Just last week we reported that women under 30 were the latest victims of low libido
-- and asked an expert why she thought that was. Now Psychology Today
has devoted an entire cover story to sex advice: In "When Lust Goes Bust," they consulted another handful of experts on why women's desire is lying dormant -- and what you can do to want sex more.
Here, the highlights:
You're Not Alone
Everyone wants to mate like bunnies when they first meet, and brain chemistry is to blame (or thank, depending on you see it). "In the early stages of relationships, the infatuation stage, people can't get enough sex," University of Texas sexologist Cindy Meston tells the magazine. "They can't stop thinking about that person." That's because your brain chemicals are in a cocktail that looks a lot like obsessive-compulsive disorder, with you fixating on the object of your affections. Then reality sets in, your brain calms down, and everybody
has to work harder to keep the sheets on fire.
You Get Turned On Differently Than He Does
We have Rosemary Basson, director of the University of British Columbia's sexual medicine program to thank for this next insight. She was the first to propose a whole new model of female sexual response. According to Basson, women's response to arousal is more circular, men's more linear. In other words, if he thinks, I want it! Let's do it!
, his mind and
body pretty much fall into line. Women's desire, on the other hand, is governed by "many physical and contextual cues," she says. Since we're such expert multi-taskers, it can be hard to have the one-track mind required to get in the mood. Instead, we're bombarded with thoughts like: What time is my meeting tomorrow? I should have cleaned these sheets. Oh shoot, I forgot to shave my legs!
Explaining why sometimes we just have to start having sex -- even if we don't feel like it -- to get into it.Women Crave More Than Safety and Comfort
As Marta Meana of the University of Las Vegas explains, "The longer you are in a relationship, the more the fantasies steer away from touchy-feely concepts ... If safety, comfort, love and respect were as facilitative to female sexual desire as some of the other relationally focused literature claims, then we should not see as many married women in happy relationships complaining of low desire." In other words, talking dirty or airing prurient fantasies can help. Also: It should not come as surprising news that women fantasize about someone else in bed
just as often as men. What really gets us going, say the experts, are fantasies about being ravished or found irresistible.
You Shouldn't Pee With the Door Open
A study about to be published in the Journal of Sexual and Marital Therapy blamed a decline in sexual desire in 19 married women on ... familiarity: For some of the women, getting married marked a turning point; they felt that sex was so overly available and no longer illicit or forbidden that they had a harder time getting turned on. Others felt a lack of "sexual innovation," as well as a loss of their own identity -- and a decreasing desire to wear something other than sweatpants to bed -- also contributed. A third group said it was hard to switch from the role of say, "mom" or "businesswoman," back to vixen at bedtime. We say: Costumes can help -- bring on the lingerie
... Or Obsess About Your Thighs
Fact: It has been proven that men are never distracted from the act by thoughts about their hairy back. And, the more women obsess about their physical appearance ("Oh my God, I better change positions; I don't look good in this position!") the more it will inhibit their desire, and color their entire sex lives
. In fact, in a study of 154 women just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Meston found that the more a woman thought about her appearance during sex, the less satisfied she reported being.
You May Be Wet ... but Not Ready to Get Wild
Here's another way men and women differ. If he's got an erection, he's pretty much ready to go. But when blood flows to your nether regions, the same can't necessarily be said. During a study at the University of Toronto, subjects were strapped into monitors while watching a naughty movie, but when their blood flow and arousal levels (in other words, how turned on they told
the experimenters they were) were measured, men's verbal responses and their blood flow were a much closer match than women's. However, the longer the women continued to watch the erotic videos, the more agreement between the two there was. Cue the porn!
Being in Your Head Can Help
The term "mindfulness" may conjure up Page-a-Day calendars with tutti-fruity quotes, rather than a hot session between the sheets, but mind-body alignment is the latest foray of cutting-edge sexologists, particularly when it comes to women and desire. In fact, in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, sex researcher Lori Brotto found that the following four-step program led to higher levels of sexual desire and satisfaction for the majority of participants. Praise Buddha.
Step 1: To learn the basics of mindfulness, pick an object like a penny or a raisin, and explore the way it looks, tastes, sounds, feels. When your mind starts to wander, guide it back to focus on the object. Practice 10 minutes a day, while doing some other mundane task, like walking or washing the dishes.
Step 2: While showering, bathing or drying yourself after, look at your body in a non-sexual way and notice any judgments that bubble up. When they do, guide your mind to focus back on your body. Then repeat the exercise, using a hand-held mirror to examine your genitals.
Step 3: This time, repeat the two body-focused exercises above while thinking of yourself as a sexual being. Tell yourself, "My body is sexual," or "I enjoy my sexuality," and repeat the steps.
Step 4: Finally, learn to connect bodily arousal and emotional pleasure. Use a vibrator, read erotica or fantasize to deliberately turn yourself on. After five minutes, stop and think about yourself as carefully and thoughtfully as you did the object in Step 1, while tuning into the sensations.
More About Sex on Lemondrop:
+ What's Next in Sex -- Straight From the Mouth of a Sex Toy Designer
+ Why Women Under 30 Aren't Having Sex
+ Is There Sex After 35? Survey Says Maybe Not