What if we told you that everything you’ve ever been taught about your sex drive wasn’t quite true?
*OK so it’s a big opener, but we’re rolling with it*.
And that we’re also about to roll up our metaphorical sleeves and tell you about a relatively mind blowing (and in no way exaggerated how life-changing this is) way of understanding desire that not many people know about, but should!
Would you read on….?
If you’ve reached this site because you’ve lost your libido, or are with someone who has, and you’re wondering what on earth to do about it, here is a rather good place to start. Because knowing more about how desire works in the first place means it’s easier to figure out what’s going on with it.
So buckle up, grab a cuppa and we’ll give you the 101 on what your libido *is* and a brand new model for how to understand it….
What is a sex drive?
Let’s begin our magical mystery tour of the enigmatic female sex drive with a discussion on what a sex drive actually is and explore what this thing is that we feel we’ve lost?
The human desire to have sex is often called the sex drive, or the libido. Or even our “mojo” for any Austin Powers fans out there…
Sigmund Freud first coined this term libido to mean “sexual and/or life urge or energy”- a feeling of need or want to engage in sexual activity.
He thought that our libido was a drive, similar to thirst or hunger- a constant force that pushes us towards sexual gratification and that had to be fulfilled in order for us to survive.
This is an idea that has survived for centuries, and is often the understanding of desire that most people have today.
Do you recognise what you know about how your sex drive works from this description?
But- turns out… sex isn’t a drive!
As Hannah Witton a well-known UK sex educator explains in this video, a drive is an “uncomfortable experience that pushes you out into the world to fix something”.
E.g. we are thirsty, so we seek out a drink to satisfy our thirst.
If we didn’t do so, we would die.
Sex however, is very different. No-one ever died from not having sex!
So sex can’t be seen as an essential human need.
The impact of this belief about desire is huge.
If you’ve lost your desire (like I did) and you think of your libido as a drive, static, something innate or instinctive, when it goes missing it can feel terrifying!
We might think that there’s a problem- with us, our relationships, our sex lives. It can feel like you’ve used up all your “mojo” or that you’ll never experience desire again. We might believe something is not working medically or biologically to have turned off this instinct.
Because of this many women feel broken, empty, and label themselves “sexually dysfunctional” if their desire fades, and/or it can cause conflict within relationships around the frequency of sex.
So this idea about sex as a need or drive isn’t true, what is it?
Sex = motivation
Scientists and sociologists instead frame the experience of wanting sex as an “incentive motivation system”.
Essentially, desire just means “to want”.
And in order to want sex, we need some kind of incentive (reward) in order to motivate (encourage) us to have it.
Wanting sex then is a simple mathematical equation of balance:
The factors that push you towards sex need to be greater than the factors that pull you away.
This means you can’t really lose your “sex drive” (because that drive doesn’t exist!) but instead you can lose the motivation for having sex.
All of this is great news if you want to experience more desire- you can’t create a drive.
But you can summon motivation.
Wanna know how?