In terms of sexual arousal, typically men are like microwaves and women more like crockpots. Bad design but there you have it. Which appliance are you?
It’s important to note that low desire is not a label, a permanent diagnosis, or a flaw – it’s a position in the system. Every couple is a system, and in each system there is generally a low desire partner and a high desire partner. Those positions are generally pretty stable. It is rare that both partners have the same appetite for sex all the time. When one person wants sex more than the other, it’s called Desire Discrepancy in sexological psychobabble. Low desire is a relational issue that causes suffering when it is at odds with the partner’s higher desire and interpersonal stress is incurred.
Problem is “low desire” sounds pejorative because the term implies that there’s a normative level of desire you are supposed to achieve and maintain. Not! I’m only concerned with whether or not your level of interest in sex works for you.
The former official labels of female hypoactive desire dysfunction and female arousal dysfunction are now merged into a single syndrome called sexual interest/arousal disorder. More psychobabble. Lower desire may present as diminished sexual desire but once you rule out medical causes, it isn’t really – it just looks like low desire.
Though it is an equal opportunity woe, reduced sexual desire does seem to be mostly the domain of women. I see many women with low sexual desire. Some may have been married for many years, have raised their kids, do not want to end their marriage, love their husbands dearly, but still really do not want to have sex with them – or anyone else for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with these women; there are very good reasons why they have low desire. I also see older women, some in wonderful new relationships, who still don’t want sex. It is a side effect of menopause that women’s libido often tanks, even with the novelty of blossoming romance. However, whether or not you decide to take hormones, with all the controversy and calculated risks entailed, the middle-aged woman’s interest in sex can be resuscitated, if she wishes. Factors that can help boost the menopausal woman’s interest in sex, once medical causes are eliminated, include improving the dynamics of her relationship, and the communication with her partner.
For more on that, please join my Women’s Menopause Group
Please tell your friends. Referrals are always welcome.
For more on crockpots vs microwaves, see my TEDx talk.