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Women’s sexual desire

Women who live alone or do not have an active sex life with their partner sometimes perceive themselves to be sexually needy because they start to doubt their ability to attract men.

Margaret (early fifties, children, relationship 30 years) was confident that she was highly sexual and interested in sex. However, her sexual relationship with her partner had broken down and she admitted that she did not consider female masturbation remotely interesting.

Given that she made no mention of a lover, I found it difficult to see that she had any outlet for her sexuality. When Margaret described herself as sexy, it was in terms of looking attractive, being young-at-heart and being physically active at her local tennis club with like-minded women.

“Nearly all (but not all) younger males are aroused to the point of erection many times per week, and many of them may respond to the point of erection several times per day. Many females may go for days and weeks and months without ever being stimulated unless they have actual physical contact with a sexual partner.” (p682 Sexual behavior in the human female 1953)

Women often define their sexuality by their emotional sense of well-being and their attractiveness rather than by any ‘sex drive’. A man’s sexual arousal can be very flattering and women enjoy the compliment. As they grow older men worry about impotence; women worry about losing their attractiveness. Female sexuality is often defined in terms of young women’s attractiveness to men.

Men hope for sex for life

Older women often imply that marriage involves both sides ‘putting up’ with a non-ideal compromise. Today couple’s expectations have increased. In the past men may have been grateful for sex of any description but now they hope that their woman will engage on a variety of sexual activities and even that she will be enthusiastically orgasmic.

“Married women are facing more sexual problems than single girls, with problems ranging from a lack of interest in sex to failure to reach orgasm. What a surprise!” admits Linda Kelsey in her article ‘The truth about Married Sex.’ Linda acknowledges that “For married women today it’s difficult to square our expectations of sexual fulfilment with the realities of long-term relationships.”

She suggests that the influence of the modern youth culture means that middle-aged women today “still feel like a woman with sexual needs, or at least a woman who wants to feel she’s still sexually attractive.” (pages 48/49 Daily Mail UK newspaper Thursday, October 6th 2005)

One summer’s evening at a barbeque, a man in his fifties commented that he had almost forgotten what sex was because it was so long since he had had any. Understandably everyone was embarrassed, including his wife, and a few years later I heard that they had divorced. I assume this stand-off explains why so many married women prefer to say nothing about sex.

The proposal of the sexual revolution was that modern sexual relationships should be mutually pleasurable. So we blame the wife for being ‘unloving’ even though we all know that he probably has an orgasm during sex every time and she quite possibly has never had an orgasm in her life. A man needs to compensate a woman somehow for the sexual pleasure he enjoys.

Men enjoy sex fairly spontaneously but it is much more difficult for a couple to find ways of including some pleasure for the woman. In the marriage scenario, all pretence of romance or affection leading to ‘making love’ can be lost. Everyday pressures and routine reduce sex to the minimum required to keep a man’s sex drive at bay, satisfying neither party.

Long-term sexual relationships involve making effort from time to time and a man needs to ensure that he is not the only person enjoying sexual pleasure from the couple’s sexual relationship. Ways Women Orgasm would like to hear success stories from couples who have overcome these pitfalls in longer-term relationships.

Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)