Dates that end with lovemaking often begin with dining out, so that the meal itself can be seen as a form of sexual foreplay -- in more ways than one. How many times has this happened to you: You take your woman out to dinner at a nice restaurant. The waiter takes your drink orders and tells you of the specials, a busboy brings you a choice of savory breads, and you get down to the business of perusing the menu. Your eye is on the right side of the page -- steak? lobster? steak and lobster? -- when...
You or your partner may be experiencing irritable male syndrome (IMS), which is marked by plummeting levels of the hormone testosterone while under stress. As a result, men may feel withdrawn, frustrated, anxious, sad, and/or lack interest or enthusiasm in just about everything - including you!
Cupid Is Stupid
And often IMS can be more noticeable around holidays like Valentine's Day.
"The problem with Valentine's Day for men who are experiencing IMS is they know they should feel loving and romantic, but they just don't," says Jed Diamond, author of several books including the forthcoming Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Male Depression and Aggression.
For men, Diamond says, "this very confusing because they don't know what's going on inside them."
Women also feel the effects of IMS on Valentine's Day, says Diamond, a clinical psychotherapist and director of MenAlive, a health center in northern California. "You start thinking about when you first met and the romance was still there, and now your man isn't terribly romantic and it seems like everything about you bothers him," he says. "This can be devastating."
But you are not alone.
IMS is highly common and affects many aspects of life -- 365 days of the year, according to a new study of 10,000 men. Specifically, 46% of men say that they are often or almost always stressed and 55% say they often or almost always have a strong fear of failure. Moreover, 62% have a strong desire to get away from it all, and 40% say they are rarely or never sexually satisfied. The full study results will appear in Diamond's upcoming book.