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Sexual Appetite: His & Hers

December 6, 2016 | Valerie Padd, RN, BSN

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Emotionally driven or a desire for connection, a physical outlet or a dose of affection, high on testosterone or a need for closeness? The sexual appetites of men and women have been mismatched since the beginning of time (me Tarzan; you Jane).

So what gives? Why such a gap between the same species? To answer that question, let’s start with the very building block of sexual desire: hormones. It’s estimated that men have 20-30% more of the hormone testosterone, a hormone in part that is responsible for sex drive. It’s not that women don’t have any testosterone; it’s just that men have so much more (lucky them).

Another factor for the gap is an admirable quality that men possess…focus! Men typically are able to narrowly focus their brains on specific activities (think sex) and block out ALL distractions, as opposed to women who naturally see the “big picture” in everything, including sex, and therefore are easily distracted from even the “desire” for sex itself.

And then there’s the waiting game. She is waiting until she feels emotionally close to him before even thinking about sex (hugs, kisses, and non-sexual attention). He is waiting for her to be physically turned on to him (and show it) before he’ll be more responsive emotionally. During the wait, resentment, anger, and distance can simmer, making the probability of sex even lower.

If we’ve learned anything over the centuries of the polarization of sexual appetites between men and women, it’s to appreciate the differences from hormones to brain function and to be more understanding of what it would be like to walk in each other’s shoes. If we did, we might be able to realize just what a wonderful gift sex is to each other.

Tips for closing the “gap”:

1. Stop blaming each other for sexual desire differences. Deep down, these issues are more of a relationship issue rather than a “his vs. her” issue. Talk openly and honestly with each other about sexual needs, desired frequency, activities of pleasure (“I like it when you do this/I don’t like it when you do that.”), and expectations.

2. Realize that intimacy is more than what happens behind closed doors. Spend time kissing, holding hands, showing affection, and touching each other (in non-sexual ways). Maybe even empty the dishwasher for her, or sort his sock drawer. Now that’s a turn on!

3. Just do it! Seriously, sometimes all the waiting in the world isn’t worth the pleasure that’s lost. Whether you’re giving into his desires or he’s giving into yours, the benefits are the same. Sex begets sex…the more you just do it, the more you’ll want to do it. The dishes can wait!

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