Why Does a Woman Stop Wanting Her Man?
Image: Kama Deva—the God of Carnal Love—shoots a flower-tipped arrow meant to inject passion in divinities – by Sudheeshna Bijjala.
“How could she be so ruthless?” exclaimed a friend I’ll call David Pereira, who is in his late forties. His girlfriend of 13 years had confessed to him that she couldn’t see herself in bed with him anymore.
She was a girl full of love and desire when he first met her, but somewhere along the way—many fights and kisses later—she had lost faith in the relationship she had nurtured for years. Pereira’s panicky responses led to accusations and counter-accusations. He overlooked her bitterness as much as she failed to sense his plight. Her sexual inertia highlighted a huge disconnect that might have simmered for months before revealing itself in the manner that it did. She grew cold, as if something had died in her.
Pereira’s predicament reminds me of a mythical Hindu God called Kama Deva—The God of Carnal Love—whose divine duty was to shoot arrows meant to arouse sexual desire in celestial beings. His bow was made of sugarcane with a string of honeybees twisted around it, and his arrows carried five kinds of flowers. Even the land that gave the world the Kama Sutra needed someone like Kama Deva to kindle passion in divinities. The existence of such a story hints at how difficult it is to ignite sexual interest in men and women—or even Gods and Goddesses—who are not seeking sex, at least not just sex.
A 2013 report by Noam Shpancer—a clinical psychologist and author—in Psychology Today says that while male sexuality is quite uncomplicated, it is hard to nail what drives a woman’s libido. Though a man’s lust for her is enough to rouse her, she may not engage with him if she thinks he can’t be trusted. As new studies continuously challenge old concepts about female sexuality, what emerges is a “paradoxical element at the core of female desire”, the report concludes.
Seema Punwani—single and in her 40s—from Singapore says, “For a woman, there is intellectual stimulation and emotional connection, and if either—or ideally—both are combined with physical attraction, it’s a winning combination.” Her views seem to echo Shpancer’s report, as she seeks not just physical desire but also hope, love and companionship in a sexual relationship.
Not all women think alike as our responses are often influenced by age, temperament, the societies we belong to and the cultures we come from. Based on my own thoughts on the subject and the experiences of men and women who have talked to me, I have highlighted below the three major relationship pitfalls that could be fatal to sexual passion in women:
A genuine relationship paves the way for female sexual desire that demands love, truthfulness and trust. A woman’s body language in bed often reflects her approval of or unhappiness with the relationship itself. If the man has been attentive, he can easily tell a cold hug from a loving caress. He would know that a short, business-like kiss conveys a lot more than any amount of sarcasm or scorn. Uncertainty casts a dark shadow over how a woman relates sexually, and if her emotional turbulence is left unaddressed, she could become sexually frigid with her partner.
Long-distance relationships sound formidable to lovers because it’s a struggle for many a woman (and man) to keep her passion alive without the five basic senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Virtual interaction can never replace a man’s physical presence. It is difficult to connect with a lover who is never there. Unless a couple makes the effort to meet often or eventually be together, it could be difficult to sustain sexual passion.
Even if a man and woman live under the same roof, it is possible for him to be distant from her by being engrossed in a world that doesn’t include her. His lack of interest in casual banter could discourage her from speaking to him about any real anxieties she may have. To a woman, spontaneous conversations are important. It may just be what keeps her close to him. I spoke about this to Vinod Menon, a dear friend in his late thirties, who believes it is important to connect with his wife after a hard day’s work. “I just want silence sometimes, but conversation is so important to my wife,” he says. “I now realize that she is okay with any banter. So I talk about the struggles I endure in my workplace, and this helps me too.” It’s when the man is willing to make an effort to share his day with his woman that she truly believes he can share her bed and her life too.
A relationship that lacks direction may seem unreal to a woman who expects more from it. If she suspects that her partner’s promises mean nothing or is unable to figure out her place in his life, he will soon find himself staring at the mere shell of a woman who once desired him madly. It is entirely possible that her mind may be connecting the dots to some persistent puzzle while he stays unaware of what’s building up inside her. Ultimately, one fine morning, she may get up and decide that it’s not working. Once she decides that he isn’t right for her, sexual thoughts retreat with as much alacrity as they had overwhelmed her during the early stages of love. A hurt woman usually makes her pain known while indifference in a woman indicates she has decided to end the story.
The Indian Cupid is just a myth. And even if he were around today, it would take more than a few flower-tipped arrows to reignite sexual desire in relationships that seem increasingly illusory because of growing physical and emotional distance between lovers. I write this as Pereira struggles with his woman, trying to make sense of the female brain, not knowing it’s an enigma that might stay unresolved for decades to come. I wish him well.