He wants it, she doesn’t. That’s the common urban myth that was the catalyst for phrases like, “Sorry, honey, I’ve got a headache.” But is men’s lust and women’s lack of desire fact or fiction? According to several experts, the truth is that a husband and wife may have very different sexual appetites, and that is neither is right nor wrong. It just IS.
Sexuality counselor and author Ian Kerner describes different types of desires. A woman, says Kerner, usually has a ‘responsive desire,’ which is fueled by sexy encounters and intimacy. Men, on the other hand, have a ‘spontaneous desire.’ In other words, when they desire sex, they are ready immediately. This can give the illusion of their desire being stronger than a woman’s. But, Kerner says, that is certainly not always the case.
He goes on to say that in his practice, he encounters many couples who come to him with varying degrees of sexual desire. Often, they are just in a rut and do not know how to direct their desires toward each other. “But,” he adds, “I meet just as many men dealing with low desire as women.”
The reasons for sexual desire problems are many. When couples first fall in love, their worlds revolve around each other and, often, their bedrooms. But as the relationship grows, so does the size of the world they live in. The relationship begins to include friends, family members, social events, work, and perhaps even children. Ultimately, chores and daily routines take the place of spontaneity and lust. Even if the desire is there, it is often dampened by the added stress of these obligations.
Specialists also say that one partner may be carrying emotional wounds that affect desire. Other things that could make a person’s sexual appetite change are medication, diet, and hormonal shifts. Just because partners have mismatched sexual appetites does not mean that they need to dine alone. Getting to the root of the problem can help put the bloom back on the love life.
Clark-Flory, Tracy. (2013). When She Wants Sex More. Salon (n.d.): n. pag. Web. http://www.salon.com/writer/tracy_clark_flory/
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