We live in a culture fed by myths. Not the archetypal myths born in the collective unconscious that deeply nourish the wells of the human psyche. No, I'm talking about the myths that are more closely akin to, shall we say, lies.
Our culture lies about love, leading us to believe that love is only a feeling. (Truth: it's mostly an action.) It lies about partnership, leading us to believe that you must never "settle" for anything less than "the One," who you will recognize as such the moment you lay steamy eyes upon him or her. (Truth: there are many people with whom you could have a loving, healthy partnership, and you don't always know it at first sight.) And it delivers heaps of lies about sex.
Oh, the sex lies ... where to begin?! We're conditioned to believe that if you and your partner aren't having scintillating, simultaneously orgasmic sex two or three times a week, then there's something wrong with your relationship. We're taught that women are supposed to orgasm effortlessly through intercourse. We learn early in life that a woman's femininity directly correlates to her sexuality, and a man's virility is subject to the same equation. Both men and women are culturally conditioned to believe that their self-worth is linked to their sexual desirability and libido.
This is why one of the most damaging myths to both men and women in heterosexual relationships is that the man is supposed to have a higher sex drive than his female partner. And because I'm privy to the innermost, sacred lives of my clients and course members, I happen to know that this myth is just that: a lie.
In fact, based on my acute observations, I've noticed that, while there's almost always a high-drive partner and a low-drive partner, in about 55% of the heterosexual relationships I've encountered, the high-drive partner is ... the woman. Yes, this sits in direct opposition to the message that the culture propagates, which is that it's almost always the man who's pawing at his partner for sex, or lying grumpily in bed as the woman feigns a headache.
There is only one sure result for presenting such a skewed version of reality to us all: it leads directly to shame. If we're all walking around believing that men are supposed to be more sexual than women yet you're in a relationship where the opposite is true, you will both form one inevitable conclusion: there's something wrong with me or our relationship.
When a woman is with a male partner who has a low sex drive, she may wonder if he's not attracted to her or if she's doing something wrong. Nowhere does it live in her cultural blueprint that she's simply partnered with someone who has a lower libido than she does. Likewise, when a man is with a woman who has the higher drive, he nearly always feels inadequate in some way, like he's not living up to the cultural expectation of the highly-sexed man who can "satisfy his woman."
But ultimately, debunking this myth is important for any relationship, regardless of gender and sexuality. In other words, it's just simply not the case that two people in a relationship will always have the same libido.
When my clients share this dynamic with me they almost always do so through the whisper of shame, as if they're the only couple of the planet to be living this out. When I tell them how often I hear about this "problem" in my work, they breathe an audible soul-sigh of relief. With acceptance comes compassion, and with compassion comes the flow of love that lubricates the wheels of a relationship.
Anything is workable with compassion, self-trust, and lots of love at the helm. And as soon as they learn that they're not alone and there's nothing wrong, they realize that there really isn't a problem after all. They can now work with the challenge of differing needs just as they would work with any other area of their relationship where they have different needs without the charge of shame running the show.
So here's my shout-out to anyone in this relationship dynamic: there's nothing wrong with you, your partner, or your relationship! Men can, indeed, have a lower sex drive than a woman, and that doesn't mean there's anything wrong. If two people in a relationship don't have the same sex drive, it doesn't mean one person is less attracted to the other, nor does it mean there's anything aberrant or damaged about their sexuality.
So let's start telling the truth, so that we can set ourselves — and our world — free.
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