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Which Comes First? Desire? Or Sex?

For most men, libido is a “drive” that propels them toward sex. They want it and they go after it. But recent studies show that when many women, perhaps most, begin sexual encounters, they feel erotically neutral. Read More

You sound like my ex-husband.

You sound like my ex-husband. He was a grade A asshole and a bully, particularly when it came to sex.

WHEN THE DISTANCER IS THE MALE

-----"But therapists say that in serious desire differences, about one-third of the time, the lower-desire partner is the man. It’s possible that these men are like so many women, not very interested in sex until things heat up."

There needs to be more research on this. There seems to be a different lower-desire process if the distancer/sexual refuser is the male.

Unfortunately, when the distancer/sexual refuser is the male, it seems that once his sexual "switch" is off (for HER but not necessarily for sexual activity in general) nothing that particular female can do will turn it back on.

Additionally there is a double whammy when the sexual distancer/refuser is a male.

Once the male desire for the female goes extinct, his pair bonding behaviors also, generally speaking, go extinct. So not only will he not want to engage in sexual intimacy, he eventually also will not continue to engage in any intimate interaction over the long term.

This is an interesting comment....

Do you have any thing to back it up? Or just your own experience? It's dangerous to extrapolate our experience of relationships out to the wider population.

implications for masturbation

Interesting article, it may be also fascinating to consider all the possible implications of this feature of female sexuality (i.e. being sexually neutral most of the time, context-dependence, desire being not the reason but the result of sexual intimacy...) for the case of female masturbation. To put it simply, what makes a woman masturbate? Is it her physical desire or her emotional state of mind? Does she feel a physical urge to masturbate (like men do, I suppose) even without having the experience with partner sex and romatnic relationships or does she start to feel the desire to masturbate only following after her experience with a more romantic "warm-up" experience?

You can't generalize about that, I think.

If you have spent time living with small children you might have seen that little girls often discover that activity independently. While a little boy might like to simply hold his penis, many little girls of the same age actually masturbate.
Of course, this can't apply to all females of the species, but it occurs often enough to support the theory that masturbation doesn't require previous partner sex.

Maybe we need a blurring of gender.

So many variable factors involved in sexuality. Women live and have always lived, in a patriarchal society, how has this shaped their sexuality? The fact that 30% of partners with a low libido are male is quite significant.
Speaking from personal experience as a woman, my desire has usually kicked in way before bed time or my partner initiating sex. I masturbate because I have an urge, a build-up which needs to be released (does this sound much like a man?) and once orgasm is reached I really feel over it, released, don't need sex, move onto the next thing.
Perhaps, when you consider how the developing fetus become male or female, sex should be thought of as not just male and female but as if on a continuum. This would help to understand the many transgender, bisexual or homosexual people.

What comes first...

This article is very true...women needs more kissing and cuddling and caressing even before starting to touching and caressing the genital parts. Men should learn that it is erotic to start slow and gentle...and the reward is amazing for both.

"The idea that desire follows

"The idea that desire follows good sex turns conventional notions of libido upside down." Has it not been (previously?) known forever that men and women have complimentary libidos? That they generally respond to different stimuli, over a different timeframe?

It's unfortunate that expectations of libido and sexual response should be subject to fashion, instead of understood as a biological constant with normal variations. The popular culture informing this view, that depicts girls and women as sexually inviting, is based on male fantasy that women are immediately sexually accessible and responsive, and their assumption (I suppose) that this is normal.

I know it's meant to be reassuring, but I find it patronising to read, written by a man, "So, ladies, if you feel sexually neutral as an erotic interlude begins, you’re normal. If you’re “slow” to become aroused, you’re normal. If you like lots of kissing and cuddling and massage before things progress to genital sex, you’re normal." The range of normality is wide. Almost everyone is normal. But men so often presume to tell women how they're supposed to feel - fast, slow, aroused, neutral. Please, in this case, tell it to the men.

I am one of those whose

I am one of those whose physiological desire for sex kicks in when sex is already well under way, but yet I initiate at least as often as my partner does. Why? Because I have a MENTAL desire for sex and all of its benefits. I anticipate the euphoria of the post-sex glow, I know it will feel good once we get going, so the initial libidinous "push" becomes a moot point.

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San Francisco journalist Michael Castleman, M.A., has written about sexuality for 36 years. more...

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