The Colour of a Woman’s Libido

Don’t grab her body—touch her heart.

by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Your beloved is at the sink, arms elbow-deep in suds, scrubbing a pot. Her body is shaking in all the right places. She looks luscious. As you walk by you grab a bit, just to let her know how sexy she is.

If you’re lucky, all that gets bitten off is your head. Why can’t she just appreciate a compliment?

When it comes to sex, your wife may have the same reaction to arousal as a colour blind guy does to the colour green. The vast majority of time, it makes no sense to her. With sex, many women are often incapable of feeling, or even wanting to feel, aroused. It’s a foreign concept.

Most women have two distinct states: “Sex? What’s that? Leave me alone,” and “Come and get me, baby.” In about 30 per cent of marriages the wife actually has the higher sex drive, but in most marriages the big tension is that he wants to make love more frequently than she does. And he can’t figure out why she isn’t more interested, especially if she has a good time when she does surrender. Can’t she hold on to that?

Nope. When women are in the “no” state, we can’t imagine what it feels like to be in the “yes” state. It doesn’t compute. It’s like we know intellectually that at one point we were in raptures, but our bodies forget. Our bodies are colour blind — or at least sex blind.

Often, everything a woman loves when she’s in the “yes” state are total turn-offs if she’s in the “no” state. When we’re doing dishes, and you walk by and grab a bit of flesh south of the neckline, that’s not sexy. That’s annoying. Telling her she’s hot? Demeaning. Whispering “I know what I’d love to do to you”? Pesky. “Let’s get it on!” Presumptuous.

While you may enjoy certain parts of your body being touched whenever we get the itch, we don’t return the sentiment. The parts of our bodies that we enjoy being touched when we say “yes” are the very parts that, should you reach out to them when we’re in the “no” state, will rebel and erect a chain link fence, with barbed wire to boot.

Yet isn’t touching exactly what is supposed to get us aroused? Actually, no. A man’s body parts may be hardwired into his arousal process, but a woman’s aren’t. Her arousal process has a gatekeeper, and she’s more vicious than a secretary trying to protect her doctor employer from new patients. She doesn’t want to let anything through. And that gatekeeper is her brain.

A woman’s sex drive is ruled by her brain; a man’s is ruled by something a little farther south. If the brain is not engaged, her body won’t follow. Touch the body before the brain says yes, and everything snaps, like a giant mousetrap.

But it’s not that we never like these things. On the contrary, they work wonderfully well — if we’re already in the “yes” state. But don’t treat her like all engines are revved when they’re not.

That leaves guys with a bit of a dilemma. You want to move her from “no” to “yes”, but you’re not allowed to touch anything or say anything that screams of sex. What do you do?

Remember the key to passion isn’t a body part; it’s intimacy. Don’t grab her body; touch her heart. There’s a reason make-up sex is often so passionate; you’ve had a fight, and you’ve made up, and so you’ve both shared very emotional things. You feel heard. You feel validated. You’ve been intimate, even if it’s been through a difficult experience. And it’s that intimacy, even more than the reconciliation, that she’s reacting to.

God designed sex to be a man’s doorway to intimacy, but He designed intimacy to be woman’s doorway into sex. Marriage unites two people with very different drives, and in order to create real harmony, we have to become unselfish and reach out to meet each other’s needs. She’s not weird or strange or frigid. She just needs to feel like she’s one with you before she physically becomes one with you.

What do you do if you turn to mush and she’s still a “no”? Talk to her about it. Ask her what would help her to feel more intimate. Certainly explain your frustration. But also spend more time with her away from a screen just having fun. Nurture your relationship. Love the whole person. And whatever you do, keep your hands to yourself.

Sheila is the author of seven books, including The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and 31 Days to Great Sex, a fun challenge couples can take together. You can find her at

Originally published at

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