I had forgotten Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, snapping at spoiled little Scarlett O’Hara — “You need to be kissed, and often, by someone who knows how.” How deliciously assertive!
And then he did.
Which raises the larger question — when it comes to kissing, and whatever comes after that, do you prefer to be wooed or pounced upon?
Does it matter if, like me, you’ve been with your partner or spouse for many years? Does first or fourth date behavior need to change to something more subtle — or perhaps more assertive — with the passage of time and the growth of familiarity?
I admit to preferring the pounce, personally. I’m one of these laser-focused people who’s always doing something and hates being interrupted, whether cooking or reading or writing. Sex, romance, smooching — it all takes uninterrupted, undistracted time. And undivided attention.
Which, in college, I and my beaux had a lot of. I remember many long, lovely afternoons devoted to….not attending class!
But as I get older — sigh — I find my libido mugged by any number of determined assailants, from fatigue to a painful arthritic hip to worry about my mom with dementia in a nursing home far away to insecurity about my body to….you name it!
Pouncing, which sort of forces my poor sweetie to be a little leopard-leaping-from-a-tree-esque (decidedly not his nature), relieves me, I confess, of the need to initiate and squelches any ambivalence I might be feeling. On with it, then!
Which do you like best — to be wooed or pounced upon?
Boehringer has also sponsored medical education classes for doctors and nurses about hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
In one course, released online in May, a quiz asked doctors to diagnose the condition of a 42-year-old working mother who takes care of three children and her own sick mother, and who had no desire for sex. (Her husband is mentioned only in passing.)
The correct answer? Schedule a follow-up visit to evaluate whether she has diagnosable hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
Gotta love the dogged persistence of Boehringer-Ingelheim, makers of such popular drugs as Mirapex (about which I wrote, whose bizarre side effects can cause sexual addiction). Think of all those frustrated, sex-less women dying for the Big O. Profit city!
Truth is, you can pop a fistful of pills and still lie there dead to the world….because, reality intrudes. Recession, unemployment, underemployment (yours, your kids’, your spouse’s or partner’s), college tuition bills, kids back home after college, your illness, your spouse and/or parents’ illnesses…
None of which makes you want to rip off your panties and chase your man around the bedroom. Many men these days are so whipped from even trying to keep their job, let alone find a new one, they’re not up for much either.
And, like it or not, some men are simply really lousy in bed. Their wives married them and some stay with them — for the kids, for the emotional security, for the lifestyle, for the companionship. But not, sad to say, for their horizontal abilities. (When in doubt about women’s ability to pretend everything’s great in bed to soothe male egos, rent “When Harry Met Sally” and watch her faking an orgasm in a very public place.)
No pill can make a man into a better lover. So a pill that rewires a woman’s brain to want more sex basically gives sexually lame men a Hail Mary pass, ignoring the deadening effect of their too-fast, too-slow, inept or inattentive lovemaking. Great!
From the April issue of “O” magazine, an online survey finds that a third of women would take a hike if their partner or husband was unfaithful — but only seven percent would bail due to sexual incompatibility. Hm.
Are American women shortchanging themselves? Sounds like it to me.
Eight percent said boredom would end things, 24 percent if they were “no longer in love” (seems a little vague), 28 percent for “chronic fighting.”
I was saddened to read that 31 percent of women say they don’t get enough emotional support — how’s it in your house? — but maybe they’re being unrealistic? Guys are legendarily not the greatest at hand-holding. Yet 61 percent of women said they turn to their partner in times of crisis, and only 20 percent to their best friend. Which begs the question — where, then, do women get their emotional support, if not from their sweetie or best friend?
A third of women said self-help books were helpful in improving their relationship, 22 percent regular date nights and only 12 percent said couples therapy.
A miserable 12 percent said they feel trapped in their relationship and 10 percent griped “better than being alone.”
In recent months, both Elle and Voguehave also run long pieces on women’s lack of sexual desire — and the ongoing paucity of effective/safe drugs to alleviate it. From Vogue:
Women have slim pickings in the sex-drug marketplace… Doctors have jumped in, giving women an estimated 2 million “off label” prescriptions every year for high-dose—and potentially risky—testosterone pills, creams, gels, and ointments. For now, though, there are no FDA-approved sex drugs for women. Pharmaceutical companies and device-makers have been scrambling for years to cash in on the largely untapped market in female desire: an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in annual sales.
That lure has revved up American ingenuity in previously unimaginable ways. Having trouble reaching orgasm? In just a few years, the Orgasmatron spinal-cord stimulator—now available only in a nine-day-trial version—may be fully implantable, with a subcutaneous battery lodged inside what its inventor calls “the anatomical love handle.” Stuart Meloy, M.D., says his device delivered orgasms on demand for four of eleven women in his small study. He hopes to persuade others to spend about $12,000 for the semipermanent gadget. The catch: First Meloy has to convince regulators that the benefits of the Orgasmatron outweigh the risks of lodging electrodes near the spine: paralysis, infection, and incontinence, to name a few.
Bremelanotide—the arousal injection—generated a lot of buzz when it was first introduced as an aphrodisiac nasal spray. But the spray spiked blood pressure in early trials and had to be yanked. The hypodermic version appears to avoid that problem, but testing is still under way.
A more appealing aphrodisiac may be within reach. Two firms are racing to develop the first prescription drug for women’s most common sexual complaint: distressingly low libido, which psychiatrists call hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). In the last few months, the makers of LibiGel and flibanserin claim they’ve discovered how to stimulate nerve centers in the female brain that control libido. Just how effective the drugs are remains unclear. The German drug giant Boehringer Ingelheim reported last November that in a six-month study of more than 1,000 women, a daily 100-mg dose of flibanserin gave premenopausal women 0.8 more “sexually satisfying events” per month over a placebo. (That metric doesn’t necessarily mean a woman has more orgasms, or even more sex. SSEs can include greater fantasies, arousal, and orgasms—or just feeling closer to a partner.) BioSante, the Chicago-area company that makes LibiGel, announced that 46 postmenopausal women who used it for three months had three more sexually satisfying events per month than women who received a placebo.
Maggie Bullock, in Elle, points out many reasons a woman can say “No thanks” including: emotional and psychological trauma, stress, relationship problems, depression, weight gain, body image issues, anger, tiredness, infidelity, childbirth, power issues, past abuse — not to mention the routine and ennui that can come with long-term relationships.”
I would add to that sadly long and realistic list a few other issues I’ve experienced — injury, arthritis, chronic illness, surgery and recovery. My severely arthritic left hip now works like a poorly designed hinge. I’ll figure it out, but it’s not erotic.