When she wants sex more

The stereotype is of a frigid wife, but plenty of women find themselves the more desiring partner


Tracy Clark-Flory
April 28, 2013 3:00PM (UTC)

Once in bed at night, Cathy's boyfriend would almost instantly curl up in the fetal position facing away from her and begin breathing heavily as though asleep. "But if I put my arm around him, he would stiffen up and hold his breath," she says. "A couple times, I even saw him hurriedly shut his eyes." Sometimes the 37-year-old from St. Louis, Mo., would take a more direct approach, telling him, "I want to be with you" -- but she often ended up being rebuffed. It wasn't uncommon for him to ask, "Why do we have to have sex all the time?"

This is the gender reversal of what we're used to hearing: stories about women complaining of a headache or offering a simple, "Not tonight, honey." Just this week, the Wall Street Journal published a piece ostensibly about "differing expectations about sex" in relationships in general, but which fell back on the stereotype of the frigid wife who withholds sex. The piece presented only one real-life example of such a dynamic and, despite mentioning far, far down in the piece a study on desire that found no significant gender differences, the piece ran with the headline, "He Says 'More' and She Says 'No.'"

When I put out a call for women who had experienced having the higher sex drive in a relationship, I was flooded with responses -- and many of these women wanted to put me in touch with female friends with similar tales of sexual dissatisfaction. There was tremendous variability in what they considered too little sex: One expressed annoyance over an ex-boyfriend who wouldn't have sex more than four times in one night; another complained that her ex-husband wanted it no more than twice a week; and yet another reported getting busy five times in three ...

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