What would men change about sex? More, we want more! That’s the resounding answer that echoes around the world. The reason is simple. The number one sexual problem plaguing women is low libido. That means couples everywhere are struggling with a mismatch in desire. Women lie in bed worrying the hand will come creeping over. Men spend their lives grovelling for sexual favours. The gap between them in bed becomes a chasm.
Five years ago Bettina embarked on a fascinating research project. She recruited ninety eight couples to keep diaries recording their intimate negotiations over sex. Who feels like having sex? Who doesn’t? How do couples cope if one person wants it more than the other.
The results – published in her international best-seller, The Sex Diaries, were extraordinary. Men’s frustrations poured out in a howl of disappointment and anger. Many felt duped, stunned that their needs were being so totally ignored:
“I am totally at a loss as to what to do, I do love her and I think she loves me but I cannot live like a monk. I have deliberately tried not to mention sex much at all but now I am so frustrated I don’t know what to do. I am at breaking point. I cannot and will not continue on like this. I refuse to go through life begging.”
The female diaries revealed what it is like to live with a fragile, distractible libido which gets wrapped up in all the garbage of the day, with everyday tensions and resentments dampening desire.
“I have found that my already low libido has pretty much disintegrated and sexual interest is right up there with algebra, housework and trying on bras!”
The power of his-and-hers diaries, allow us to see what happens as the couples negotiate their way through these complex issues. Yet for all the diarists struggling over tension about sex, there were others living in sexual harmony, never losing their spark for each other. The Sex Diaries included veterans of 30 or 40 years of lust driven marriages keen to show others how they stay hot for each other.
Here’s some more material on mismatched desire:
- Listen to Bettina and Linda Jaivin discuss the difference between mating in captivity and mating in the wild
- Read Bettina’s ideas on mismatched desire in Psychologies Magazine