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Do Women Really Have A Lower Libido Than Men?

by | 14/01/21 | Low Libido, Sex Positivity

It’s a huge stereotype that women have lower libidos than men do. You can see that stereotype play out on almost every TV show or comedy sketch about marriage. But is it actually true? Do women desire sex less than men do?

In order to answer this question, we need to consider just how complex this answer can be. Sexual desire involves the interplay of a long list of different variables, as well as being an incredibly subjective experience for each individual.

How do we measure sexual desire?

When we try to measure sexual desire, the most obvious method that comes to mind is to measure the frequency with which people experience sexual desire.

When asked this way, men will often report more sexual desire than women.

But does that tell us the whole story? Not at all.

If you change the question and ask about desire DURING a sexual interaction, all genders come up equal.

The difference here is the TYPE of desire that each person is experiencing.

There are two types of sexual desire, namely: Spontaneous Desire and Responsive Desire.

Spontaneous desire is what you tend to see in the movies. The person experiences sexual desire subjectively, in their own mind, then they get aroused physically afterwards. It’s the thought that leads to action.

Responsive desire is the one we don’t often talk about. This is when the person first becomes aroused physically, then only experiences sexual desire afterwards. In this case, the action leads to the thoughts.

The majority of men experience spontaneous desire, and the majority of women experience responsive desire. Of course there is an overlap, with women having strong spontaneous desire and men having stronger responsive desire in some cases.

Sexual desire varies from person to person, and can even fluctuate between the two types of desire within the same individual over time.

Are women more sexual?

A study was done where they showed a group of men and women video clips of people having sex, while hooked up to special equipment that measures the level of genital engorgement.

The videos included:

  • A man having sex with a woman
  • A man having sex with another man
  • A woman having sex with another woman
  • A naked woman exercising
  • A naked man walking on the beach
  • And two Bonobo moneys mating

As expected, straight men got aroused from watching the women in each of the 3 videos. But women were aroused by ALL 6 videos. Interestingly, they were more aroused by the monkeys mating than the naked man on the beach.

What this study shows us is that women not only experience strong sexual desire, but can also be aroused by a wider range of different stimuli.

If the sex is good, of course you’re going to want more of it!

If your definition of sex is a penis jamming into a vagina for 3 minutes without any other stimulation or warming up, you aren’t going to get anything from that sexual encounter. You won’t want to do that again. It’s disappointing, and you actually land up thinking the whole thing is your fault (It’s not!). So you avoid sex.

When it’s not enjoyable for you and you aren’t getting what you need, you won’t be inclined to want to do it again. It doesn’t become something to look forward to.

Do not underestimate the power of good sex. When the sex is good and your needs are met, you will want more of it.

If your definition of sex is expanded and includes a wide range of activities, it changes the whole story.

If you partner went down on you and gave you oral sex for 20 minutes, included the type of stimulation that you enjoy and made you feel desirable, you’d be way more likely to orgasm. You’d have a great time, enjoying the intimacy and all of the delicious sensations.

Would you look forward to having sex again after that? Of course! It definitely changes things.

The problem here is not that you don’t desire to have sex, you just don’t desire to have disappointing sex.

The problem here is not that you don't desire to have sex, you just don't desire to have disappointing sex. Click To Tweet

The problem is not your low libido, it’s just lower than your partner’s.

Just because you have lower libido, it doesn’t mean that you have a problem. They’re not automatically the normal one just because their libido is higher.

You cannot be blamed and be told to “just go and fix it”.

The problem here is not necessarily your lower libido, it’s the discrepancy in sexual desire between the two of you. It’s that gap that causes conflict, it’s that gap that you need to work on. Here’s where some much needed negotiation needs to take place.

Do you need help when it comes to your sex life? Are you worried about your low libido? If so, please take the FREE Libido Assessment to take the first step on your journey to having the sex life you’ve always wanted. You won’t regret it!

You have lower libido because you are navigating a complex interplay of societal expectations

You were brought up to be a “good girl”. You were told that only bad girls enjoy sex. Your virginity was emphasised and you were constantly worried about being “ruined” by having sex.

Just because you’re an adult in a long term committed relationship now, it doesn’t mean that you have forgotten those messages.

You have never been taught to embrace your sexuality, or even accept that it’s just okay. You still believe that sex is a sin, is shameful and shouldn’t be spoken about.

You are constantly bombarded with messages that call you a prude (or frigid) if you don’t want to have sex. But if you enjoy sex, you’re a slut. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

This turns sex into an event dedicated to the man and his desires only. You start to believe that your job is only to be desired, to be a passive recipient of sex, rather than an equal partner who is having a mutually pleasurable experience.

You deserve to feel pleasure, to get the types of stimulation that make YOU feel good, even if it does nothing for your partner. Sex is not just for your partner to “get off”. You deserve more than that.

A higher sex drive does not equate to enjoying sex more or feeling more sexually satisfied.

Just because you have a higher libido, it doesn’t mean that you’re having good sex. There’s a big difference between QUALITY and QUANTITY.

Just because you have a higher libido, it doesn't mean that you're having good sex. There's a big difference between QUALITY and QUANTITY. Click To Tweet

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take one mind-blowing, sensual afternoon a month than have mediocre sex every day.

In Summary

Women do not have lower libido than men do. Women can experience the same levels of sexual desire that men do, it just might be a different type of desire – responsive desire.

Maybe men want sex more frequently, but women want it to be longer, deeper, more connected, more sensual or even more spiritual. Women value quality over quantity when it comes to sex. Every time.

Woman in the bath worried that she has low libido

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I’d be very grateful if you’d help by sharing it with a friend on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you!

Disclaimer: This blog contains my opinions and doesn’t reflect the opinions of the Department of Health of South Africa or The Southern African Sexual Health Association. All information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but it’s possible that there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. While I am a registered medical practitioner, I am not YOUR doctor. The information presented on this blog is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as professional medical advice. If you rely on any information presented, it’s at your own risk. Please consult a professional before taking any sort of action.

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