Many women have been conditioned to believe:
Female eros is, innately, much less promiscuous — much more dependent on commitment and trust, much more sparked by closeness, much better suited to constancy — than male sexuality. It has surely been comforting to anyone concerned with the preservation of social order to think that, a few exceptions aside, half the population has a natural predisposition toward sexual stability. In recent decades, this idea has been bolstered by evolutionary psychologists, whose “parental investment theory” goes like this: because men have limitless sperm while women have limited eggs, because men don’t have to invest much in reproduction while women invest not just their ova but also their bodies as they take on the tolls and risks of pregnancy and childbirth, males have been hard-wired, since eons ago, to expand their genetic legacy by spreading their cheap seed, while females are inherently made to maximize their investment by being choosy, by securing a male likely to be a good long-term provider.
Too bad this is incorrect. Women get bored in the bedroom. This is not an earth-shaking revelation. Most women have experienced relationships when the sexual interest begins to fade, but a new book from New York Times contributor Daniel Bergner is uncovering some difficult truths. Women are less monogamous than men and more likely to lose interest in sex with one partner.
Dietrich Klusmann, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, examined several couples in long-term relationships. Klusmann found women experience a decrease in desire between the first and the fourth year of the relationship and it continues to decline as time progresses.
Some women are leaning on the clinical drug Lybrido to rejuvenate their desire. Lybrido is Viagra for women and is designed to ignite a spark below the waist, but some psychologists are discovering the pill doesn’t work because monogamy is the issue.
Lori Brotto, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, told the New York Times, “The impact of relationship duration is something that comes up constantly. Sometimes I wonder whether it isn’t so much about libido as it is about boredom.”
Of course desire flees due to a mix of reasons including raising children, maintaining a thriving career and balancing household duties. But when all else fails, many women are relying on pornography to keep from stepping out of their relationships.
Samantha Dawson, a Ph.D. student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and Stephanie Both, assistant professor at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands conducted separate studies on the impact of pornography on men and women. Men and women watched one-minute sex scenes repeatedly with women’s vaginas immediately responding to the action. After a while, women’s desires decreased.
Just as it does in relationships. Because in the end, growing tired of sex with a long-term partner is quite normal according to Bergner.
There is a solution though. As Slate writer Amanda Marcotte points out, “if we can normalize female desire in society at large, we can presumably encourage women to continue lusting after their partners.”
David Bergner’s book What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire hits shelves next month.