By Corinne Farago
This is a blog post for a subsection of women, and the people who want to understand those women better.
A therapist friend of mine asked me today if many of the women I work with ever confess that they’re just ‘done’ with sex.
They’ve had the babies, they had many years of having sex with their partners. They’ve never felt very sexual. Sex has never been that important to them.
When I hear a woman make such a resounding statement as ‘I’m done with sex’, I imagine a long road of frustration, obligation, unmet desires and unspoken words, leading up to that absolute declaration.
Sex is not about obligation, although women have been told it was their obligation for eons of time. Relatively speaking, it wasn’t all that long ago that women were considered the property of a man, and their role in life was having a family and pleasing her husband (and in many parts of the world still are).
In my lifetime, a woman had to get her husband’s signature to get a credit card. Women weren’t allowed to serve on a jury, or have access to Ivy League education. The list goes on. It’s helpful to keep these facts in perspective as we look at the role sex plays in many women’s lives.
Birth control, access to abortions, planned parenthood, marriage of choice, jobs outside the home, financial independence, consent conversations, female sexual pleasure, are all (relatively speaking) new game-changers for women’s independence and their relationship to sex.
It’s only been one generation (or less) that girls walked out of sex education with two takeaways:
1. Keep your legs closed if you don’t want to get pregnant. And…
2. Boys only want one thing. In other words, fend off the aggressors or your life would be ruined.
Desire, pleasure, seduction and intimacy, were not part of the sexual curriculum or conversation. Boys weren’t taught how to be good lovers, and girls were expected to put up with whatever they got out of it, which was usually unfulfilling, when it came to the female body (and soul).
These days women may consciously understand that sex is more than an obligation to keep a relationship intact. Times have changed, right? Not according to the numbers.
Low sexual desire (or lack of interest in sex) is present in 26.7% of premenopausal women, and 52.4% of post-menopausal women.
Is it a woman’s nature to be less interested in sex, or is it the kind of sex she’s having that’s leaving her cold?
If sex is intercourse focused with minimal mental, emotional and physical foreplay, a woman’s inherent feminine nature is not being engaged, nor are the pleasure centers throughout her body that awaken her arousal.
If she’s not educated to view sex as a source of her own pleasure, she’ll lack the tools, and even the inclination to identify what she wants in sex, and to ask for it from a partner.
If the way a woman is experiencing sex doesn’t open her to connection and intimacy (whatever style of sex she’s having) she’ll eventually become resigned to feeling that sex is more for her partner than it is for her.
Women are raised to be good at giving, at putting other’s needs first, but applying those skill sets to sex will eventually lead to low sexual interest and resentment. Obligatory sex isn’t just unsatisfying for women. It’s equally unsatisfying for their partners. I often hear men expressing their longing to feel desired by their partners.
Women and men are learning as we go. Every generation is evolving our sexual awareness. Relatively speaking, we’re still in the early days of sex education representing female pleasure. Women’s sexual empowerment is now part of the conversation. We’re all doing the best we can to wake-up to the mistakes and inequalities of previous generations.
But, behind the bedroom doors, conscious and subconscious attitudes and beliefs still linger. Attitudes of the past continue to impact sexual desire and experience. After all, we were raised by parents, who were influenced by their parents and so on and so on.
If you understand intergenerational trauma, you know that trauma experienced in one generation affects the health and wellbeing of descendants of future generations. This intergenerational download is almost all subconscious.
90% of our brain is a subconscious collection of unintentional thoughts, behaviors, and actions that motivate our actions and dictate our desires.
How many women were:
- indoctrinated into saying ‘no’ to sex from a young age?
- taught to hate their bodies based on societal standards of the time?
- raised to believe that female sexual pleasure wasn’t important enough to speak up about?
- told that to be a good wife, you should put your husband’s pleasure above your own?
How many women showed signs of liking sex too much, and were then called a slut and socially ostracized from their peers?
How many women believed that they have to act fake or perform to be a good lover?
How many women were never taught how to talk about sex with confidence and clarity?
Early messages about female sexuality from the society we grew up in are full of contradictions that play a role in how women relate to sex as adults. Those messages combine in our subconscious minds to create confusion and ambivalence around our own sexuality.
When I hear a women say she’s ‘done’, what I hear her saying is that she’s done with a sexual paradigm that may have never worked for her in the first place.
She’s done feeling disconnected from her body and desires. She’s done with a lack of intimacy that opens her up to sensuality and seduction. She’s done with hardening herself to the belief that sex is not meant for her pleasure.
She’s done with sex, as it is.
Sometimes being ‘done’ is less of an ending, and more of a beginning. We’re closing one door behind us and opening a new door in front of us.
Finding that new door to walk through is a vulnerable journey to make for a woman. She’s learning to break down the walls of resentment and become reengaged with her pleasure. She’s seeking her own personal sexual empowerment outside of the societal messages she grew up with. She’s learning to identify her sexual desires, and embrace sex as an integral part of her womanhood to be shared and celebrated.
Being ‘done’ is a reaction to an unworkable situation. ‘Ever-evolving’ is the desire to take action toward something better.
If you, or your partner, is part of this subsection of women who have emotionally disconnected from sex, starting to talk about sex is where it all begins.
Sit down with this article and start to talk about your sexual histories.
Ask each other questions about what it was like growing up:
- What were the messages you received (verbal or non-verbal) about sex, masturbation, nudity?
- What messages did you get about sex from members of your family or friends?
- How did you learn about sex and how do you wish you had learned about sex?
- What are your early memories of sexual feelings and experimentation?
Understanding our partner’s relationship to sex based on their life history is an invaluable part of a vibrant sex life. Be a good listener. Don’t judge or try to fix them. Change occurs when we feel safe to share, and we feel accepted, even with our limitations.
If you need some guidance in closing one door and opening another, schedule a Discovery Call with me, and let’s talk about what you want love, sex and desire to look like in your precious life.
Supporting women and the people who love them,
Stay well and love deeply,
Be sure to download my list of 186 erotic activities that I outline in my new e-book, Your Erotic Menu.
It may be the single most impactful step you take toward your sexual evolution. (I can confidently say, your dates nights will never be the same!)
(Mail about sex will often get sent to promotions or junk. Move me to your inbox so we can continue to stay in touch regularly. ☺)