(Note: This post is intended for cis hetero men and women.)
I know, I know – you probably think I’m full of shit, right? Several years ago, I probably would have responded the same, to be honest. However, you might be surprised to know that out of all the work I do for my coaching business, I spend the MOST time challenging belief systems – my own, especially. In return, I have been able to help others make sense of how they’re feeling, help to shift the narrative of their relationship, and explore their sexuality on levels they have yet to explore.
If I had a penny for every time a man came to me and said, “My girlfriend/wife lost her sex drive”, or a woman say, “I lost my sex drive”, I would be a millionaire by now. For real.
Some self-disclosure? I’ve said it in the past, too. I, like most humans, never learned how human sexuality worked – ESPECIALLY female sexuality. My fellow Gen X’ers can relate, I’m sure. When it came to sexuality, we learned that men were hypersexual, and craved variety and novelty. That was the “norm” for men – it was expected. Women were destined for monogamy, weren’t very sexual, and existed to be the pleaser in the relationship. Everything about sex was for men. Period. Any of this sound familiar?
Well, guess what? It’s all wrong. Literally…statistically inaccurate – not just my opinion. The more I learn about sexuality, the more the complaints I hear about sex drive make sense. Think about it. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that most women in long-term monogamous relationships seem to “lose their sex drive”? Let me help you on this one – it’s not a coincidence.
According to Dr. Wednesday Martin – a PhD, Social Anthropologist, award-winning Author, and female sexuality guru, “A couple live together, their libidos are matched, and they have a lot of sex. But after a year, two years, maybe three years, what tends to happen is that the woman’s desire drops more quickly than the man’s. At that point the woman thinks, ‘I don’t like sex anymore.’ But what, in fact, is happening is that she is having a hard time with monogamy; because women get bored with one partner more quickly than men do.” (Read the whole article here!)
Let’s dive a little deeper here. When 50 Shades of Gray came out, what happened? There was a mini sexual revolution for women. Why? Because they were, in a way, given permission to be more open about enjoying sexual themes that our culture typically doesn’t “approve of” for women. How about when the Netflix series “Sex/Life” came out? At one point, it was the #1 show in Australia! Why? Because it’s rare to find a show that depicts the woman as the one who is seeking sexual excitement. Both Sex/Life and 50 Shades opened Pandora’s Box, and honestly – I love to see it.
Have you ever noticed that women tend to lead the direction of the couple’s sex life? When her libido isn’t tapped into, sex becomes sort of, well…nonexistent. What usually happens then, is the woman accepts that she has “no sex drive”, the man gets resentful and frustrated, he feels rejected, she feels broken, and things are no bueno.
What if that DIDN’T have to be the narrative? What if the tables turned a bit and the WOMAN’S sexual desires were discussed or, better yet, ENCOURAGED? What if ego was taken out of the equation, and we became truly interested in what makes WOMEN tic, and not just roll over and play dead when she seemingly “loses her sex drive”? What if we were no longer surprised when a woman said she desires newness and variety? What if slut-shaming was a thing of the past?
It’s kind of a cruel joke if you think about it. When girls are growing up, they are more desirable if they are “pure”. That societal pressure keeps most women in the proverbial sexual “closet”. Then, when women get older and enter a long-term relationship, men want them to be more sexual, and don’t understand why it’s not happening.
I see a lot of women in their 40’s and beyond going through a sexual awakening. The fear of being slut-shamed is not much of an issue anymore and they begin to open the closet door a bit. Then, they are faced with an internal conflict of wanting to finally explore their sexuality, but also living decades with shame and guilt over that exact thing! All of this on top of the fear of judgment and rejection from their partner, and you can see why many women stay quiet. With that silence comes the perpetuation of the myth that women aren’t as sexual as men. In actuality, many women either simply haven’t explored their sexuality yet, or they are terrified to discuss it! So, the cycle continues.
I get it. This is not easy. Conversations about sex are not always easy. Conversations about fantasies and desires can feel like an impossible feat. I look at it like this – Having open conversations about our sexuality is hard…so is feeling bored and stunted for the rest of your relationship. Choose your hard.