“The standard narrative of sexual desire is that it just appears – you’re sitting at lunch or walking down the street, maybe you see a sexy person or think a sexy thought, and pow! you’re saying to yourself, ‘I would like some sex’…
But some people find they begin to want sex only after sexy things are already happening. And they’re normal.
They don’t have ‘low’ desire. They don’t suffer from any ailment, and they don’t long to initiate but feel they’re not allowed to.
Their bodies just need some more compelling reason than, ‘That’s an attractive person right there,’ to want sex.”
Do women feel less sexual desire?
When you understand the difference between spontaneous and responsive sexual desire, it has the power to transform your sex life.
Spontaneous desire can feel like it came out of nowhere: you start thinking about and wanting sex.
On the other hand, if you tend to get in the mood only after you start kissing or touching, that’s responsive desire.
This is important, particularly for heterosexual couples. Because it is much more common for men to experience spontaneous desire than women.
When couples (or even whole cultures!) don’t understand this, it can leave us thinking that women have less desire for sex. When really, most women’s desire is just ignited differently.
If you experience more responsive desire, you need a chance to warm up, to get in the mood.
But sometimes we don’t give ourselves that chance, for a couple of reasons:
• Not being aware that it’s what you need to get aroused
• Worrying about how to say “thanks but no thanks” when kissing and touching doesn’t work its usual magic
This sometimes leads women to avoid the very physical contact they need in order to feel desire. Thus creating a vicious cycle.
If this sounds familiar, tell your partner about what you’ve learned (e.g. by sharing this blog). And tell them that you suspect one of you might experience more responsive desire.
Then you can talk about the best ways for you to communicate about it in the moment, so that you can give feeling sexy a chance.
Getting Back In The Sack
Do you want to learn more about sexual desire and communication? Check out my sex after kids workbook, Back In The Sack.
It’s helped hundreds of people just like you to understand what’s really getting in the way of their physical and emotional connection.
Here’s an example of the kinds of things they say:
“Before downloading the Back in the Sack workbook, I felt emotionally charged, I was always feeling guilty about not being in the mood and feeling like it was another responsibility on my mental load. Since doing the workbook we have finally talked about our feelings that we didn’t realize we had, so there’s a lot less anxiety around sex and initiation.
What was most helpful were the questions that really made us think and helped us realize how we were feeling (like me feeling like it was another responsibility I had to schedule and manage) Thank you Catherine.“