It has been noted that there’s a libido crisis in the lives of many a married Indian couple. It is also possible that the dynamics between men and women in relationships have changed, affecting how often they have sex even as new technology threatens to strip away important aspects of how people relate and connect on a personal level.
In the light of a recent study that says US adults had sex fewer times in 2014 than they did in the late ‘90s, here’s an explanation as to why a declining sex drive is becoming more commonplace in modern times.
The tapestry that is India with its multiple cultures, attitudes, behaviours and religions, makes research/findings useful. Considering no known study has been done in India, the US sex study is helpful.
Several cultural changes in recent years have possibly contributed to the decline of sexual intercourse. In fact, it has been noted that there’s a libido crisis in the lives of many a married Indian couple, probably because of our urban lifestyles.
The first victim of the high-stress work schedule is men’s libido. This, combined with long hours of commuting, work pressure, a junk food culture leading to obesity, increased smoking and drinking and lack of exercise, contributes to a weakening sex drive.
Then there’s the fact that many Indian couples tend to or have to live in joint families where privacy isn’t an option. Also, the absence of work-life balance, chores, children and increasing expenses eat away at the desire component vital to sexual relations.
It is also possible that the dynamics between men and women in relationships have changed, affecting how often they have sex. That’s one of the big things that have changed over the course of time - men and women’s gender roles both at work and at home. In the age of economic slowdown and rising prices, the ‘second income’ has become crucial to maintain a family’s financial stability, forcing women to work the double shift — home and office.
Apart from being pressed for time, and tiredness, an alarming increase in cases of depression and anxiety or decrease in marital satisfaction could also be at play.
Besides many men, even many women from different age groups complain about either no or low sex drive. They confess that they’ve lost all interest in sex, or complain that they hardly have any. The reasons vary from being too busy with work at home or at office, early menopause or physical, mental and even financial stress. This, however, doesn’t happen overnight. Women who ignore their lack of sex drive over a long period of time and fail to acknowledge it as a problem suffer the most.
Many mothers’ lives these days are solely centred on their children, so much so that somewhere along the way, they forget to seek pleasure for themselves. Unlike in the West, in our country the baby sleeps with the parents until he or she turns four or five. This takes away any chance of intimacy. Beside baby blues, poor body image after childbirth also leads to the decline in a woman’s sex drive. Many women complain of a loss in sexual appetite after childbirth. The contraceptive pill that is prescribed to avoid unwanted pregnancy also becomes the cause of a reduced sex drive. Menopause often spells chaos for a woman’s sex life. Very low oestrogen levels cause acute vaginal dryness and intercourse becomes uncomfortable. Signs of ageing or seeing oneself as “fat” also result in lack of desire for sex in many women.
If the action in the bedroom has diminished, it is possible that the venue of action has shifted elsewhere. Both men and women are seeking their pleasures outside marriage. Extramarital affairs are definitely on the rise. There are attractions and temptations in the work set-up.
New technology threatens to strip away important aspects of how people relate and connect on a personal level. This can be especially true in our most intimate relationships. Relationships often have their own challenges, and changing technologies have contributed even more to the stress of modern relationships. Sometimes, the ways people use technology can create problems between romantic partners, potentially stirring conflict and dissatisfaction in the relationship. The rise of social media and other forms of entertainment could be replacing time spent with a partner.
People have far more options these days for different kinds of pleasure - like browsing Facebook and social media, playing video games, watching Netflix or pornography. Easy availability of porn makes many men addicted to it, leading to masturbation and avoidance of intercourse, thus disrupting the family life. Technology is also changing the present intimate way couples communicate with each other. For example: sexting — sending text messages containing explicit sexual content.
Moments spent focused on technology can quickly add up to a sizeable portion of a person’s waking hours. The same allotment of time that just a few years ago might have been considered an online addiction is now commonplace in smartphone use, especially among younger users. It represents a shift in how people spend their time and where they focus their energy.
Out of the blue, the partner has lost all interest in sex. Or perhaps the partner has always had a lower sex drive, but lately, the gap has become even more pronounced. When the partner is not sexually responsive, it is easy to assume the worst. One may fear that one’s partner is no longer attracted to one, is no longer in love with one, or is having an affair. While these are (unfortunately) possible explanations, a host of other, less dramatic reasons could account for the sexual shutout.
Males are very sensitive about their sexual activity, commonly seen in the way they respond. Either they take some medication which is advertised freely in the newspapers, or get over their inhibitions and visit a sexologist. Women also often put up with the callous ways of their husbands not caring to ensure that their partner has reached orgasm. All this results in rejection of the partner. A possible solution would be premarital counselling, which will ensure that both partners are educated for sexual happiness.
To conclude, taking professional (psychiatrist, sexologist and gynaecologist) help and recognising what’s missing should be the first step. Once the thing that is not working is identified, one can put one’s energy into improving that area. Once priority is set, things will fall in place. Support from the spouse is also crucial to re-introduce sex to married life. Couples need to divide chores to share the physical burden. Take a holiday or participate in meditation or yoga sessions together to restore the relationship. Attending group meetings with couples with similar issues, or doping so separately, also helps to resolve the problem. Reviving one’s libido is possible only if one is willing to help oneself.
Steps to revive one’s libido
Seek professional help from experts
Identify and rectify problem areas
Show support for your partner
Divide chores and engage in activities together