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Why Is Everyone Talking About Female Sexuality All of a Sudden?

Why Is Everyone Talking About Female Sexuality All of a Sudden?

I have been working with a major news outlet on the issue of low female sexual desire. The talking heads and big pharma are calling this “low libido,” and they are trying to fix it with a pill.  I’m not so sure they are taking the right approach.

The media outlet asked me to find women, perhaps my coaching clients, that would be willing to come out and talk about this. No one wants to; not a big surprise there! Would you want to step forward as a person with “low sexual libido”? Geez!  With the men they had to switch out erectile dysfunction with “ED.”

I would rather they called it “Desire Untapped” or “Desire Yet Unspoken.” Now, that is language I can wrap my libido around. That is what I once was – a woman who didn’t understand my own sexual desire. I knew the desire was there, but it felt more like a simmering pot, close to boil, but not quite there.

I wanted to boil, as so many of us do.  I wanted to feel like those women look on “Sex in The City” ,  but I wasn’t them.  I would never be them.  I was a mid-life Riverdale housewife, and fertility advocate. I had to find my own way and I did. But along the way, I learned a lot about what makes women tick.

I became fascinated with what turns us ladies on as sexual creatures.  I realized that I really didn’t understand how most women’s sexual desire worked. For instance, did you know that women’s sexual desire is considered by many sexologists as “responsive desire,” while male sexual response is usually characterized by “spontaneous desire.” This is the way that many sexologists are parsing apart “Responsive and Spontaneous” sexual desire. And frankly, I didn’t love that language or concept either. It made me feel like a receptacle of male desire instead of having my own.

“Responsive desire” is when the agreement  to have sex happens after some kind of sexual initiation has begun.  It can look like this: You are reading a book, and your sexual partner makes a sexual advance such as kissing your neck. You weren’t thinking about sex in that moment. You were reading your book, but then you start thinking “Oh My” this feels good. And the books falls to the floor. Sex happens. What book?

This is contrasted with “Spontaneous desire” which we tend to associate more with our idea of male sexuality.  This can look more like,  you are sitting in a business meeting, at a dance club or simply walking the dog in the park and, for no apparently obvious reason, you think, “Sex would be good right now.” You are going to sleep or waking up, you are in the shower or eating a pizza and you think “I’d like to have some sex!”

Regardless of what body or identity you have, if you’re more of a “responsive” desire person you might have worried that your interest in sex was abnormally low. You might think you have low libido! A lot of us worry about sex. Do we want it too much or too little? Worrying about how much we do or don’t want sex is something that many of us spend a great deal of time and money on. Countless books and articles are centered around how much sex is too much or too little?

So, let’s use the modality of “Responsive desire” (more female) versus “Spontaneous desire” (more male) to look at this question as it applies to women.

And why all of this interest in female libido all of a sudden? I mean it’s everywhere.  As a woman, I am glad that the world has started to care about my sex life, and as a sex coach I care deeply about women and their sexuality.

But what is truly driving this? Could it be that big pharma which cashed in big time on Viagra sees another big marketing opportunity in my sexual desire and the model for that sexual desire is going to now be based on male sexuality as many female sex advocates are contending?  It’s possible.

Or could it be that women are more self-aware than they have ever been and want to try on being more “spontaneous” in their sexual expression? Perhaps women are having their own desire to become more “untapped” and try on some different models of sexual desire and response.

You know, lots of men take erectile dysfunction drugs who don’t need them. It’s a big part of the market. It’s called “Performance Enhancements” in the male world of sexual Olympics.

Is it possible that women will want to enhance their sexual response as well?  There are now sexual enhancement gels on the market to kick up orgasm for women such as Zestra and Sex Butter.

I bet we are going to be hearing more about this. Female sexual empowerment is emerging again into the cultural zeitgeist. I think it’s because women have finally become comfortable with having their own money and their own independence.  We are just beginning to come to the place where we are ready to feed ourselves pleasure.

I love this new attention around female desire. I think it’s important. The more we talk about female sexual desire, the more women will come to understand their own individual curve of desire. And if they want to shake up their desire and arousal curve with pole dancing, female sexual enhancement products, a new vibrator, sexy yoga, belly fit, burlesque classes, sex coaches and sexuality workshops – then why not? It’s all about making women comfortable so they can reach for what they want.

 

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Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach Specializing In Women's Issues: Sexuality, Fertility, Body Image, Wellness and Rejuvenation. Pamela is also author of the best selling memoir Shameless (Rodale, Jan 2011), and founder of The American Fertility Association.Her websites BeingShameless.com and her daily blog, thefertilityadvocate.com, are a breakfast essential for reporters, writers and policymakers.

58 comments

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3:37AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

thanks for sharing

9:34AM PST on Feb 5, 2013

thanks

9:31AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

thanks!

5:07PM PST on Feb 3, 2013

Hmmmmm, food for thought.

5:55PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

Thanks for the article Pamela

3:16PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

well, maybe going off of my medication could help. then i feel good of myself. althugh there were times I dind't care about "getting any". but now I am old and lonly.

to bad the one user is gone. she could teach me how to claim "hot young studs" so i use them as a living sex toy , then toss them aside when bord with them.

guys are easy. they take free sex, even from the most deformed of women.

3:13PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

i need sexy classes but have a pletroa of many phobias, possibly brought on by body dysmorphic disorder. how do I go to be a rapterous slutcake who'll conqure every man around and worship my "goddess temple parts". as many of these self helps talk about.

one cannot be happy and live this way. you think about it to much and think you have multiple personalities.

i am to afraid and shallow just to go on the adventure, and even have public sex, or put on shows for folk on line

and lay in bed all night talking to my cervix. this is what being a woman is about?

or maybe I am just a warrior, I will get a quick fix and move on to a battle.

seeing myself as that character type. or those who ruin body images, It makes my skin crawl. but i want it so bad. I want to not be me

10:01PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

My wife's libido flatlined years ago, yet she gets perfect sexual pleasure from orgasm the very few times she has allowed me to give her one. There is no "responsive desire" if there is no natural, biological internal drive. With this part of our marriage ruined by her fixed attitude of total disinterest to the point of abhorrence, I would be thrilled by the arrival of a safe medication that would return her own innate urges to something even close to normal.

4:58PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

thanks. oddly I guess I'm one of the few women with very high libido. I constantly want it and my husband is the one with low libido that rarely wants it....lol

10:35AM PST on Jan 26, 2013

So I'm not a machine who can turn on at will....save the meds and give me some free time, I'm sure my libido will kick in!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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