THE COACH: ARTICLES

When Men Get Turned Off Sex

MALE HEALTH
I’ve had a number of clients coming to me to explore the issue of getting turned off of sex. This is both a position that can occur for men and women alike. There are a number of factors that can contribute to an experience like this and this is definitely not a one fix fits all scenario.

Depending on your level of sexual arousal, some of us may experience a real chargedness in our sexuality and in comparison, to others may seem to be very high. In comparison to others who have a normalised sex drive the dilemma of feeling turned off sex may be more in your face than the former type of individual. 

We can all say we have a general sense or feeling for how our sexual rhythm is. If we take a moment and focus on our biorhythms we can identify when we are aroused and with a little bit of work and focus, we can be sure to identify what stimulus arouses us to the point of wanting to either masturbate or engage in sex.


The problem comes in when it feels like a sudden switching off of the power button to either our erection or vagina. We notice it and we can potentially realise the early signs before it happens, but more often than not we don’t address the core of the problem.

Stress within the body is one of the primary causes leading to more inflammation throughout our muscular and nervous system. Inflammation in general is a major cause leading to illness and being unwell. We can see adrenaline as a potentially good thing in some fight or flight situations but when we experience high doses of adrenalin constantly our body’s will try to balance this out by introducing cortisol into the system. This is a steroid hormone which has many functions because our receptors throughout our whole body have some kind of connection with cortisol, but one of the many uses is being anti-inflammatory. So, if we are constantly triggering an adrenal response causing mass inflammation in our body we will inevitably experience problems.

Moreover, if our bodies are producing cortisol in mass scale this will eventually lead to issues such as rapid weight gain, a flushed round face, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, additional mood differences, and ultimately a very decreased sex drive.

As a rule of thumb, when it comes to bodily health we should be mindful of the things in our body producing inflammation and try regulate that intake as best as possible.

If we are constantly introducing anxiety into our lives and conditioning ourselves to see this as a norm, there will inevitably be an impact on our sex drive. This is why I am such an advocate of exploring and understanding the way you are, because a state of living in anxiety is not necessary and is only harmful for your mental and physical function.

On a very basic level our mind and body is so deeply connected that often we overlook this synchronicity. We choose to ignore the signs and then only attend to either when things hit the fan. If our body was going to be functioning without the influence of the mind, we would have our natural arousal cycle and experience an erection and then once the interchange of blood has gone through its cleansing process we come back to normal again.

The system itself would find a way to function and reach a point of equilibrium considering there are no other deeper set bodily issues. 

So, through the process of elimination our bodies and our sexuality will continue to function if we are able to eliminate the mind and thinking in the process. But the problem is that we can just detach our head like a disregarded Ken doll, instead we are deeply connected to our thinking, the script and narrative we use, the manner in which we relate to the world (kinaesthetic, auditory or visual) and then being conscious enough to make the necessary choices to put these thoughts into action. 

As men, our narrative has been dominated by performance. “The alpha is always performing” – so we’ve been modelled on this preconception that we have to always be performing. We cultivate this image of needing to perform on all fronts of our lives, and if we don’t manage this or conform to this type of “success” then our masculinity is scrutinised and we potentially feel inadequate and moreover shameful.


If in discussion a man says to you he can’t get an erection, he is then judged to be half a man. Coming from a very dominant culture being Italian and growing up in South Africa, everything has been about performance. There is no room for losers and there is definitely no room for being emotional or complaining. You are automatically identified as being a sissy boy or mommy’s boy growing up with imposed beliefs that you are not good enough. This was especially difficult because I so deeply connected with the feminine energy in me as well.

Thankfully we are becoming more enlightened as to the role of men in our society and now is a great opportunity for men to be able to find their rhythm in what being a man really means. In this process is time and dedication to understanding our masculine mindset and understanding how we can fine tune our bodies. The difference is that we should be learning more and more about how OUR bodies function, not finding generic manners and ways thinking that a one size fits all solution will work.

The blog post began with the title “When men get turned off sex” and there are so many different potential causes for this, but if we rule out the biological and focus on the psychological we can find answers for ourselves or for our partner.

I get most of the women who have a partner going through this contacting me with the hope that there will be an answer that they can bring back to the table and reinitiate the sexual connectedness they once had. Unfortunately, more often than not this type of man does not find there to be a major problem and begins retreating into their unevolved self and their energy starts spiralling out of control. What I mean by this is that they allow neediness and insecurity to feed into their mind and behaviours which eventually resent the as being very need, overbearing and emotional. It is fine to be like this but only for a short period of time because the feminine energy won’t stand for this state too long.

These are some points that men need to consider when going through this process:

  • How stressed are you and are you actually doing something about your stress?

  • Is your communication in order within your partnership?

  • If you notice a dip in your sexual arousal what have you actually done to try and understand it

  • If there is a lack of desire for your partner have you begun reconditioning yourself to move towards desiring her?

  • If there is a mismatch in sex development with your partner have you taken the steps to firstly discuss this and then try expand on the issue?

  • If there is too much familiarity in the sexual relationship, what have you done to try and cultivate a new style or type of sexual energy?

  • Do you feel inspired in life and in the sexual relationship? If not what have you don’t to reinstate it?

  • Sometimes we become so detached from sex that we begin to fear the actual experience itself but yet maintain a healthy masturbatory life. Face the contradiction and take a step towards your partner and allow your body to feel arousal, rather than letting your mind keep control.

  • Breath work is something everyone should do, but men in specific can benefit largely from learning how to breathe fully. Especially breathing into your base chakra and learning how to create a flow throughout the body.

  • Have we positioned our partner in the Mary, mother, whore category?

There are a lot of questions that need to be asked when dealing with getting turned off sex and if you do not have the courage to speak to your partner about this, then do yourself a favour and actually call a professional to discuss the situation before it becomes too sedimented in the way you relate to one another. The reality is that if you’re noticing it, she most definitely is, so face it and rebalance yourself.



Article written by:


Massimo Stocchi Fontana


Clinical Sexologist & Psychological Therapist

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