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How a Little Science Can Improve Your Sex Life

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A few months back, I was listening to a podcast about sex in marriage. One little fact about how to improve your sex life stood out. Did you know that most research on sex and sexual arousal has been done on men? What we consider to be the traditional sexual response cycle—desire, arousal, climax, resolution—was based entirely on the man’s sex drive and how men experience sex.

If the research on sex is based on a man’s response, then so are all the things the research influences, including our expectations, and that’s problematic. According to recent research, a woman’s sexual response cycle is in fact cyclic—it’s based on her menstrual cycle. Here’s what the female sexual response cycle looks like (It will probably look much more familiar to you than the male cycle!) and why knowing this detail will improve your sex life.

If the research on sex is based on a man's response, then so are all the things the research influences, including our expectations, and that's problematic. Click To Tweet

What It’s Actually Like for Women

For women, the sexual response cycle is arousal, desire, climax, resolution. This “order of operations” causes four things to happen that might worry you but are actually totally normal.

1. Women might not always be interested in sex, but they can probably be convinced.

I know a woman who, whenever her husband asks if she wants to have sex when she doesn’t feel like it, responds by telling him, “No, but you can convince me.” You and your husband might be sitting on the couch, and all you have to do is say “bedroom,” and your husband is already heading down the hall. But most women need a little convincing. Start by asking for a nice back rub, and see where it takes you. Take a look at these four things you can do when you’re not in the mood for sex.

2. Women may not always experience an immediate desire for sex.

And that doesn’t mean you’re abnormal or unhealthy! Many women will admit that their lack of desire for sex makes them think that they’re somehow broken. In reality, they’re just built differently than their husbands. While a lack of sex drive might be an indication of hormonal imbalance or other issues, the inability to go from the couch to the bedroom without any encouragement is totally normal for women. It’s more likely just evidence of mismatched sex drives, which is also normal and common.

3. Women can find their husbands attractive, but still not desire sex.

In the months following our son’s birth, heading to the bedroom for anything other than sleep made no sense to me. I was exhausted, hormonal, and still recovering from childbirth, and like many postpartum women, my desire for sex was nonexistent. I knew that this was totally normal; my husband did not. When we finally talked about it, he admitted that he thought he was the reason for my lack of desire. In reality, wives can find their husbands insanely attractive and still not want to have sex without some convincing.

4. Women will most desire sex closer to the time of ovulation, and that desire will slacken as the time of her period approaches.

Many women who are trying to conceive will become familiar with the signs of cyclic fertility, including an increased desire for sex. If you and your husband are aware of the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle, you can accurately anticipate those times when you will be more likely to want sex, as well as when you’ll need a bit more convincing.

How does the nature of women’s sexual response cycle affect the way you and your husband approach sex as a couple?

ASK YOUR CHILD...

What are some ways you’ve noticed that your dad and I are different?

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