Male Sexual Desire: An Overview of Biological, Psychological, Sexual, Relational, and Cultural Factors Influencing Desire

Sex Med Rev. 2020 Jan;8(1):59-91. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2018.12.002. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Abstract

Introduction: The literature showed the need for a better understanding of the male sexual response, which has historically been considered as simpler and more mechanistic compared with that in women.

Aim: To examine the literature on biopsychosocial factors associated with the level of sexual desire in men and discuss some interesting directions for future research.

Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted.

Main outcome measures: 169 articles published in Google Scholar, Web of Science, Scopus, EBSCO, and Cochrane Library about male sexual desire and related biopsychosocial factors.

Results: We found a lack of multidimensional studies on male sexual desire. Most existing research has focused on hypoactive sexual desire disorder in coupled heterosexual men. Biological factors play important roles in the level of sexual desire, but they are insufficient to explain the male sexual response. Psychological, relational, and sexual factors (eg depression, anxiety, emotions, attraction, conflicts, communication, sexual functioning, distress, satisfaction) are involved in the development/maintenance of lack of sexual interest in men. Cultural influence is also relevant, with cognitive factors linked to gender roles and sexual scripts of masculinity identified as important predictors of low sexual desire.

Conclusion: Male sexual desire is characterized by an interplay among biological, psychological, sexual, relational, and cultural elements. This interplay merits further study to better understand how sexual desire works and how treatments for low sexual interest could be improved. Nimbi FM,Tripodi F, Rossi R, et al. Male Sexual Desire: An Overview of Biological, Psychological, Sexual, Relational, and Cultural Factors Influencing Desire. Sex Med Rev 2020;8:59-91.

Keywords: Biopsychosocial Model; Man and Masculinity; Sexual Desire; Sexual Response.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Libido / physiology*
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior