Am I Normal? A Womans Guide to Female Sexuality

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Though she explained that the condition, which can make intercourse excruciating, is not in itself a disorder of low desire, she said that her patients reported reduced genital pain as their desire increased. She rolled her eyes at such niceties. We hug. The generally accepted therapeutic notion that, for women, incubating intimacy leads to better sex is, Meana told me, often misguided. Like Chivers, Meana thinks of female sexuality as divided into two systems. But Meana conceives of those systems in a different way than her colleague. On the one hand, as Meana constructs things, there is the drive of sheer lust, and on the other the impetus of value.

Meana spoke about two elements that contribute to her thinking: first, a great deal of data showing that, as measured by the frequency of fantasy, masturbation and sexual activity, women have a lower sex drive than men, and second, research suggesting that within long-term relationships, women are more likely than men to lose interest in sex. The ravisher is so overcome by a craving focused on this particular woman that he cannot contain himself; he transgresses societal codes in order to seize her, and she, feeling herself to be the unique object of his desire, is electrified by her own reactive charge and surrenders.

Meana apologized for the regressive, anti-feminist sound of the scene. Earlier, she showed me, as a joke, a photograph of two control panels, one representing the workings of male desire, the second, female, the first with only a simple on-off switch, the second with countless knobs. Women want a caveman and caring. If I had to pick an actor who embodies all the qualities, all the contradictions, it would be Denzel Washington.

He communicates that kind of power and that he is a good man. The appeal is, above all, paradoxical, Meana pointed out: rape means having no control, while fantasy is a domain manipulated by the self. She stressed the vast difference between the pleasures of the imagined and the terrors of the real.

Chivers, too, struggled over language about this subject. The topic arose because I had been drawn into her ceaseless puzzling, as could easily happen when we spent time together.

Why are some women never able to orgasm? A gynaecologist explains | The Independent

I had been thinking about three ideas from our many talks: the power, for women, in being desired; the keen excitement stoked by descriptions of sex with strangers; and her positing of distinct systems of arousal and desire. This last concept seemed to confound a simpler truth, that women associate lubrication with being turned on.

We spoke, then, about the way sexual fantasies strip away the prospect of repercussions, of physical or psychological harm, and allow for unencumbered excitement, about the way they offer, in this sense, a pure glimpse into desire, without meaning — especially in the case of sexual assault — that the actual experiences are wanted.

One morning in the fall, Chivers hunched over her laptop in her sparsely decorated office.

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She was sifting through data from her study of genital and subjective responses to audiotaped sex scenes. She highlighted and deleted one aberrant moment, then continued peering. She would search in this way for about two hours in preparing the data of a single subject. Chivers was constantly conjuring studies she wanted to carry out, but with numberless aberrant spikes to detect and cleanse, how many could she possibly complete in one lifetime?

How many could be done by all the sexologists in the world who focus on female desire, whether they were wiring women with plethysmographs or mapping the activity of their brains in fM. What more could sexologists ever provide than intriguing hints and fragmented insights and contradictory conclusions?

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Could any conclusion encompass the erotic drives of even one woman? Chivers, perhaps precisely because her investigations are incisive and her thinking so relentless, sometimes seemed on the verge of contradicting her own provisional conclusions. She spoke about helping women bring their subjective sense of lust into agreement with their genital arousal as an approach to aiding those who complain that desire eludes them. She allowed that it might. The giant forest seemed, so often, too complex for comprehension.

Sex, Society and Medieval Women by N. M. Heckel

Why is it so frightening? It was possible to imagine, then, that a scientist blinded by staring at red lines on her computer screen, or blinded by peering at any accumulation of data — a scientist contemplating, in darkness, the paradoxes of female desire — would see just as well. Tell us what you think.

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Thank you for subscribing. An error has occurred. Please try again later. They're also more likely to choose a man with resources because of his greater ability to support a child. Men and women travel slightly different paths to arrive at sexual desire. It is more about the anticipation, how you get there; it is the longing that is the fuel for desire," Perel says. Women's desire "is more contextual, more subjective, more layered on a lattice of emotion," Perel adds.

Men, by contrast, don't need to have nearly as much imagination, Perel says, since sex is simpler and more straightforward for them. That doesn't mean men don't seek intimacy, love, and connection in a relationship, just as women do. They just view the role of sex differently. Sex is the language men use to express their tender loving vulnerable side," Perel says. Men, on average, take 4 minutes from the point of entry until ejaculation, according to Laumann.

Women usually take around 10 to 11 minutes to reach orgasm -- if they do. That's another difference between the sexes: how often they have an orgasm during sex. And not only is there a difference in reality, there's one in perception, too.

With men's sex drives seemingly more directly tied to biology when compared to women, it may be no surprise that low desire may be more easily treated through medication in men. Men have embraced drugs as a cure not only for erectile dysfunction but also for a shrinking libido. With women, though, the search for a drug to boost sex drive has proved more elusive. Testosterone has been linked to sex drive in both men and women. But testosterone works much faster in men with low libidos than women, says Glenn Braunstein, MD.

He is past-chair of the department of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and a leading researcher on testosterone treatments in women. While the treatments are effective, they're not as effective in women as in men. A testosterone patch for women called Intrinsa has been approved in Europe but was rejected by the FDA due to concerns about long-term safety. But the drug has sparked a backlash from some medical and psychiatric professionals who question whether low sex drive in women should even be considered a condition best treated with drugs.

With all the factors that go into the stew that piques sexual desire in women, some doctors say a drug should be the last ingredient to consider, rather than the first. Sexual Health Feature Stories. Men think more about sex.

Men seek sex more avidly. Men are more likely to seek sex even when it's frowned upon or even outlawed: About two-thirds say they masturbate, even though about half also say they feel guilty about it, Laumann says. Prostitution is still mostly a phenomenon of men seeking sex with women, rather than the other way around. Nuns do a better job of fulfilling their vows of chastity than priests. London: Kegan Paul, B ]. Christine de Pizan.


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