Questions about the lack of sexual desire have been around since the days of Sigmund Freud. Freud was interested in trying to figure out why women seemed to have a lack of desire and what buttons needed to be pushed in order for her to become aroused. It is not hard to understand given the context of the Patriarchal society that Freud was immersed in to quickly realize why it was considered “a women’s problem” because everyone knew that men ‘never’ had a problem with desire…hmm, really??? In fact, I think that if there were assertive research conducted today in the realm of low sexual desire that we would most likely learn that it is not tied to any one specific gender but affects the entire population. I think we have been trying for too many years to scientifically explain a way to base it upon some complicated set of biological factors and functioning when maybe all we need is to give it a fresh perspective.
Let’s take a look at the model that pathologizes low sexual desire. Low sexual desire emerges when one looks at human sexuality from an orgasm based foundation. In other words, sex has its roots in reproduction where an erection is a necessary component along with orgasm, which at one point the privilege of achieving such belonged solely to the male partner. Somewhere along the timeline, the female was acknowledged of being capable of having an orgasm but again only after the male had prescribed exactly when and where it was to take place – that is during intercourse, while the penis was in the vagina. Of course, women were made to feel inadequate or abnormal if she could not perform to the male’s unrealistic demands and expectations. Unfortunately, some still believe in this anatomical challenging proposition and believe they must conform or there is something wrong with them that requires a visit to a medical professional and/or sex therapist. Be that as it may, the purpose of this writing is to challenge the old model and put it into a perspective that we all can relate to and understand.
So in English, the old model that we are all supposed to fit into and become aroused in deals with what I call meat and potatoes sex and this I believe is where the real problem lies. In fact, I would argue that there is no such thing as low sexual desire or inhibited sexual desire when viewed in this context. Let me explain what I mean by way of an analogy. In the many ways we refer to sex in our daily dealings, the one that resonates for most people has to do with appetite – i.e. sexual appetite. So, let us compare and contrast sexual appetite with what is known to every human being and that is one’s appetite for food. Very simply put, if we look at how most people satisfy their sexual appetite it reads like we are going to dine in, with leftovers and someone else is responsible for cooking the meal and better like what is being served. How much desire do you think you would have if you had to eat the same reheated leftovers night after night. I think most of us would get pretty darned bored and lose our desire completely, only wanting to eat now and then if we were really hungry.
However, what if we approached our sexual appetite in the same or similar fashion that we satiate our hunger? At the very beginning, most people feel comfortable asking their partner what food they are in the mood for? From there, most people find more pleasure in sharing a meal with a loved one and even more when there is stimulating conversation. Additionally, we all have a basic language for communicating our needs for food. We for the most part easily and openly talk about food, while we are lucky if we can even hint at sex. So why are we able to maintain a lifelong desire for food? – it is easy – because we do not offer only one meal choice and we constantly are trying new flavors, combining tastes, experimenting with new recipes, etc.
Ways to satiate sexual appetite fail in comparison to the way we satisfy our appetite for food. We offer a limited variety sexually but a vast array for hungry appetites. The question we all ask ourselves at one point or another in our lives is – What’s on the menu? And the answers we afford go something like this:
• Fine dining
• Formal, informal
• Dining in or out
• Fast food
• Take out
• Spicy and hot
• Mild and bland
• Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner
• Late night snack
• Fried foods
• Baked goods
• Exotic, forbidden fruits
• Culinary delights
• Cold, hot, smooth, crunchy
When contrasted to the sexual menu the list is considerably much shorter for most, possibly only one line item. It seems we have driven sexual desire out of our relationships by limiting our choices sexually. Is it any wonder desire is absent when we continually try to satiate the appetite with only one menu and in many cases one menu item? I don’t know about you but the idea of coming home every night to the same reheated leftover meat and potatoes, all but eliminates any desire I may have felt.