Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Michael Abrahams | An open letter women about men and sex

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2018 | 9:44 PMMichael Abrahams

One day at my office, a patient visited me for her annual gynaecological examination. I discovered that she had a vaginal infection, prescribed medication for her, and advised her to abstain from sex until after the course of treatment was completed.

She replied that abstaining from sex would not be an issue for her and was unperturbed. The conversation somehow veered into the territory of her sex life. Apparently, her bedroom was seeing less action than Dovecot Cemetery. She said that she was not interested in coitus and would sometimes sleep in her daughter’s room to avoid her husband’s dreaded one-eyed trouser snake and its deadly venom.

I asked her why there was a decline in sexual activity and enquired if she had been having marital issues or if her husband was experiencing some type of sexual dysfunction. She replied negative to both of the above, and stated that she “just can’t bother”, so they rarely engaged in “doogu-doogu”.

As a man, I was stunned, and my reaction was visceral, gut-wrenching pain, as well as empathy for her deprived spouse. So, I asked if it would be okay for him to satisfy his needs elsewhere. Her countenance immediately changed, her facial expression transformed instantaneously from a 'SpongeBob' smile to a 'Chucky' glare, and she replied, “Absolutely not!” I countered by telling asking her if she was a mad “&@$$” and explained that her behaviour was unfair, selfish and cruel.

Unfortunately, over my two decades of private practice, such conversations have repeatedly taken place. Many of you do not get it. Men do not just want sex. We need sex. It is truly a need of ours, at least the overwhelming majority of us.

You complain that we are always thinking about it, and you are absolutely correct. You just need to understand and accept that fact. We may not be able to understand your fascination with handbags and shoes, but we accept it and love you anyway.

We are almost primal in our needs. Sex, for us, signifies strength and unity, and makes us feel like men. You often complain that the male ego is fragile. It is. It is as fragile as a wrecking ball made of eggshells. We need to feel that we are desired sexually. It is how we connect with you. It is a priority in our relationships, and if we see that it is a priority to you, too, it will definitely strengthen our bond.

But our need for sex is not just because of how we feel. You might think of us as perpetually horny freaks, and some of us are, but there are biological reasons for our need to get busy. Testosterone (the male sex hormone) levels are higher in us, and this is directly connected to our sex drive.

We also have these things called testes (or balls), located in a sac called the scrotum (or balls bag), and the base of the penis. In case this may have missed you, the next time you see a penis, look for them, but if the penis is erect, please make sure that it does not “jook” out your eye during your exploratory excursions. Feel free to feel them as well, but please be gentle, because, like the male ego, they are very fragile.

Anyway, when we abstain from ejaculating, semen (male reproductive fluid) can build up in the testes and their immediate environs and create discomfort. Yes, to abstain can cause pain. We often feel the need to release. You have menstrual cycles where desire and moods can wax and wane. We have no such thing.

You might say, “If you cannot get sex, just masturbate then.” We certainly can do our own oil changes, but 'fist-backing' has its limitations. A fist is not self-lubricating, and looks, feels, smells and tastes (so I have been told) differently from a vagina. Also, the fist is not connected to someone who screams out “give it to me, baby” or “yes, right there, don’t stop.” There is no comparison really. We need the physical interaction, the feminine body, and, most important, the hallowed vagina - at least those of us who are not gay.

Also, arousal can be extremely easy for us. For many of you, arousal is connected with emotions. For us, not so much.So, a man can be in a room, and a woman he has never seen before can walk through the door, and depending on her appearance, how she looks at him, what she is wearing, how she moves, what she says or how she smells, his penis can attain a titanic erection, and be ready to embark on its maiden voyage in less than a minute.

Conversely, a woman can be in a room, and her spouse, who she loves dearly, can enter and approach her. But if she is upset with him and feeling emotionally disconnected, he can strip naked, feel her up and play R. Kelly 'til him fool and she will remain dryer than the Sahara Desert at midday.

This difference explains why a man can truly love his spouse, and still have sex with another woman. Some of you do not understand how this can happen, but it is true. Some of us just have better self-control than others.

Yes, men and women are wired differently, and we must appreciate and respect these differences if we are to harmoniously coexist. And we men must empathise with #YouToo.For example, it can be a challenge for a woman to be a wife, have a job, be a mother and still be a sex bomb, and we need to understand this.

But it is imperative for you to understand that we genuinely need sex. It is a tremendously serious issue for us. Do you want to send your man 'out a street'? If you do, just put sex very low on your list of priorities. I will look out for your letter to ‘Dear Pastor’.

Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian and poet. Email feedback to and, or tweet @mikeyabrahams