I have been seeing female patients for 27 years and we frequently discuss difficulties with intimacy. Topics can include decrease in libido, vaginal dryness causing pain, body image after childbirth or cancer treatment and the list goes on. I jokingly tell my patients that God messed up when he created sexuality since 90% of male libido is between the legs and 90% of female libido is between the ears. We work together to try and problem solve both physical and emotional issues, sometimes with medication and other times with support and understanding. We discuss what it takes to “get in the mood” for intimacy. Which brings me to many of the revelations of male behavior that have appeared in news headlines over the past month. These are powerful men trying to create intimacy with co-workers and strangers.
Given my experience, I think I can speak for a great majority of women. We don’t find a picture of a man’s naked body or his genitalia sent to us via text “sexy”. We don’t appreciate sex toys given as gifts. We don’t find it “sexy” when more attention is paid to our bodies/clothing than to our work performance. We avoid friendly hugs that may turn into grabbing other body parts.
You may ask what is left? What do women consider sexy? Here is my non-scientific report from what I hear from women ages 18-80.
- Love and Intimacy. When a couple is having relationship difficulties outside the bedroom, low libido in the bedroom is often a side effect for women. We have a hard time separating our brain/emotions from intimacy. Male libido can thrive despite relationship conflict, which often makes women even angrier.
- Contributions made to childcare and household chores. There is nothing better to kill a woman’s libido than doing 3 loads of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen and putting a few kids to bed while their partner watches a sporting event on tv, only to have that same partner try to initiate intimacy as she is falling asleep while brushing her teeth. A partner that volunteers to clean up the kitchen while the woman puts the children to bed stands a much better chance.
- Exercising with your partner increases endorphins, the feel good substances that the brain produces, which also increase libido.
- Taking the initiative to arrange a date night (planning childcare is a bonus). Women are better able to separate from their household duties when they are OUT of the house.
The majority of men in this country are much different from the men that have made headlines in the last few weeks. They may need a bit of guidance to improve their game, but they can learn from others mistakes and make life better for themselves and their partners.