Are men off sex or is research flawed?

BANGALOW men's health nurse David Hughes believes the sex drives of middle-aged Aussie men are just as healthy as ever.

So he considers new research this week, showing middle-aged men are going off sex, to be a world away from the sex-thirsty, red-blooded blokes of the Northern Rivers.

Counselling and sex therapy charity Relate, based in the UK, says it has seen a 40 per cent increase in men who simply cannot be bothered to make love to their wives and partners.

Peter Bell, Relate's head of practice, told the UK media the problem was becoming increasingly widespread.

"Men used to come to us with impotence - now known as erectile insufficiency - but Viagra has sorted some of that problem," he said.

"What we have is a lot of men who say, as women did in the 1950s: 'I can have sex but I do not want to. It's not rewarding'.

"It is a serious issue. It counts as a pychosexual dysfunction rather than just a relationship problem, because these men haven't simply gone off their partner but off sex altogether."

He said the findings were a world away from just ten years ago, when hardly any men contacted them with a loss of libido.

Changing sexual roles for men and women and increasing rates of depression among men were possible explanations for the change, he said.

But Mr Hughes said for most Aussie blokes it had to be a different story.

"I'm a nurse and I've looked after blokes with cancer in their 70's. Their first concern is will they still be able to make love to their wives," he said.

"Your average middle-aged Aussie still thinks he's in his sexual prime.

"I'm going to be tongue in cheek here and ask did the researchers also have photos of these guy's wives?"

Mr Hughes said from a nursing perspective he believed the men in the research have been suffering from sadness - and that could be linked to a lower sex drive.

"Some of these middle aged men may feel they are in a rut and they're just unhappy with their lives," he said.

One anonymous district man said he wasn't bored of 'it' but finding time could be difficult.

"With two small children, well, family life can be busy?"

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