A Qualitative Exploration of Factors That Affect Sexual Desire Among Men Aged 30 to 65 in Long-Term Relationships

J Sex Res. 2017 Mar-Apr;54(3):319-330. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1168352. Epub 2016 May 2.


Few empirical studies have explored men's experiences of sexual desire, particularly in the context of long-term relationships. The objective of the current study was to investigate the factors that elicit and inhibit men's sexual desire. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 30 men between the ages of 30 and 65 (average age 42.83 years) currently in long-term heterosexual relationships (average duration 13 years 4 months). Analysis was conducted using grounded theory methodology from the interpretivist perspective. A total of 14 themes and 23 subthemes were identified to capture men's descriptions of eliciting and inhibiting factors of their sexual desire. The six most integral themes are presented in the current article, all of which reflect the perspectives of the majority of participants, regardless of age or relationship duration, specifically (a) feeling desired, (b) exciting and unexpected sexual encounters, (c) intimate communication, (d) rejection, (e) physical ailments and negative health characteristics, and (f) lack of emotional connection with partner. The findings suggest that men's sexual desire may be more complex and relational than previous research suggests. Implications for researchers and therapists are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Heterosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Libido*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*