The stereotype is that men want more sex than women do – but what happens when it’s the other way around?
Women are often portrayed as having low sex drives and that any visit to their sexy town requires more campaigning and negotiation than a UN security council meeting.
But what if a woman has the higher sex drive? What does it mean when you’re in a heterosexual relationship with a higher drive than a guy?
Vanessa Thompson, a Newcastle sexologist, attributes mismatched sex drives to testosterone levels. “It’s biology”, she says. “Typically men have the higher libido. Women have a tenth of the testosterone in men.”
“We have a history of shaming women for sex”, offers Thompson who also points to moments in history when “women who orgasmed were called witches and burnt at the stake… we feel we have to do something about that [ability to have pleasure], whether it is to remove their clitoris or shame them.”
Sydneysider Cassie Goodwin has been shamed for her sex drive by partners. “The word ‘freak’ has been repeated at me so often I can’t hear it without twitching and I’ve been called ‘demanding’ so many times I have a deep-seated paranoia about initiating sex,” she says.
Yet the shaming and pressure are shared equally, with men also feeling ashamed, Thompson says. “They feel terribly guilty… like they’re not manly, because men are supposed to want sex all the time. The less manly you feel, the less likely you are to want sex.”
The reaction to this mismatch can truly damage relationships. Men can feel insecure and threatened by their partner’s sex drive and become combative as a result. Some low-libido men can feel the only way to reclaim control of the situation is to further deny sex as a measure to punish their partners for their desire. Any attempts by the woman to initiate sex can end in fights.