One of the most common reasons why people seek out sex therapy is because there is a mismatch in a couple’s desire for sex. I’m conscious that I’m making big generalisations here, but for the purpose of this blog, I’m concentrating on what some heterosexual couples experience. Men can have a low sex drive, although this never appears in mainstream media very often, which can make it difficult for some men to admit that this is the case. More often, it is women who are “brought” to sex therapy, by disgruntled partners (male and female), wanting their low desire partners to be “fixed”.
The impetus for this blog is a new book by Emily Nagoski entitled In the book, Nagoski details research which indicates that men and women have different types of desire. Mens’ being more spontaneous and womens more responsive, although around 10 to 20% of women can also experience spontaneous desire, desiring sex for no particular reason. So what does that mean for us? Quite a lot actually, and it can have a real impact dispelling the myth of sexual desire.
Most couples I see say they want their sex life to be spontaneous, like that is somehow the measure of a good sex life and anything else is dull and unsatisfying. This is all well and good, but as Nagoski’s research has highlighted, spontaneous sex is going to be difficult to achieve, if that is not how your desire manifests. We make the presumption that that is how it’s supposed to go, because that is what we have been told. Most films, books and TV programmes that have a sexual content, all have bodice ripping, spontaneous sex that is full of passion, which is great. However, this produces a dissatisfaction for both men and women, if this is not what they are getting. Women can be left feeling there may be something wrong with them if they are not up for it at the drop of a hat.
There are some sexologists out there who also think that spontaneous sex is an indication of sexual immaturity, because it is unplanned; you don’t have to think about it, you don’t have to wonder whether you are going to get rejected, you don’t have the time to connect with your intimate self. If we consider those people who enjoy BDSM, how difficult must it be to be spontaneous? How long must it take to set up the swing in the spare bedroom or get dressed up into your favourite gear? BDSM cannot be spontaneous, it must be thought out and planned. And those who do partake in BDSM are well known for being the best sexual communicators. An important question we ask couples is who initiates sex. Almost always, it’s the person with the higher desire, and in my experience, the man. Given that most women are not experiencing spontaneous desire, this is hardly surprising.
Another myth that needs dispelled is that sex should only be initiated if you feel horny just for the sake of it. This myth inevitably stops women from initiating sex because they just don’t feel like it when they are getting dinner ready, putting the kids to bed or having a difficult day at work. What could change that is understanding how female desire actually works, the responsive desire. Women most definitely feel sexual desire, when all the ingredients are right. This can include having time, feeling relaxed, feeling emotional connection to their partner, feeling desired and appreciated, not worrying about all of the multiple things they have left to do, being sexually stimulated in the right way, being communicated with in a fun, loving, sexy way. It is when a women has time to consider, would having sex right now be something I want?
It is not uncommon for women to think about how good it would be to have sex when she gets home that evening. However, by the time comes for that to happen, she is often exhausted, frustrated and all thoughts of fun are out of the window. This is where the good, flirty sexual communication comes in. Text your partner, tell him what you are thinking and what you want to do to him, tell him what you are going to need a hand with that night to makes sure you are not too knackered and I’m certain you will get everything you ask for……