The sexual problem women report most often is lack of libido. Women “want to want,” but they say they just aren’t feeling it. Men want women to want them, and feel that something must be wrong if the woman in their life doesn’t crave sex the same way they do.
Why do so many women feel no free-floating desire at all, especially a few years into a long-term relationship? First, we need to recognize that men and women are profoundly different in sexuality. Men’s sexual drives are primarily driven by the testosterone, of which women have much less. Women’s sexuality, after the novelty of a new relationship wears off, tends to be a more responsive sexuality; desire is only sparked as a response to an appropriate stimulus.
Some men, sensing this, may ask their partner what would interest them sexually. The trouble is, that question usually focuses on the wrong part of the process. The right question is, how do you want to start? A massage? A shower together? Snuggling on the couch? A glass of wine on the deck? What do you need to unplug from your daily routine, and plug into eroticism?
This is a question that couples can explore together. Women need to realize that they don’t need to feel physical desire in order to begin a sexual experience with their partner; they just need to be open to the idea of getting in the mood.
Both need to remember that while the average man is like a gas stove — turn it on and it’s ready to go immediately — many women are more like an electric burner that heats up gradually. So, most couples will benefit if they do not depend on libido to drive sex, and instead take time to get the fires going.
Elaine Wilco is a licensed professional counselor with over 20 years of experience. She maintains a private practice in Alpharetta focused on helping those with intimacy issues. Follow her at facebook.com/IntimacyAtlanta.