Friday, May 09, 2014

Looking at libido myths

I saw a discussion on Facebook today in which vulva cancer survivor and unstoppable gynae awareness advocate, Kath Mazalla, posted about a radio show she had listened to.  In this program, men, she reported, were saying that they had more urges than women, and women are becoming more accepting of husbands/partners having affairs in order to keep their man happy. Kath questioned whether most women would accept this.

What I question is the first proposal that men have 'more urges than women'.
To start with it simply doesn't make sense to me, on an evolutionary level, that the gender responsible for growing the next generation in their bellies would be distinctly ho hum about the act that starts the whole process. Did nature decide to rely on 'male urges' in combination with the masculine's generally superior strength to propagate our species?
I don't think so!

I suggest that during centuries of masculine dominated society, we in the minority ('western') world, have been sold this myth. And many of us have come to believe it.

Prior to the 18th century it was thought that both the man and the woman needed to achieve orgasm for conception to take place. Once scientists discovered this to be false interest in accurate education about feminine sexual pleasure dwindled dramatically. It has been suggested that information about women's arousal anatomy has been systematically removed from medical textbooks after this time. Women's natural urges have certainly been socially, morally and spiritually condemned, with those who enjoy sex becoming branded as whores and the only really acceptable archetype's available being the chaste maiden or devoted (and asexual) mother

However there are numerous countries in Africa and many Muslim communities who consider a woman’s sex drive to be extremely powerful. So powerful in fact that young girls genitals are quite literally cut out to preserve their moral values. Female Genital Mutilation affects an estimated 140 million women worldwide. It describes a range of practices in which all or part of a girls vulva is cut, sewn or removed. Fran Hosken's ground breaking report on FGM was published in 1979 and was influential in persuading the World Health Organization, to make efforts to end the practice. She reports that FGM is said to 'protect a women against her over sexed nature, saving her from temptation, suspicion and disgrace while preserving her chastity'. For these people a woman's 'urges' are considered to be so intense, both for her and for her community, that they must be extremely controlled.

And now lets look back at European history.
During the systematic persecution and execution of 'witches' in the Middle Ages chief inquisitor Heinrich Kramer wrote his notorious Malleus Maleficarum which became a handbook for secular courts throughout Renaissance Europe. In Section 1 he says "all witchcraft comes from carnal lust which is in women insatiable".
Insatiable, huh!
So why is it that we believe that men 'have more urges than women'? In part, possibly, because so many of our ancestors who dared to delight in their natural expressions of pleasure were burnt at the stake.

And now the pharmaceutical companies have jumped in on the act, where the church left off. They have created a medical 'disorder' called Female Sexual Dysfunction in order to attempt to repeat the unprecedented financial success of Viagra.
Viagra, the first oral treatment for erectile dysfunction was developed accidentally by scientists at Pfizer Laboratories and was greenlighted for use by the FDA on March 27, 1998. It was a huge success and has made billions of dollars for the company.
In that very same year, sex experts came together at the pharmaceutical industry-funded International Consensus Development Conference of Female Sexual Dysfunction to craft a new classification system. Because, guess what, unless you have a dysfunction, you can sell a cure.

In my practice I find that many women's issues around lack of desire and enjoyment of sex simply arise from lack of understanding of our arousal needs and how they differ from men's. This simple lack of knowledge in both partners has resulted in uncomfortable intercourse, before a woman is fully ready, which, over time, becomes extremely disheartening and quite literally numbs a woman's capacity for sensation. And with nowhere to go for information (other than internet porn which portrays a limited and unrealistic view of female sexuality) many women just give up and resign themselves to believing the myth.

What I believe we need is to lift the taboos, so that sex can be discussed, to educate openly and accurately and to support women to rediscover our natural, delightful, healing & empowering capacity for pleasure.
This is my mission and my passion. If it interests you please visit my website or FB page to find out more.

1 comment:

Ariel Kalma said...

Interesting subject... I have had more sexual impulses than most of my female partners. I know this as a fact. The point is not from the middle age backward thinking point of view of Christians, muslims, or other male-dominating societies. Those views hide the reality of female desire behind the need for male power. It would be nice to start from fresh. Speak about the natural needs of a woman and the fact that many can have repeated pleasure versus man's on shot at it (pun intended). Talk about empowering woman to grow self worth and liberating pleasure without comparison, and the need for men to recognise women as partners in life, love and pleasure. Those are the real point for me to address.

Love and laughter, sister!

Ariel