Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “How Often Should Married Couples Have Sex?” It’s a topic I’ve covered here in the past — what to do when you have mismatched libidos (hint: compromise!) and why quantity is nowhere near as important as quality — and I assumed this article would be more of the same.
But then there was the subtitle, slinking beneath the headline of the story: “What Happens When He Says ‘More’ and She Says ‘No.’”
So it’s that old chestnut, I thought. Men always want it more, and women are frigid cock blockers.
The next day, New York’s culture blog, The Cut, ran a short piece on why — and I quote — “denying men sex is like child neglect.” My eyes couldn’t stop rolling. Not only was this playing into the “men want it more” stereotype, but it was also demonizing whichever partner happened to have the lower libido. Not. Fair.
Okay. I’ll admit it. In my marriage, he does want it more.
But my relationship is only one small piece of the bigger picture. In fact, back when I was writing a sex advice column for another online magazine, the bulk of the emails I received were from horny women desperate for more nookie.
And just the other day, Tracy Clark-Flory wrote a piece for Salon that was all about women wanting it more.
“When I put out a call for women who had experienced having the higher sex drive in a relationship,” she writes, “I was flooded with responses — and many of these women wanted to put me in touch with female friends with similar tales of sexual dissatisfaction.”
She later goes on to quote sex counselor Ian Kerner, who doesn’t believe that either sex has stronger levels of desire. Rather, he thinks the way we feel desire is just…different. He goes on to explain that women tend to experience desire after they’ve already started fooling around, while men experience “spontaneous desire.” (Basically, they don’t always need foreplay to get in the mood. They can catch a glimpse of your nip and be ready to go.)
Kerner says this difference “can create the appearance that male desire is stronger,” when that’s not necessarily the case.
As for me, I’m not really interested in who wants it more. That differs from relationship to relationship, and from phase to phase within a relationship.
But the fact that there is a disparity in libido levels for so many couples means that we need to be listening to each other more, and communicating with our partners about what we can all do to make each other weak in the knees (and moist in the pants).
For me, it’s hot breath in my ear, a firm grip on my inner thigh, a hand rubbing my back while his mouth teases me into leaning in.
What gets your motor running? And when was the last time you told your partner what, when, where, and how?