Dr. Jenni suggests: rather than depending on simultaneous, spontaneous combustion, think about how humans respond to stimuli and incentives.

Making Math Sensual and Spicy

Last week we talked about how the power of 10 can help solve sexual desire discrepancies. In brief, if both partners honestly and accurately assess their individual sex drives on a scale of 1-10, and the sum equals 10 or higher, then the rule says, go for it! In reality, it’s not that simple. The challenge is to take our simple math equation and add a layer of algebraic complexity, and another layer of sexiness.

If we were to look at a battle of the sexes, we might see that men and women function with different human sexual responses. This is a generalization, and I certainly do not conceptualize gender in only two boxes, but again for the sake of simple math, let’s look at men vs. women.

Men tend to operate by the more linear Masters and Johnson model. First comes sexual desire. Then arousal kicks in, followed by a slow or fast progression towards orgasm, terminating with a resolution of rest, recovery, and a refractory period lasting five minutes to five days depending on age and vitality.

Women don’t necessarily operate via a spontaneous sex drive. Some do, no doubt. But Rosemary Basson claims that more often than not, women’s sexual desire is a responsive action dependent on either sexual or non-sexual stimuli. Yes, clean dishes and a spotless kitchen can serve as phenomenal foreplay for many women. It’s one less stress and one less distraction that allows her to more easily melt into the sensuality of the moment.

Some women are more receptive to sexual stimuli. They know that even though their mental game may not yet be warmed up, getting their body out in the field and starting to play will feel good—and by the end of the game, the endorphins will be running full steam.

Lastly, some women engage in sexual activity because the rewards and incentives fuel and nourish the relationship. These women, for example, engage in sexual activity in order feel more emotionally connected to their partner. Even if her sex drive is not in full gear, the rewards for the relationship are indispensable.

That said, America’s best kept secret is that many men do not have raging and innate sexual desires. Unless you are a Jewish man who maintains a strict marital mikveh practice—in which case, there is a one to two week period (depending on how strict) where there is no touching permitted between the genders. By the end of this period, couples are often rearing to rip each other’s clothes off!

However, let’s return to our math metaphor. While couples will want to numerically assess where they feel their sex drives momentarily lay, they will also want to consider that sexual desire may take a little encouraging from both parties. So rather than depending on simultaneous, spontaneous combustion, think about how humans respond to stimuli and incentives. It might be the secret algebraic twist that helps solve sexual desire discrepancies.

Or maybe we should all take a lesson from ancestors past and keep a better mikveh! Either way, have a sexy Shabbos, and stay tuned next week for Jewish Valentine fun!

About Dr. Jenni Skyler

Jenni Skyler, PhD, MSEd is a sex therapist and board certified sexologist. She is the Director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy in Boulder, Colorado. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Sexology and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy track. She has worked in the field of sexual health as a therapist, educator, and public health consultant since 2005. In addition, Jenni is a PAIRS® certified instructor and hosts workshops and retreats to help couples emotionally enrich their relationships.

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