It’s Friday night and I’m feeling horny.
I text my boyfriend a few suggestive emojis, and ask him to come around for a little TGIF fun between the sheets. An hour goes by, and there’s no reply.
nadiabokody/Instagram Relationship journalist Nadia Bokody says that women crave sex just as much if not MORE than their partners
I begin concocting scenarios in my head to explain the unthinkable… did both his phone and battery charger simultaneously die?
What if he was so excited upon reading my text, he passed out and has since been lying helpless on his apartment floor? Maybe he’s been abducted? Should I call the police?!
Suddenly my phone lights up.
“Hey, I’m wrecked from a huge day. Tonight’s not a good time.”
Alamy We’re often told that women don’t want sex as much as men
Sorry – what?
This response flies in the face of everything we’ve been told about men and sex: guys are always up for it – day or night, tired, busy, or otherwise.
They’ll take it whenever they can get it, right? Not exactly, as it turns out.
A tale as old as time
We’ve all seen that TV sitcom scene where the frustrated husband begs his frigid wife for sex while she fends off his advances with excuses.
“Not tonight honey, I have a headache.”
It’s a pervasive social ideology; which is why, when the situation’s flipped, we naturally assume the worst.
Getty – Contributor Having a high sex drive as a woman remains something of a taboo
If your man’s not having sex with you, he’s surely having an affair, or else no longer turned on by you (in which case, you should probably go on a crash diet to shed ten pounds by summer) – according to just about every women’s magazine cover ever sold.
However, research shows this idea is largely inaccurate, not to mention, wildly problematic. A 2015 study published in the journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that, when presented with the opportunity to have sex with an attractive stranger, both men and women responded enthusiastically.
100 per cent of men and a whopping 97 per cent of women said they’d go for it.
Getty – Contributor Your partner not wanting to have sex should not set alarm bells ringing, says Nadia
The main difference between genders? Women were happier taking up the offer when they knew they could be guaranteed discretion and safety.
Whereas men typically face very few negative judgements in relation to their sexual choices, women are often regarded in a far more adverse light for making similar decisions.
And we arguably have more at stake, too.
A 2010 study into sexual violence found 45 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual abuse throughout their lives. So as women, it’s not just social consequences we have to weigh up when it comes to initiating or accepting sex.
Keeping up with the Joneses
I’m privileged to work in a job where I get to communicate openly with women about intimate topics like sex and relationships every day.
The question I hear time and time again is: “My male partner doesn’t want sex as much as I do. What’s wrong with me?”
There was a time, like that Friday night a few months back, when I too had that question in my mind.
Alamy A couple’s sex drive is always going to fluctuate
Meanwhile disregarding the fact my boyfriend was just starting out his career, working long, pressure-filled hours to impress management, while I’d reached a point in mine where I felt secure enough to restore my work-life balance.
Interestingly, research shows that, despite what we’ve been told about men’s supposedly ravenous sexual appetites, they’re most likely to struggle with becoming aroused or achieving an erection when they’re stressed about work.
So as it turns out, there’s not nearly as much difference between genders as we once thought when it comes to sex.
Try a little tenderness
Besides being largely inaccurate, the idea that men want more sex than women only serves to compound our culture of toxic masculinity, and reinforce the belief that a guy is “less of a man” if he wants sex less than his female partner.
Alamy Women are often labelled as “frigid” and never wanting sex
In reality, there’s no one “right way” to be a man, or to be a woman, in a sexual relationship.
Provided you and your partner are happy, comfortable and safe, you can rest assured your union is indeed healthy.
And yes, part of that includes accepting it won’t always look like an Instagram feed.
There will be times one of you feels like sex more than the other, and you will go through dry spells.
So long as you communicate about it in an honest, constructive way, it doesn’t have to spell disaster for your union.
Getty – Contributor Nadia says you need to be open and honest with your partner to make the most of your sex life
A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships confirms this, finding that positively affirming your attraction to your partner while gently explaining you’re not in the mood for sex (“I’d love to have sex with you, I’m very attracted to you, but tonight’s not a good time, can we try for another time?”), had no negative impact on overall relationship satisfaction levels, while having obligatory sex to avoid a difficult conversation, conversely did.
The takeaway? There’s nothing wrong with having mismatched libidos in your relationship, nor with it being the woman who has the higher drive.
It’s how you handle this difference that will ultimately determine your relationship’s long-term success.
Getty – Contributor There’s nothing wrong with having a higher sex drive than your man