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As a researcher of human behavior who is fascinated by how sex and gender interact, I have found that sexual avoidance influences multiple aspects of our well-being.
I also have found that people avoid sex for many different reasons, some of which can be easily addressed.
For both men and women, however, our research and the work of others have shown that medical problems are the main reasons for sex avoidance.
For example, heart disease patients often avoid sex because they are afraid of a heart attack.
Sex feeds our identity and is a core element of our social life.
But millions of people spend at least some of their adulthood not having sex.
This sexual avoidance can result in emotional distress, shame and low self-esteem – both for the individual who avoids sex and for the partner who is rejected.
Yet while our society focuses a lot on having sex, we do not know as much about not having it.
Chronic pain diminishes the pleasure of the sexual act and directly interferes by limiting positions.Individuals who are lonely sometimes replace actual sexual relations with the use of pornography.This becomes important as pornography may negatively affect sexual performance over time.Pregnant women fear miscarriage or harming the fetus – and can also refuse sex because of lack of interest and fatigue.The most common reasons for men avoiding sex are erectile dysfunction, chronic medical conditions and lack of opportunity.