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SEX AND SEXUAL PROBLEMS: LIBIDO

What exactly is a sexual problem? Obviously all sorts of different difficulties can arise in the area of sexuality but in many cases it is largely a matter of perception. What is normal and satisfying for one person might be the next person’s problem.

Take the example of sexual appetite, or libido. If you’re not involved with a regular partner, having a libido at all can be a problem. Let’s face it, singles bars and dating agencies base their businesses on it. (Okay, I know their clients are not just after sex … there’s fun and companionship and the search for a meaningful relationship and all that, but we’re talking here about people with a libido that’s all dressed up and nowhere to go.) Now while masturbation will take care of the more urgent physical need for the time being, it will not appease the stronger, more chronic need for emotional and sensual intimacy that can only be satisfied by closeness to another person.

Like most things to do with people, there is a wide range of ‘normal’ when you talk about libido. One of the most common problems seen by sex therapists is mismatched libidos — the ‘he/she wants it twice a day and I can’t be bothered more than once a fortnight’ scenario. Now because ‘enough’ for one is ‘not nearly enough’ for another you’ve just got to hope that when it comes to splicing two libidos together in a relationship, the two ‘enoughs’ are about the same most of the time. Either that or a reasonable compromise can be met. Otherwise the scene is set for a hotbed of frustrations and resentments.

‘Enough’ is impossible to put a number on because it changes so much from person to person and from time to time. The time of the month makes a big difference to some women. One friend reckons she knows when she is ovulating because her libido goes berserk. When her period is due she becomes a ‘no-go’ zone for days.

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