Laverne wrote the following to me:
“I have never had thoughts that picture me making love with my husband – or anyone else for that matter. I imagine connection, fun and feelings of love but never making love. If it was left up to me sex would never be on the agenda, just because it would never occur to me to make love. I know when my husband would like to make love, and I enjoy it when I do make love, but it would never cross my mind if he didn’t initiate. I feel I am missing being aware and connected to a part of me. Surely a reasonably balanced and mostly connected human being should have some sort of sex drive. Your thoughts and insights would be really appreciated. Thank you.”
Laverne is not alone in her experience. I hear this same thing from many of my women clients.
However, many women do think about romance, which can lead to sex. Women tend to think more about the process of intimacy – of fun, connection, and sharing feelings of love – rather than about the result. In fact, for many women focusing on the result is a turnoff.
The fact that Laverne can enjoy sex when her husband initiates it indicates that there is nothing wrong with her sexuality. It’s just that it’s not separate from her feelings of love and connection. It doesn’t occur to her to make love because her sexuality mostly emerges from her emotional connection with her husband. Some women, but not all, do experience a biological push toward sex during their ovulation. But even then, for most women, it needs to be in the context of emotional intimacy.
And herein lies the major difference between men and women – testosterone. While some women have higher than normal testosterone levels, most don’t, which means that most women are not biologically driven regarding having sex. Not so for most men. Testosterone creates the biological sex drive in men, while love, intimacy and romance often lead to women feeling sexual.
It would be helpful for our relationships if we all could accept that women who don’t think about having sex are generally not imbalanced or disconnected from their bodies.
What would happen in relationships if both men and women accepted that men are often more biologically driven and women are often more emotionally driven? Perhaps this could lead to deep appreciation for each other. There is truly nothing wrong with men for generally being more biologically driven than women, and there is nothing wrong with women for generally being more emotionally driven then many men. (Of course, none of this is always true, as some women are more biologically driven than their man, and some men are more emotionally driven then their woman. And these differences can just as easily show up in same-sex relationships).
If Laverne stops judging herself for not thinking about sex, and values what she contributes to their relationship, then perhaps she can also value her husband for his biology and for being the one to initiate sex. If her husband completely embraces his biology, perhaps he can fully appreciate what Laverne brings to the relationship regarding fun, love and connection. And he might be more wiling to tap into his ability to be romantic once he accepts this as a vital part of their relationship. By valuing themselves and each other for what they each bring to their sexual relationship, their differences can be a blessing for them rather than creating conflict.