$ sexual anorexia, the loss of sexual desire, according to people who keep up on such things, is becoming commonplace in American society. Apparently it is more prevalent in men than women. There are as many theories as to what causes it as there are sexual therapists.

One therapist blames it on Monday Night Football, which is now also shown on Thursdays and sometimes on Saturday nights.

"You can't expect someone who has listened to Howard Cosell for three hours to have a very strong sex drive," one therapist told me. "What worries all the people who deal with sexual dysfunctions is that more and more sports programs are being put on the air during prime time, and more men are complaining of headaches when they're ready to go to bed."

A woman sex therapist considers the new computer games a contributing factor. She said, "You can play practically any game from backgammon to tennis on a toy computer now, and I find most of my male patients are happier trying to outwit a stupid machine than indulging in the pleasure of the flesh. Recently I tried an experiment in my lab. I had a beautiful girl in a black silk negligee sitting on the bed. Across the room on a card table was a Simon Says computer game -- the one that lights up in different colors and makes a lot of noise.

"Four of my five patients immediately went to the Simon Says computer and started to push the buttons."

"Well," I said, "at least the fifth person was healthy."

"I'm not sure. He confessed he was more attracted to the girl than to Simon Says, but that if I had offered him a radio-controlled robot he might have had second thoughts."

"Who would have ever dreamed that computers would replace sex?"

"I guess," she said sadly, "it's whatever turns you on." Another member of the profession blames the loss of sexual desire on the proliferation of sex-oriented magazines.

"I can trace the decline and fall of the male sex drive directly to the increase in the publication of Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler and all the other imitations. Men are reading more about sex and enjoying it less."

"Why is this?"

"They feel that since they've read about it, they've actually done it. Many men can now fulfill all their fantasies at the newsstands for $2.50, which is much cheaper than paying for someone's taxi fare home."

One therapist (Washington has almost as many as California) told me that as men become more passive in their sexual drives, women become more aggressive.

"I have a lady friend who met a very attractive lawyer, and after a candlelight dinner and a visit to a disco, she said to him, 'Your place or mine?' The lawyer excitedly said, 'Mine,' and they played pinball until five in the morning."

"What's the answer to the problem?"

"Well, we know it isn't perfume," she said, "and it obviously isn't women's lib. We do know men's sexual appetites dwindle in direct proportion to the professional success of their mates. I would say the only answer is to return to a moralistic society where sex is considered forbidden fruit. Many of my colleagues will take issue with me, but if we indoctrinate young men with the fact that having a healthy sex life is a sin, they'll be inspired to give up their computer games and come to bed when they are called." i