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Do women feel less sexual desire?

Do women feel less sexual desire?

January 22, 2022

Traditionally it has been considered that the libido level of women is lower than that of men . History teaches how over the centuries women have seen their desire for intimate relationships undervalued, reducing their sexual life to practically procreation and male satisfaction. However, in recent historical stages the figure of women has experienced an unprecedented revolution, questioning all beliefs that the role of women is (or should be) different from that of men.

This evolution in the consideration of the feminine figure (among other claims) has also meant a revolution also in the sexual plane, acquiring female desire social value and beginning to be much more accepted. However, in general it is still considered that men in general continue to have greater libido. This leads us to ask: what has caused such a belief? Do women really feel less desire?


Analyzing the myth of sexual desire

The studies and research carried out have allowed to answer the question previously raised . The conclusions that have been reached show that the woman responds to the presence of an erotic stimulus with the same speed as a man. It has also been shown that the excitatory response of women at the physiological level is more non-specific than that of men, presenting physical activation with a greater number of different stimuli.

It is true, however, that the stimuli that produce desire at the conscious level tend to be different between the sexes. While men usually see desire activated through the sense of sight, in the case of women attraction is mediated by a greater number of variables, such as voice and smell. This is partly explained as a consequence of neuroanatomical differences: the medial preoptic nucleus is one of the cerebral nuclei that regulates male sexual behavior, being that of women located in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus.


Likewise, it has been shown that at the cognitive level women also present a high level of excitability and desire, being elements such as erotic games and fantasies more elaborate and used by the female sex. Thus, these and other investigations show that the vision that puts the feminine desire below the masculine one is largely erroneous. But... What has caused this kind of thinking?

The reasons for the underestimation of female desire

According to various experts, the reasons why at a social level it is considered that women have less desire than men are due to a set of causes, essentially linked to the education received by both sexes throughout history. Specifically, the existence of a restrictive education with the expression of libido in women, which has been poorly viewed and valued at the social level if it manifested . For this reason, women have tended to hide their desire, learning over time to ignore their needs in this area and limiting their role to be desired.


Another of the main reasons derived from the previous one is the consideration of the image of the woman, object of a clear dichotomy for many centuries: either she was a pure housewife, good and an exemplary mother or was practically held by a professional sex , the latter being considered immoral and indecent. The culture and vision of the traditional libido have been centered on man, so that the existence of much of the vision of sex, including the current one, has been originally designed to appeal to man. Therefore, the woman has found some difficulty at the time of feeling included in this area.

The lack of an efficient sexual education, together with the hidden situation of the genitals inside the body, have also produced great difficulties in the knowledge of the body for the female figure, not seeing their genitals as erogenous zones and having serious difficulties for enjoy your own sexuality, being for example female masturbation a practice little practiced or encouraged until recent times. To this also contributes a vision of the erotic act very centered in the coitus and the genitals, obviating other erogenous zones that can cause a great activation of cognitive type in the woman.

Likewise, the risk of infection and pregnancy has led to rejection of sexual activity ; a rejection that is currently called disorder due to aversion to sex.

Change of gender roles

At present, however, the situation has changed greatly , producing a great liberalization of sexuality in all its senses and promoting sexual diversity.Nowadays women can satisfy much more freely, without in principle being ill seen by it (despite the fact that there is still a certain taboo and reluctance to abandon rejection in some areas) and actively seeking the satisfaction of their desire.

Gender roles have also been relaxed: women are more impulsive, sexual, competitive and aggressive, abandoning their passive role in society. Therefore, man is no longer the only one who presents an active role and seeks the satisfaction of his impulses, also reducing social pressure and expectations regarding it.

But ... have the roles attributed to each gender in partner relationships changed?

The image that predominates in the mind of a large part of the population in regard to the link between the components of a couple is that while the man has a clear preference for the satisfaction of his desire in the relationship, the woman, on the other hand, tends to focus more on romantic and affective details .

This image does not turn out to be correct, or at least not in the current world. The data reflected by a study of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction suggest that, in fact, the establishment of sexual relations is observed by men in a much more emotional way than by women, resulting in a better predictor hug of happiness in a relationship for men while in the case of women the level of sexual satisfaction is the best indicator.

The cause of this may be due to the role traditionally attributed to each gender. While the male has to be strong, protective and aggressive, not generally emitting their emotions, in the case of women the social role attributed to their sex in a traditional way as a fragile and vulnerable being has allowed the expression of fears, doubts and feelings . In this way, the man has learned to express his sentimental aspect through acts and not words, resulting in sexual relations a form of expression of intimacy, of his vulnerable and emotional side. Thus, studies indicate that the male uses his libido as an element of approach with his partner, which is sometimes difficult to express otherwise.

In the case of women, the fact that sexual satisfaction is a better indicator may come from the sexual liberation of the female gender itself repressed for so long, as well as an attempt to approach the couple through what many people consider to be fundamental for the male sex. All this, however, refers to the experience of sexuality in well-established couples, but not in the case of sporadic relationships, where men continue to manifest a greater predominance of seeking relationships with large numbers of couples.

Bibliographic references:

  • Arancibia, G. (2002). Pleasure and sex in women. Madrid: Nueca Library
  • Davis, P.G., McEwen, B.S., Pfaff, D.W. (1979). Localized behavioral effects of triated estradiol implants in the ventromedial hypothalamus of female rats. Endocrinology, 104: 898-903.
  • Chivers, M. L. & Timmers, A. D. (2012). The effects of gender and relationship context in audio narratives on heterosexual women's and men's genital and sexual subjective response. Archives of Sexual Behavior.
  • Gómez, J. (2009) Attachment and sexuality. Between the affective bond and the sexual desire. Madrid: Alliance.
  • Hansen, S., Köhler, C., Glodstein, M., Steinbusch, H.V.M. (1982). Effects of ibotenic acid-induced neuronal degeneration in the medial preoptic area and the lateral hypothalamic area on sexual behavior in the rat. Brain Res., 239: 213-232.
  • Lehmiller, J. J. (2014). The psychology of human sexuality. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Muise, A .; Stanton, S.C.E .; Kim, J.J .; Impett, E. A. (2016). Not in the mood? Men under- (not over-) perceive their partner's sexual desire in established intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 110 (5), May 2016, 725-742
  • Rosen, R .; Heiman, J; Long, J.S .; Smith, N.S .; Fisher, W.A. Sand, M.S. (2011). First Findings from International Couples Study Published Couples report gender differences in relationship, sexual satisfaction over Time. Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

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