This is a comment by Sarah on the post “The Truth about Porn and Relationships“.
“I don’t have kids but actually my libido has diminished a bit as I’ve gotten older. I used to want sex every day, which now seems exhausting. Maybe other women start at a lower baseline. I don’t know, sometimes I think I’m just an oddball or a weirdo for a woman. I used to feel a lot of shame about my sex drive—I thought it was too strong, unfeminine, even bizarre. I thought women weren’t supposed to like sex. That’s what I heard growing up. I thought I was supposed to want candles and romance and holding hands. I wasn’t supposed to be the one asking for a good hard [email protected]! What’s wrong with me? 🙂 I still hate it when my boyfriend says things to me like, ‘You’re not like most women!’ even though he means it as a compliment, it makes me feel like a freak. Like I shouldn’t like sex so much. Every time I read an article about women having low libidos or sexless marriages or never wanting sex, there is a part of me that feels ashamed and weird.
“I’m just saying this to make a point that women get drowned in negative messages about our sexuality. I grew up in the 1970’s and ’80’s when many adults really were trying to provide healthier messages about sex. We had a really comprehensive sex education class for girls my freshman year in HS taught by a feminist ex-hippie softball coach. My mom had a copy of ‘Our Bodies Ourselves.’ Even so, no one ever told me that it was okay to like sex. The message I got was that lots and lots of men would pressure me for sex, and possibly date rape me if I wasn’t careful, because men, you know, are generally sex crazed maniacs, and that if I was stupid I might get pregnant or catch an STD. I was supposed to be smart, responsible, and careful about sex, learn to say ‘NO!’ and only have sex when I was ‘ready’ whatever that meant. These were all great messages, but kind of the underlying subtext was that men wanted sex and I wasn’t supposed to. The only girls who wanted sex were the slutty girls who were dumb and let boys ‘take advantage’ of them. Those girls end up pregnant, with herpes, and discarded like a used Kleenex.
With all these messages in our heads, I think it can be difficult for women to really be in touch with their own libidos and to have a healthy relationship with their own sexuality. I know there are hormonal changes, physical changes and so on that can also play a big role, definitely, but I think focusing on that part of it makes it seem inevitable that women will have low libidos and even may make some women feel unconsciously that they are “supposed” to have a low libido or they are “weird.”. As I mentioned, I’m aware of thoughts like that going through my head sometimes.
Photo credit: Flickr / The Raggedy-man