Well, a new study seems to suggest that women are keeping tight-lipped, too.
And when it comes to their sex lives and intimacy, women aren’t just keeping things from their men but from themselves as well.
Dr. Anita Clayton, a psychiatrist with the University of Virginia, tells us that women are more apt to settle for mediocre sex and also to keep their sexual dissatisfaction a secret. Clayton is quick to clarify that “this is not about men.” We’re not talking about men being unable to satisfy a woman here, it’s something that runs far deeper than that. As Clayton says, “We women need to examine ourselves and the types of sexual beings we are.”
So What’s the Problem?
In a time when women are achieving greater and greater successes professionally, Clayton suggests that the bedroom may have taken a backseat to both the boardroom and the family room. Too few women define themselves as sexual beings. “We define ourselves as workers, wives, mothers, daughters,” she says, “We prioritize those things, and then we put sex low on the list. No guy does this to us. We do it to ourselves.”
Clayton is also the president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH), and has recently co-written the book, Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy with Robin Cantor-Cooke. In it, she argues that “Work and family come first. We end up putting sex low on the priority list… Then when our partner initiates sex, it’s just another task. I really believe that we as women accept a level of dissatisfaction that we don’t need to accept.”
What Is Mediocre Sex?
I’m a guy, so really any sex is good sex, but it seems that women are feeling let down in the sack. As Clayton puts it, “It tends to be this feeling that they’re not satisfied and a lot of times that’s on an emotional level.”
And it doesn’t end there. The idea that their sex life isn’t quite as happening as they would like doesn’t seem to spur women to seek advice or help. Clayton tells us that “Whereas men, if they have trouble with sex, it’s a crisis. They run to the doctor and say ‘I need something for this.’ Women don’t do that.
They just sort of stuff it down and push it further down on the list.” Is it me, or is this list getting a little too long to handle?
Bumping Sex up the List
If it’s just a question of changing priorities, perhaps women can just decide to move sex up the list and focus on it more. The answer may not be that simple, says Clayton, whose study shows that many women have not learned what they find sexually gratifying. She says that some women “don’t even know their own baseline functioning, even lubrication. They don’t know.
You have to be taught what to look for, and we don’t teach this. We don’t tell women about sex very much and [their reaction] is all internal.”
While it’s become de rigueur to point to unrealistic media images of women for poor self-image, Clayton does agree that “We always feel like we’re lacking.” But she is quick to point out that ‘beauty’ and sexual satisfaction don’t go hand in hand. “You don’t have to be a sexy bombshell-looking person to have great sex. It’s really not about that,” she says.
“We might think that Victoria’s Secret models have a great sex life, but their sex life is no better than anybody else’s.”
What To Do?
Teach yourself about your sexual baseline functioning. Translation: masturbate. There’s no better way to get to know your body than… well… getting to know your body.
“Guys are not saying, ‘Do not tell me. I don’t want to know,’” Clayton emphasizes. “Women are the ones keeping these secrets.” You may be surprised how ready and willing a man will be to please you if you just tell him what you like.
Clayton makes a good point when she says that “A bomb could go off in the house and if a guy is having sex, he can go on having sex … A woman can hear a pin drop and think something’s wrong” and put the breaks on right away.
“We can change,” Clayton declares. “We can tell ourselves that the laundry can wait. Let’s go have sex.”
You heard the doctor… stop with the dirty laundry and get down to the down and dirty!