Why Do Men Abstain From Sex?
Abstinence among younger men might be more common than you think. In a recent review of medical studies, scientists report that abstinence rates among men age 60 and under could be as high as 84%. They caution, however, that that figure depends on how other researchers define “sex.”
For example, one study might consider sex to be only penile-vaginal intercourse. Another might consider masturbation to be sex.
Still, the review offered a number of reasons why men might abstain.
What is Abstinence?
In a study looking at data from 17,744 people in the United States, 15.2% of males and 26.7% of females reported having no sex in the last year, while 8.7% of males and 17.5% of females reported not having had sex for 5 years or more.
The authors concluded that “sexless Americans reported very similar happiness levels as their sexually active counterparts.”
In this article, we look at what might happen physically and psychologically when a person does not have sex for a long time and how it might affect people in a relationship.
Many Men Are Having No Sex At All
How many men around the world aged 60 and under abstain from sex? The answer may depend on how you define “sex,” but a recent review of studies suggests it could be up to 84%.
The researchers considered males between the ages of 10 and 24 “young” and those aged 25 to 60 as “middle-aged.”
They also distinguished between primary and secondary abstinence. Men in the first category have never had any sexual activity, alone or with a partner. Men with secondary abstinence were not having sex regularly at the time of the study.
Young men were more likely to be abstinent than middle-aged men.
Why Are Some Men Choosing Abstinence?
Some of the factors associated with abstinence included age, lack of a partner, less education, and lower socioeconomic status. Some men were abstinent because of their moral or religious beliefs. Others had less sex education and less knowledge about sexually-transmitted infections and birth control. And others were in unhappy relationships that made them less inclined to have sex.
The results should be interpreted with caution, the authors noted. Not all of the reviewed studies defined “sex” in the same way. For example, the term specifically meant penile-vaginal intercourse in some studies but did not include masturbation.
Also, the results can’t be applied to all men worldwide, the authors said. Fewer studies from Asia and Australia were available. None of the studies were done in South America.
Is Abstinence For You?
There is no correct amount of sex to have, and the ideal frequency will vary from person to person. Not having sex for a long time should not have negative side effects.
There is no right or wrong way to express sexual feelings as long as all parties consent. Likewise, no person should feel obligated to have a specific frequency of sex. Avoiding sex will not harm a person’s health, and it may even be healthy.
People who feel concerned about low sexual desire or the effects of infrequent sex on their relationship can talk about their concerns with a doctor or therapist. Medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, better relationship communication, and many other strategies may help.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Irfan, Muhammad, PhD, et al.
“Sexual Abstinence and Associated Factors Among Young and Middle-Aged Men: A Systematic Review”
(Full-text. Published online: January 16, 2020)