You may be familiar with the frequently used statistic that ‘men think about sex every six seconds’. With no substantial evidence to validate the stat, it’s somewhat questionable. However, what research does suggest is that men may think about sex, fantasize, experience desire, and masturbate more than women do.
Some of the first words that come to mind when we think of sex may be fun, excitement and pleasure. Yet while plenty of men enjoy sex, there’s also a less pleasant side to sexual urges. One specific difficulty for sexually active men may be sexual frustration.
As the name suggests, sexual frustration refers to when thoughts of frustration arise in a sexual capacity. Sexual frustration can occur for many reasons, and in some cases be extremely difficult to deal with. This article explores sexual frustration, why it occurs, and what can be done to cope with it.
- Sexual frustration may arise when an individuals unhappy with their sexual activity
- It may be caused by a lack of sex, sexual dysfunctions or poor communication
- Coping mechanisms may include masturbation, communication or sexual therapy
- Never attempt to engage in sex without consent, no matter how sexually frustrated you are
Understanding Sexual Frustration
In a nutshell, sexual frustration describes feelings of sexual dissatisfaction and irritation. Typically it’s brought on as a result of differences between a person’s sexual desires and their actual sexual activity. At the time of writing, It’s unclear exactly how many people experience sexual frustration. However, what is clear is that sexual frustration may have a large impact on individuals.
A study into the sexual satisfaction of U.S adults suggests that a high importance of sexual health to quality of life was noted by 62.2% of men and 42.8% of women. It also found that patients who reported poorer health were less sexually satisfied. The research concluded that healthcare systems committed to patients' overall health must also consider addressing their sexual health.
Possible consequences of sexual frustration
Pain as a result of being aroused but not reaching orgasm (often a feat of sexual frustration) is also known as “blue balls”. Research into the area suggests that individuals with vaginas may be more likely to be pressured into sexual acts due to their partners fear of pain without orgasm. Significantly more people with a penis than a vagina believed blue balls to be real, and said that they experienced moderate to severe pain as a result of arousal without orgasm.
If sexual frustration is brought about as a result of sexual inactivity, then there is a chance that individuals may experience undesirable physical and psychological issues. For example, research into sexual activity among older adults found sexual inactivity may be related to cancer, dementia and mental health conditions.
Main causes of sexual frustration for men
Men may experience sexual frustration for a number of reasons. We’ve highlighted some of the common causes of sexual frustration for men below.
1. Misalignment on what “pleasure” means in a relationship
For men who believe that a relationship means unlimited sex, they might experience a slight shock when they realize what the reality of a relationship is like.
Any number of obstacles to sexual activity may present themselves during a relationship.
Examples include work-related stress, relationship difficulties and childcare duties. Being intimate with a partner extends beyond sexual activity and it’s important to be understanding of each other's non-sexual needs as well.
2. Lack of frequency
If you’re having sex less frequently than you would like to, you might find yourself feeling frustrated with the situation. A lack of satisfaction with the amount of sex you’re having can be a common cause of sexual frustration among men.
This type of sexual frustration can affect men regardless of their relationship status, and may occur for numerous reasons. Examples may include difficulties attracting a partner, a busy schedule or as a result of a sexual dysfunction.
3. Lack of communication
If there is a lack of communication between yourself and a sexual partner, you may find that sexual frustration begins to creep in.
Communication is a crucial part of human nature, which is especially true within a sexual capacity.
For example, without communication you may be unable to learn what turns your partner on, communicate what you like during intimacy and explore each other's fantasies. If you’re feeling sexually frustrated, communicating the issue to your partner may help.
4. Self-denial of your sexual preferences
Sexual preferences is a vague term, but one that can be used to describe an individual's sexuality, their fantasies or general preferences for sexual intercourse. Almost everyone has some form of sexual preference, but some people may struggle to accept them.
For example, you may find that you have a fetish that’s considered “strange”. If you feel uncomfortable disclosing, or accepting a sexual preference your urge to satisfy it will never be met which may lead to sexual frustration.
5. Sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction
A sexual dysfunction can be a huge barrier to an individual’s sex life. Sexual dysfunctions may prevent an individual from being able to have sex at all. Two of the most common dysfunctions are premature ejaculation (climaxing before you want to) and erectile dysfunction (being unable to maintain an erection).
When sexual dysfunctions occur, they may lead to sexual frustration.
Furthermore, they may damage a person’s confidence, prevent them from seeking out a sexual partner, and may have a psychological impact on the individual with the condition.
6. Low sex drive
A person’s sex drive (also known as libido) describes their urge to engage in sexual activity. A person’s sex drive may vary on a case by case basis. A number of factors can affect an individual's libido, which can range from health issues to lifestyle choices.
If you don’t have a sex drive that matches your partner, you may find yourself feeling frustrated that you can’t keep up with their sexual urges. Alternatively, if your partner has a low libido and you have a high sex drive, you may find yourself irritated that you aren’t having as much sex as you want to.
7. Lack of sexual experience
The amount of sexual experience an individual has can vary. For men who are inexperienced, or have never engaged in sexual activity before it may feel frustrating. For example, frustration may arise among sexually inexperienced men who are surrounded by sexually active peers.
The amount of sexual experience an individual has can vary.
The reasons why a person may have little or no sexual experience can vary. In some cases, men may be unable to attract a sexual partner due to poor social skills. Alternatively, a person may be saving sex for marriage, or having difficulty finding the right person to have sex with.
8. Long-distance relationships
For people in a long distance relationship, sex may occur less frequently than they would like it to. This may lead them to becoming sexually frustrated. Being in a relationship with someone you’re sexually attracted to but can’t touch can be hard to deal with.
Amongst distance, other issues such as pandemics (e.g. COVID-19) may prevent couples seeing each other and becoming sexually frustrated. Although there are various work-arounds such as video call sex and long-distance sex toys, it’s difficult to replace the real thing.
What can men do to deal with sexual frustration?
When dealing with sexual frustration it can be difficult to know where to turn. This section of the article explores some of the coping mechanisms that men may utilize in order to deal with sexual frustration.
1. Connect with your sexuality through masturbation
If you have sexual urges that aren’t being satisfied, one of the most effective ways of dealing with them is through masturbation. For example, if your partner does not have a sex drive as high as yours, or your sex life isn’t as active as you wish it was.
Taking some time to masturbate may allow you to release your sexual energy and feel less sexually frustrated.
When sexual thoughts, urges or arousal takes place, it can be difficult to overcome. Taking some time to masturbate may allow you to release your sexual energy and feel less sexually frustrated.
2. Communicate your frustration with your partner (if you have one) in an assertive way
If you have a partner, whose sex drive (or lack of) may be the cause of your frustration, it’s important to communicate your issue confidently. Being assertive will help to make it clear how much the issue is bothering you. However, you should also be sensitive to your partner's feelings. Everyone has their own sex drive and the needs of both partners should be considered when the issue is communicated.
3. Understand the causes of your frustration and where they come from
Understanding what’s causing your frustration can be a great way to help you manage the issue. For example, if you notice that it’s because of sex drive differences between partners you can identify ways of overcoming it (e.g. masturbation, communication). Or if you identify that your sexual frustration is caused by a sexual dysfunction you can take steps to get treatment.
When to go to a sex therapist
If your sexual frustration has started to bother you or affect your quality of life, you may consider seeing a sexual therapist. Sexual therapists are used to dealing with all kinds of sexual issues, and confiding in a professional may help to reduce the burden you’re facing.
If your sexual frustration has started to bother you or affect your quality of life, you may consider seeing a sexual therapist.
If your sexual frustration has started to affect your relationship, you may even consider seeing a sexual therapist who specializes in dealing with couples.
Never engage in sex without consent
It’s important to note that regardless of how sexually frustrated you become, you always need a person’s consent before engaging in sexual activity with them. You should always respect other people's boundaries and never attempt to engage in sexual activity unless you have the legal consent of another person.
Sexual frustration can affect people for a number of different reasons. It may occur as a result of sex drive differences between partners, sexual dysfunctions or because of an inactive sex life.
Regardless of the cause, it’s important that you consider the root cause of sexual frustration in order to successfully manage it.
Remember, never attempt to engage in non-consensual sexual activity no matter how sexually frustrated you are. This article is designed to be informative, and cannot be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.
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