Sex is an important part of romantic relationships, but you’re not always going to be going at it like rabbits once you’re out of the honeymoon stage. While it’s normal for a couple’s sex life to go through ups and downs, a new study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology has revealed that there’s one thing that causes guys to experience lower levels of sexual desire even during the honeymoon period of a relationship: a fear of rejection.
- It’s all about attachment anxiety. Basically, this is when you’re afraid of getting too close to someone and investing too much into a relationship in case things go wrong and your partner rejects you/decides they don’t want you. Attachment anxiety stems from the fear of being hurt and while it’s a natural urge, it’s also a destructive one if you don’t combat it.
- Sexual desire wanes over time for everyone but this is something different. As study author and Ariel University Center of Samaria lecturer Moran Mizrahi explained, “I believe that an understanding of the normative fluctuations in sexual desire along the course of romantic relationships is important for the maintenance of sexual and relationship satisfaction, and may help to prevent relationship dissolution in long-term couples. Marital therapists may use this understanding in order to promote sexual and relationship quality.” True, but when attachment anxiety enters the picture, all bets are off.
- Guys worry about being rejected just as much as women. The study focused on 62 newly-dating couples over eight months and 175 newlywed couples over 18 months. While all of them experienced the natural slight decline in sexual desire, it was the guys who agreed with statements like “I worry that romantic partners would not care about me as much as I care about them” had a much steeper decline in desire. Guys without attachment anxiety were fairly average in this regard.
- The findings shed some light on why our levels of sexual desire changes. As Mizrahi revealed, “Desire seems to be more fragile when it is fueled by relational expectations rather than pleasure-centered urges (as in the case of secure men). It suggests that desire declines more rapidly when people are preoccupied with their relationship and that it is not necessarily doomed to wane over time.” In other words, the more anxious you are, the less likely you are to want sex. If you’re feeling good about your relationship and secure in your connection, you’re less likely to have such a steep drop in desire.
- Of course, there’s no accounting for life getting in the way. Even if you’re deeply in love with your partner and confident in your connection, that doesn’t mean you’re going to want to have sex 24/7. We all have lives to live, and things like work, family, and general stress can get in the way of intimacy. This doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed, just that you’re human. Nothing wrong with that.