There are many influences on a woman’s sex drive. Remember when sex drive meant in the back of the car, parked behind the shower block, on the way to the beach? Remember youthful sex drive at all?
I have people to do that for me now. I sit on the couch with my teenage daughters watching TV and most of the time they have their heads down fiddling with their phones, but every now and then they glance up at the TV and say, ‘He’s hot,’ and when I look more closely, sure enough, there is a bloke with a twelve-pack taking off his shirt, to whom I hadn’t given a second thought because I was following the STORY.
Who was delivering the story with his shirt off was inconsequential as long as he emoted and spoke clearly and with a little more volume than I used to need. But not to young, hormonal women. Even when multi-tasking on their iPhones and apparently taking in the story through their pores, they are on high alert to hotness.
We share this alertness with every other living species – science and David Attenborough tell us. At every layer and level of our female beings, in every instinct, we are seeking a mate, a sire, a stud (if we are a mare), a stag (if we are a deer), an inseminator, a provider (unless we are a mantis or another one of those species where the female is inseminated and then bites the bloke’s head off to avoid having to fake orgasm), a father to our offspring. And while we are auditioning the males on offer, we females of all species are apparently giving them an intuitive DNA and genetic assessment to propagate the strongest likely specimens of the species. All of which manifests in the teenage verdict: ‘He’s hot.’
This womanly alertness to hotness continues until about the first time you are up all night with your first child. Then the only hotness a woman registers is the temperature of the baby’s bath water or if the baby has a fever (elbow for the first, your own cool cheek for the second; do not confuse the two).
Then it waxes and wanes, wanes and waxes, often in sync with furniture and personal waxing, and house cleaning, school, holidays, work, sleep, stress and then menopause, when it not only wanes, it pours. Yes, menopause is when the only hotness we register is when we sweat all over the bus seat.
This is because our hormone levels switch our libido on and off like the knob on your radio. No hormones, no reception. Suddenly your sex drive is not determined by whether he has bought you dinner and listened to you intently all evening and presented you with a single long-stemmed rose created from emeralds and rubies. Your sex drive is determined by whether or not your bloke has just cooked dinner. And it can go back into neutral before he has finished washing up.
It is often said that a woman ‘loses’ her libido, which is not helpful, and it simply puts the responsibility back on the overburdened shoulders of the woman. That’s right, it’s always our fault! A woman does not lose her libido; it’s not like ‘Gosh, where did I put my libido? Has anyone seen my libido? I have looked everywhere and I can’t find it. I hope I didn’t accidentally throw it out. I hope it wasn’t in that bag I sent to the Salvos. I’ll have to pray to St Anthony and hopefully it will turn up like the car keys did that time.’