I’ve been looking for an old Talleyrand article in light of Rollo’s post today. Still haven’t found it yet, but I did come across this one I wrote back on 11/30/09 and I thought I’d share. Enjoy!
That’s Hypo, as in less than normal. Not to be confused with Hyper meaning excessive. I’m not making HSDD up, it will be in the new APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders volume 5. There actually is a very interesting article in the New York Times Magazine by Daniel Bergner on this very subject. He even devotes one of the longest paragraphs in his article to attack the APA and their definition of sexual deviancy. Message journalism at it’s best. I was all set to completely fisk this article, but really there’s no point. I’ll just provide some highlights and snark. In reality, once you cut through the human interest emotionalism, this is a decent write up.
Studies suggest that around 30 percent of young and middle-aged women go through extended periods of feeling dim desire — or of feeling no wish for sex whatsoever.
Isn’t psychology great. I mean, what other field depends on self-reported data that can be notoriously unreliable (with the daily revelations on Climategate lately, psychology doesn’t seem to be the only one with notoriously unreliable data). It seems to me that the rule of 2 could apply here. That would mean the real number could be as high as 60%. Would you take 6:4 odds against on your marriage bet? Does 7:3 in your favor sound better?
MORE THAN BY any other sexual problem — the elusiveness of orgasm, say, or pain during sex — women feel plagued by low desire. The problems often overlap, but above all the others that can thwart an erotic life, the remoteness of lust is what impels women to seek treatment. And as Brotto discusses the disorder, she is not talking about something physical. She regularly wires the genitals of her patients to a photoplethysmograph to measure whether the women respond with surges of vaginal blood flow while they watch a pornographic video. Almost always, they do.
Hmm, what could it be? I could speculate, but I’m not a trained professional. I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to fill in the blank with what you think it could be. The next line in the article says,
Brotto is dealing in the domain of the mind, or in the mind’s relationship to the body, not in a problem with the body itself.
But of course. The mind. Mr. Bergner throws in the latest in Misandrist thought,
All of the variations and unknowns and insinuations of patriarchal perspective help make Brotto’s work on the D.S.M. more than a little fraught.
Got it. It’s that damn patriarchy again. You Bastards!!!! The next paragraph covers the deviant behavior screed,
The section on deviant desires, to take one example, is denounced by advocates for alternative sexuality as stigmatizing those whose lusts, no matter how unusual, are harmless, or those whose erotic play, no matter how unsettling, is consensual.
Gotta normalize those, you know. The article continues with the biographical background of the courageous woman who’s doing research into HSDD. At this point it get’s a little tedious. You get the general feel of the article. A couple more tidbits,
And the diagram made clear that desire — at least the way many tend to think of it, as a lust or craving that spurs someone toward having sex — might or might not play a role in making a woman want sex and, in any case, isn’t at all necessary for the sex to be satisfying.
All of this might seem awfully abstract, but Basson’s lesson for women, which has been distilled by sex therapists into three words, “desire follows arousal,” is a real rearrangement of expectation and a reweighting of sexual theory.
Hmm, where have I seen something similar before. Wait, wait, it’s coming to me. Oh yeah, I got it. Game. The whole point of kino and sexual escalation.
For those of you contemplating marriage, I have this old axiom to tell you. The old saw used to be (in the days before rampant premarital sex) that newlyweds should put a bean into a jar every time they have sex during their first year of marriage. Then for the remainder of their marriage, they could take a bean out of the jar every time they had sex. Most married couples would never empty the jar before they die. Sadly, I don’t know one married guy that doesn’t complain about their wives lack of libido and the dearth of sex in their marriage.
UPDATE: It just occurred to me. Desire following arousal makes sense in the sexual market place as 11 minutes talks about in his Buying Temperature Bandits post.
UPDATE 2: Master Dogen also covers this article today. He points out that men are curiously absent from any mention in this article.