What It Means When a Woman Says She Has a High Sex Drive
“You’re so lucky to be a woman,” my last partner once said to me, after he tried to initiate sex and I asked if we could wait to engage until after dinner, since I had food in the oven. “You don’t think about sex much and probably wouldn’t care if you never had it again. But I think about it all the time and it’s hard having to wait when I want it and you’re not into it.”
You can imagine the expression I had on my face after hearing that. I reminded him how often I initiated sex, how much I enjoyed myself in the bedroom, and how much I’d love to have sex if I wasn’t in the middle of time-sensitive chores.
“Yeah, but women never think about it,” he insisted, and again, I gave him a glower that probably shriveled his erection.
“I think about sex all the time. At least a dozen times a day, even when I’m not really in the mood. I’m an animal like all humans, and therefore, most of my thoughts revolve around food and sex.”
He seemed shocked by this. Because, of course, that’s the story we tell in this culture: that men only care about sex and women don’t care about it, at all.
But no. I love sex. I love thinking about it. I love writing about it. I love reading about it. I love doing it.
And I wouldn’t say that this is abnormal or even the slightest bit unusual for a woman. Though I do think I have a high sex drive.
The reason I say that is because, ever since childhood, I have experienced what I can only describe as a steady stream — and often flood — of sexual energy that literally surges through my body on a regular basis. It makes me want to create art. It makes me want to fuck. It literally animates me.
However, I find that our ideas about sexuality — female sexuality, in particular — are very simplistic in this culture. If I mention my sex drive in an article, I sometimes get interesting responses on Medium or social media from male readers — some who are shocked that a woman is capable of this level of sexual desire (that’s okay, they’ve been fed the sexist myths just like the rest of us and are learning that those myths have little truth in them), and some of whom think my declaration is a request for sexual attention (which is not the case).
Female sexuality is a complex machine not at all bound to the black and white perspective our culture holds. So let’s break it down a little.
What is a normal sex drive?
Before we even begin, it’s essential to realize that there is no such thing as a normal sex drive. From asexual to hypersexual, all of it is “normal.”
When I say my sex drive is high, I am describing the power of the emotion, energy, and desire that I feel. It’s not in comparison to someone else — it’s simply my way of putting into words the rush of sexual energy that is often coursing within me.
Further, attempting to label a woman’s libido is a fool’s errand in a culture that shames women for their sexual desire. As sex researchers are reporting, women often do not report accurately on sex studies because of pressure to conform to societal expectations about female sexuality. Terri Fisher, professor of psychology at Ohio State University, stated, “…we’re seeing that women who are more concerned with the impression they’re making tend to report fewer sexual thoughts, and that’s because thinking about sexuality is not consistent with typical expectations for women.”
So even trying to figure out what kind of female libido is…let’s say average instead of normal, we still don’t have accurate information on which to rely.
The good news is, we can let ourselves off the hook from feeling overwhelmed with the expectations of our culture or our partners. There is no normal. Whatever a woman’s sex drive might be is normal — for her. And that’s all that matters.
What high sex drive looks like
When I talk about my sex drive and how high my libido is, I know how that might be interpreted. I know there are people out there who assume I’m ready to go 24/7, wet and waiting, and eager to go four, five, six, maybe even more rounds with any lover who might be lured into my bed.
I hate to burst your bubble, but this is comically inaccurate. The truth is, while I love sex and think about it as often as I think about eating (which is a lot), I do not want to actually have sex all the time. Or even necessarily most of the time.
It’s important to remember that women are cyclical creatures. We aren’t the same every day of the month, nor were we created to be. Though my mind is constantly churning through sexual fantasies, there are times of the month that I just don’t want to have to sex. It’s not much different than fantasizing about a big slice of chocolate cake when you’re not actually hungry and have no interest in eating at the moment. Just because I’m thinking about it a lot doesn’t mean my body is craving it.
There are times, usually at two points in my cycle, when I just don’t really feel very electric, very sexual. My energy is low and maybe I’m a bit distracted. I might be open to sex, but I’m not dying to have it.
And just before my period and on the first day of bleeding, I feel so emotionally and physically vulnerable and tender that in general, I really do not want to be intimate with someone.
But catch me two days into my cycle, or — gods help you — at ovulation, and I am like a horny bonobo. Yes, there are days when I’ll gladly go to bed with a partner two or three — or maybe even four times — and I’ll gratefully receive as many orgasms as my partner wants to give me. Maybe I’ll be so tired from masturbating so much that I won’t be able to get as frisky in bed, but I’ll still want to go for it. I’ll still want to be touched and rubbed and fondled.
So no, I don’t want to have sex once or twice every single day. It’s more accurate to say that I might want sex 20+ days out of the month, on average. It just so happens that those occurrences will be spread out inconsistently over time.
Invisible costs of intimacy
Part of the reason that I don’t want to have sex every day is because of the cost of intimacy. I don’t know if all women experience this, but for me, sex sometimes requires more emotional and spiritual energy than what I have to give. It’s not necessarily about giving and exchanging pleasure — it’s a little more intangible than that.
For instance, taking a lover into my body requires a certain level of energy. On some days, I’m hungry for it. I have all the energy in the world to accommodate a lover inside me. On other days, it costs too much. The vulnerability and intimacy of opening up my body to receive another person inside me is just more than I can give on some days.
The same is true for other activities. Some days, I don’t have the energy to be vulnerable and open — I don’t want to receive oral sex, for instance, or even be on top. Some days, believe it or not, I don’t want my nipples touched.
I might decline sex on those days, even if I was a bit aroused, because I just don’t have the energy to give to my partner. Or I might only want a very specific form of intimacy — maybe missionary sex where I feel safe, covered, and loved, or maybe just using our hands to give each other orgasms. Maybe I might just want some naked cuddling time.
Emotional and mental components
Remember also that even when horny as fuck, many women don’t want to engage in sexual activity when they are mentally distracted, overwhelmed, or stressed out. My last partner often initiated sex with me when I was in the middle of housework. Typically, this was not a time when I’d want to stop for a sex break and it often brought to the surface my resentment over the fact that he almost never helped with the chores.
I also didn’t feel like having sex when I’d had a hard day at work or was dealing with emotional strife in one of my close relationships.
All of these factors and more can affect a woman’s sex drive.
Saving some for later…
Now that you know that there’s no “normal” when it comes to libido and how high sex drive in women might manifest, there’s one more thing to remember: some of us need to preserve our sexual energy for our work, our projects, our art. Sexual and creative energy are, in my opinion, the same thing, and as such, I have always been exceedingly careful as to how I spend that energy.
My writing is everything to me. Sure, I love to get lost for days in bed and pretend that the world outside doesn’t exist — but not often. My writing always calls me back. And in order to give it what it needs, I need to have enough sexual energy to fuel me.
Maybe this will sound cold, but even if Hugh Jackman was standing in front of me, offering me daily sexcapades with the knowledge that our activities would diminish my writing output…believe it or not, I’d run away with my writing, not Hugh. Hot dudes will come and go, but my creativity feeds my soul. My high sex drive is just as satisfied with my creative outlets as it is with actual sex — though just in different ways.
I know what you’re going to say — there’s just something so damn hot about a woman with an insatiable sex drive who is literally on the prowl, taking anyone she comes across as a lover, and then ending the session masturbating because dammit, her partner just couldn’t keep up.
But that’s a story from porn and I’d guess most women with high sex drives aren’t at all like that. Real women (as opposed to characters in porn) are vastly more complex and nuanced than that.
© Yael Wolfe 2020
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