As a research sexologist, I can explain how desire works--and why you lose it in longterm relationships.
As a writer and a woman, I know that female desire is more complex than the science.
An elusive element of desire is rooted in who we are, how we feel about our sexuality and how the man (or men) in our lives responds to us. Your attitude can kill your desire. His attitude can kill your desire. Americans live in a society that hasn't shed its Puritan past; and, Babe, the Puritans were not sexy people. (Remember: They came here for the freedom to practice a more extreme form of religion than was encouraged in England.)
This is from Anthony Lane's review of the film "Sex and the City" in this week's The New Yorker magazine:
After noting that the TV version of "Sex and the City" was an entertaining mix of "dirty talk" and "romantic satisfaction," he wrote, "Behind it all, one caught a whiff of stale Puritanism: despite the women's knowing bid for certainty, there was an old-school, anti-sophisticated wish to put desire in its proper place, or better still, to dispense it in a shared public giggle for fear of where it may lead."
We do fear female sexuality--women fearing it more men do. Some of them need to control female sexuality or demean it. Too many of us go along with, even initiate, that program, keeping our sisters in line by calling them "sluts" or lecturing them on their "fear of intimacy"--from which they obviously suffer if they can't be monogamous. Right? And don't get me started on the anti-sex underpinnings of The Rules,
The Madonna/Whore dynamic grew out of all that. Good girls get married; bad girls get laid. My black women friends say that the African American community has put its own spin on the myth. "White girls will do anything," they say because they believe we are sexually freer--and "their" men want us for the blow jobs and other things we willingly perform.
Becoming a sexually empowered woman is not easy, huh?
That's why we need to celebrate and support--not judge-- one another on the road to sexual empowerment. If we can do that, we can help lessen the erosion of desire that happens when women feel controlled or demeaned by their lovers. Do you feel sexy?
Tomorrow let's talk about the "feel sexy" power of vibrators--and get that quick lesson in The Desire Curve.
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