We read with interest a recent study that showed that what has been called frigidity or female sexual dysfunction turns out to be mostly about relationship issues. That’s right, women’s sexual satisfaction is based to a large degree on the health, comfort, and mutuality of their romantic relationship. In other words, there’s no such thing as a female sexual frigidity, only emotionally and sexually unsatisfying relationships. Now, who do you think is surprised by this information? Not most women, that’s for sure! The idea that sex, sexual satisfaction, orgasm, sexual climax, or whatever term you want to apply is, for women, built on a foundation of a good relationship is so basic, and so elementary, that we are tempted—gasp!—to think that this news would only come as a surprise to men, and specifically the male medical professionals who likely coined the terms frigidity and female sexual dysfunction.
Snarkiness aside, it just makes sense that a woman can really relax and enjoy sex if she doesn’t feel like her partner is really 100% there for her. Your partner doesn’t show you tenderness and respect? It’s hard to leave that outside the bedroom. Your husband (or wife) doesn’t do his (or her) fair share around the house? That will probably make it hard to relax and enjoy intimacy. Does your boyfriend (or girlfriend) show more interest in playing poker or video games than he (or she) does in you? It’s hard to want to please someone, and be pleased by someone, who really seems so disinterested and “not present.”
We know that PMS and PMDD can do a real number on libido and sex drive, and that PMS gets blamed for a lot of sexual problems. And, like anything else that affects your health, it’s hard to feel sexy if you feel lousy. But, it’s not just PMS or PMDD that mess with sexual desire: all of the dynamics that put stress on a relationship: fidelity, finances, friendships, getting along, and feeling like you’re in it together, can make it hard for a woman to fully enjoy sex and reach orgasm when things aren’t going well.
We think the current views of sex and sexuality, of women’s orgasm and sexual satisfaction, including the ideas of frigidity and female sexual dysfunction, deserve some serious reconsideration in light of this new information. After all, is anyone really surprised that what happens outside the bedroom matters inside the bedroom?