our relationship, ruling out any medical problems, exercising more, and communicating better emotionally. I also learned to take a little more personal time, if you know what I mean.

Truthfully, this isn’t such a bad story to run—at some point during courtship, you’re going to deal with your partner’s low sex drive, and since a healthy sex life is imperative in any relationship, knowing how to deal with it openly and honestly is essential. But the issue I have with this article is not the concept itself but rather a particular sentence in the lead paragraph: “Experts Glamourspoke to weren’t surprised, calling this an ‘unspoken epidemic.’” An unspoken epidemic!? What. The. Hell?

Granted, I suppose this can loosely fall under the term “epidemic” if you stick with Webster Dictionary’s definition: “affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.” But when I think “epidemic,” a low sex drive is not the first thing that pops to mind. It’s not destructive, devastating or fatal. It’s a problem (a fixable problem) at best, but not an epidemic. And calling it “an unspoken epidemic” devalues the seriousness of other more important issues, like the AIDS epidemic in Africa or the disturbing rise of sexual violence against women in Haiti after the massive earthquake hit the country on January 12, a topic that Glamour wrote about in the same issue on pg. 326.

According to that piece, titled “A New Tragedy Facing Haiti’s Women and Girls,” the country’s tent cities that house thousands of displaced Haitians have become “epicenters of sexual assault,” where victims as young as two are raped on a daily basis, say reports. While rape in Haiti was common before the earthquake, it’s on the rise because camps lack privacy, security and lighting, and because “women have nowhere to go to be safe and hardly anywhere to turn for help,” says founder of social justice advocacy group, Other Worlds, Beverly Bell. Advocates say, the piece reports, that the way to combat this is by providing more security, lighting and separate bathrooms in the tent cities until better housing is a viable option. And we can help this happen by donating$50 to Haiti’s antiviolence group KOFAVIV at madre.org. Our donation will help the organization provide women with security kits that include a flashlight, whistle and cell phone. Now that’s an epidemic and one that is more frightening than not being able to get your rocks off. How about thinking better next time,Glamour?

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