By Caroline Muir
There isn’t a female libido pill as yet on the market. Ever wondered why?
Female arousal is a complex affair, perhaps more complex than an actual ‘affair’! It is so complex that I can only refer you to the best information I have ever read to explain the intricacies involved in female arousal: Vagina, a book by Naomi Wolf. I am privileged to have had my classes with women written about in twelve pages of this masterpiece of research.
A couple that I am counseling touched my heart deeply as I felt into their pain resulting from the fact that she doesn’t want to “have” to have sex any longer with her husband, at least for now. Their sexual loving is not painful or aggressive. She loves him and he loves her. She just doesn’t want to! Josh sits before me in shock and grief as this is his primary way to feel union with his beloved Heather… or as he describes it he is “a thirsty man desiring water… hungry for intimacy with his wife.”
He remembers the last time they made love. He admits they were just going through the motions… that it wasn’t a thoughtful joining as they had been learning from me; the principles of Tantra and the yoga of intimacy. She really does not know why this is her truth and how she feels at this time.
The sadness I feel and see in them is reminiscent of a lost and lonely place. As a woman, I do not find her wrong or broken or in any way ‘a mess.’ She is a wise and compassionate therapist, successful in her world. She “just doesn’t want to”! Sex for Heather is no longer fulfilling.
Yet she grieves his sorrow. She gives him freedom to explore… to continue living ‘as a man’ with others. That of course leads to talks about separate living and the myriad of painful situations that include grown children, friendships and family, pets and the daily playing of music that they share. He grimaces at this gift of freedom… he only wants his wife. I know this parting of physical/sensual/sexual ways is common to long relationships and marriages. I reach into my fifty years of living in relationships for words of wisdom.
I suggest dropping deeper into friendship with one another, something they both feel is uppermost in their marriage and relationship. I suggest “Let It Be” as John Lennon sang to us as we were all reaching for the light of understanding.
I suggest a “sabbatical” from their sexual marriage, while deepening their intimacy and friendship with one another and their families. I invited Heather to do a Ritual of Completion with me or with her women’s group, in an invitation to “lay to rest” her duty as a wife. It’s very possible that in dropping the inherited duty of a wife, she might very well find her sensual joy in the freedom to say no!
Josh now has the opportunity to choose Heather for the warm and wonderful companion whom he has grown to treasure over twenty years. There is a heavy “should” in how a marriage is supposed to look in the sexual arena, and women often struggle with these libido changes as they age. It appears that we need to claim our autonomy from the marriage identity, often without wanting to lose the marriage, while hoping to find a new level of desire based on loving friendship and freedom rather than the duties of marriage.
Marital Baggage can be quite heavy. In the pure union of lover and beloved, this conflict isn’t meant to be heavy. In an ideal world we would want to make love as a celebration of our love. Yet libido for both men and women alters from the natural flow of desire that we knew when we were younger. The best antidote for a lazy libido is to simply… play!
Easier said than done? “Seriousness is an adult disease” and Sex is serious business. How about this instead: Play with one another… play with yourself… play with your children… learn from the kids and pets about ‘play’ and bring that Quality of Play to your lover. Let go of goals, orgasms and performance. They are the biggest blocks to play!
I would love to hear from you! Please comment and add both your serious and your playful thoughts.