In hushed whispers among groups of women all over the world are the complaints of sexual frustration.
“I’m so horny. Mike’s happy only having sex once a week and I’m struggling with it,” a friend vented over cocktails one evening.
It’s the same conversation I’ve had with most of my female friends, and the exact opposite of what society tells us – it’s women, not men, who want more sex.
I was seven months into my own relationship when my partner first turned me down.“Not tonight. I’m tired,” he grumbled, as he rolled over to the other side of the bed.
“Sorry, what?!” I snapped incredulously. Surely, he’d heard me wrong.
“I’m not in the mood. Goodnight,” he replied, casually kissing me on the forehead as though he hadn’t just hurled an emotional throat-punch at me.
Needless to say, neither of us had a good night that evening. We fought into the early hours of the morning – me, sobbing hysterically, demanding he tell me what was wrong with me. Was it the couple of kilos I gained from the new birth control I’d switched to? The sweat-stained sports bra I’d worn to bed the previous night in lieu of a clean top? I wanted answers.
As it turns out, the long-held belief that men always want sex, while women mostly “put up” with it in exchange for fidelity, couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is, women want sex just as much, if not more, than men, and we’re more likely to get sexually bored in long-term relationships first.
– sex columnist
According to a 2017 survey conducted by Voucher Codes Pro into the rise in online searches for lingerie and adult toy discounts, almost 60 percent of women say they want sex more than their male partners; and current research shows married women nearly outnumber married men when it comes to cheating. We’re also more likely to strike up an affair purely for sex.
In her best-selling book, Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong, author Wednesday Martin suggests women are actually less suited to sexual monogamy than men.
“We have evolved appetites and urges that were once highly adaptive … Promiscuity was a smart reproductive strategy, a way for a female early hominin or human to increase the likelihood of getting high-quality sperm,” Martin writes.
So why aren’t we talking about it? Research suggests the answer lies in the wildly different responses men and women encounter when we’re open about our sexuality.
A 2015 study published in the journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior found that, when presented with the opportunity to engage in sex with an attractive stranger, participants of both genders responded enthusiastically; 100 percent of men and an overwhelming 97 percent of women said they’d go for it – so long as discretion could be guaranteed. Because as far as popular culture goes, men are applauded for seeking out sex, while women typically deal with societal repercussions.
If you’re not convinced, go and scroll the comments section of any article written by a woman discussing her sex life (FYI, you’ll have a hard time finding one with a by-line that isn’t by ‘Anonymous’), or the social media feed of any female celebrity who poses provocatively in her posts.
Since I started writing about my own casual sexual experiences – and putting my name to my stories, my Instagram page has been littered with every insult imaginable. As Christina Aguilera astutely put it in her 2002 pop anthem, Can’t Hold Us Down, “The guy gets all the glory the more he can score, while the girl can do the same, yet you call her a whore.”
It’s this very attitude toward women’s sexuality that underpins our assertion that a woman is “no longer interested in sex” when she starts feigning headaches to avoid doing the deed with her long-term partner. In actual fact, she’s more likely simply no longer interested in having more of the same sex.
“We were taught that men were the ones who needed variety, but the exact opposite turns out to be the case. Over-familiarisation with a partner and desexualisation kills women’s libidos,” emphasises Martin.
It may also explain why young women are nearly twice as likely to visit a BDSM dungeon than their male counterparts, and why women now dominate the sex toy market. Because, if anything, it’s likely to be the wife who’s secretly craving more sexual frequency and novelty, while, chances are her husband’s pretty happy keeping the status quo.
All of which is not to dish on men. If anything, it should give us permission to go a little gentler on them next time they’re not up for it. Because, in spite of what popular culture might have us believe, men aren’t sexually insatiable.
And women? We’re way hornier than you’d think.