Sexual Desire

February 17, 2009

Oooh, my first link post.

Via a quick hit at Feministing I found Amanda Marcotte’s blog post entitled Not Tonight, Honey, and Who Know’s Why?

Female Sexual Desire is one of those topics. Everybody talks about it but nobody seems to understand it. Ms. Marcotte puts forth some ideas regarding why so many women report low libido and how the current view of what constitutes a sexual problem is problematic. The entire article is interesting, but it was the final paragraph that really got my attention.

It’s an indicator of how male-dominated our society is that the fact that women have diminishing libidos and don’t seem to care that much about it is treated as the problem, when in fact it’s merely the symptom of a larger problem–that women feel overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, understimulated, and shamed about their bodies. If we treated the actual problems that women face, higher libidos would be the happy result, I’m sure. But in order to do that, we’d have to treat male domination like a problem to be solved, and since few people really want to do that, instead we’re left with articles that note women’s lack of libido, but carefully resist asking why.

I think Ms. Marcotte is probably correct, in a lot of cases. However, my own experience is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I have never been one of these ladies that has low libido. I’ve always been the one in the relationship who had the higher libido, which brings about its own problems. Rather than being made to feel that I’m a bad girlfriend for not wanting sex, I’ve been shamed (directly, by boyfriends) for wanting to have sex. As a direct result of this, I have a hard time initiating sex.

It seems as though we’re shamed if we want it and shamed if we don’t.

I suspect that, in addition to the potential causes Ms. Marcotte lists in her post, a lack of communication between couples is probably a major factor. As mentioned in her post, a recent episode of Mad Men showed the men wondering what the women want, but not even thinking to ask them. As of my reading, at least one commenter suggests that asking women what they want is futile, as it results in unintelligible answers.

I don’t know what to suggest beyond keeping the dialog open. If your significant other seems to have a drastically different libido than you do, talk about it, frankly and try not to be judgemental. You may find that the issue isn’t really libido at all.

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