Written by Gloria Ogunbadejo
When women are not interested in sex or struggle to be physically intimate with their partners, my experience in talking to them is that they generally tend to blame themselves (I've never understood that). Many women actually say they 'fake' it (I used to think that was only in magazines).
Many women believe it's their duty, and it doesn't really matter if they don't want to as long as they take care of their partners (another rationale that I find curious). Don't get me wrong, it goes without saying that there will be days when both couples may not particularly be in the mood and you find ways to attend to your partner in the way loving couples do. I am more concerned about women who are not paying attention to those ongoing uncomfortable emotional or psychological feelings they have in relationship to sex and intimacy with their partners.
The truth of the matter is that just as men may have psychological or physiological reasons for experiencing sexual difficulties, the same applies to women.
The psychological causes for women not being interested in sex include certain thoughts, feelings or emotions that reduce the interest in sex. Fear, and suppressed anger may cause sexual desire to disappear in certain situations. Fear could be related to fear of actual performance, fear of intimacy, fear of excitement, dissatisfaction with one's own body (this is quite prevalent), or fear relating back to a childhood experience.
Past traumatic experiences can have a profound effect or influence on low sexual desire. There could be sad experiences that haven't been dealt with, such as the loss of a partner or other losses in a relationship. Sometimes it's just a case of basic differences in libido or sexual needs.
Something that a lot of couples, especially women, seem to ignore, in ways that men do not, is, that men are much more visual, and whether a woman still finds her partner physically and personally attractive to her.
When last did you look at your partner lustfully and think, 'Waoh! Oh yeah, I fancy him or her big time.' Or how often do you actually passionately tell your husband or wife how great they look as you both go out to a function?
A reduced interest in sex can also be a frequent symptom of various psychiatric syndromes, the most common being depression. Men and women experience sexual desire in different ways. Women see love, emotional intimacy and involvement as a goal, while men see sexual activity as the goal, a means to the end. It has been said that the brain is the most powerful sexual organ and this is probably even more the case for women than men.
Sex is different for men and women and I don't mean just in the obvious way. Men tend to have sex to unwind. Meanwhile, women usually can't really get into the mood until they unwind.
Obviously, there are physical causes that arise from medical conditions that may be the root cause of any sexual problems which should not be ignored. These could include diabetes, hormonal imbalances, menopause, chronic diseases and many other conditions. These should always be explored with a doctor.
As women, as we get older, there are certain things that we may begin to consider as less important or they just get put on the shelf by default, and sexual intimacy might be one of them. We do this at our own peril, because not only do we do ourselves a disservice, but sexual intimacy is one of the vital areas in a loving relationship that keeps a woman feeling vital, sexy and secure.
Many people are confused about what intimacy really is or why it is important in a relationship. A relationship needs intimacy, without it, your relationship will slowly wither and die; much like a plant needs watering and feeding lest it withers and dies. Without the emotional and physical bond between partners, there's nothing to hold on to when things get tough.
Intimacy is what helps love survive through the toughest times and makes people continue to want to love and be loved. While sexual intimacy is a wonderful thing, it is important to note that just because you are enjoying a sexual relationship doesn't always mean you are also in an intimate relationship.
True intimacy in a relationship includes feelings like sensing that you share a unique and special bond, having a deep sense that you belong together. You really cannot imagine life without this person or with someone else.
When you share an intimate relationship, you will have the tenderness (a look, a slight involuntary touch as you pass by each other), really caring how the other person feels and a lot of affection, not only in the bedroom but in everyday life. You will have no fear (or at least very little, because you know its okay) of sharing your innermost thoughts, feelings and secrets with each other. There will be an awareness of the other person's needs and there will also be a deep mutual respect for each other.
When you are in the presence of people who truly share a deeply intimate union, you cannot help but be aware of it; it is palpable. The converse is what a friend described to me about her fiancée.
She told me he was aggressively affectionate in public (marking his territory), kissing, touching her inappropriately and declaring undying love to her. But the minute they got home, he couldn't get as far away from her as possible; even going as far as telling her he doesn't want to kiss or cuddle. He is only interested in sex on his own terms. My question to her was how she reconciled this behaviour with her own needs, being a very romantic and affectionate person that she is? She hasn't yet quite come to terms with what is staring her in the face. I suspect she will still marry him and they will become another statistic.