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Insatiable Sexual Desire?

Recently, at the end of a woman's patient care session, as I wrote my chart notes she broke the silence with a simple question, "How do I get back to wanting sex all the time? Like I did when I was in my twenties." I heard the question clearly; it took me by surprise. I looked up from my notes, and with my eyes gazing above my reading glasses, I looked at her in stillness.

She was a beautiful woman in her early fifties, but she looked to be in her early forties. She was thin, very thin and she had a beautiful smile. I asked her a simple question in reply, "Do you have anyone in particular you would like to have sex with?" She smiled, actually laughed a bit and replied, "No, not really. I just want to feel like I want to have sex all the time. I haven't felt that way for thirty years. Now that I've lost weight, I want to have the desire for sex again. I don't have anyone I'm interested in; I'm not in a relationship and I probably don't want one. So what can I do?"

To be quite honest, I had to regroup mentally, not a lot, just a bit. I have fielded hundreds, if not thousands, of questions in my professional career, many about the anatomical changes related to menopause and loss of libido. Some women have asked me how they can get their husbands more interested in them. That answer is relatively simple. This question was different. I have never really pondered how a woman could recreate or restore her lost insatiable sexual appetite. I understood her general idea: she just wanted to feel an insatiable libido, not actually act on it.

Half the human race already has an insatiable sexual desire - men. At some point in their lives, the majority of men live with the feeling that they need to have sex almost all the time. Yet most of them have figured out a way to suppress their desires enough to focus on something other than sex; they also desire to be successful in their daily lives as wage earners, caregivers, fathers and sons. On the surface, her question was simple and straightforward. But upon reflection, I thought she had a much deeper, more profound, desire; one that was much more complicated and emotionally rooted.

I believe all humans have a strong desire to be attractive, as well as a desire to be correct whenever a conflict arises. I think the desire to be correct is stronger than the desire to be attractive. Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder; it has many dimensions: physical, emotional, intellectual, creative, and financial. On the physical plane, we care about symmetry, proportion of body fat to lean muscle, shape, hair styles, odors, as well as clothes, undergarments or lack thereof, jewelry, communication styles, and intellectual strengths and weaknesses to name a few. I have met many patients that are extremely self-critical, no matter how others see them, no matter how attractive they are. Some people see others and fantasize about being them instead of who they are. Many, many journalists and social authorities speak to the idea of being role models for all of us -- a general thought that someone else's behavior should be a model for our behavior. A well-recognized example of this phenomenon was the wearing of the WWJD bracelets (What Would Jesus Do?) to signify that the wearer seemed to somehow take the Christ consciousness into account before they acted in any particular situation. To an atheist, perhaps the very idea of doing what Jesus would do may be somewhat unattractive. I am often saddened by patients who have abandoned their authentic self for another self for some social or financial gain. I believe we should befriend our authentic self, accept him or her, and spend great effort to nurture that person.

Some people wander far from their authenticity and spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to meet what others think they should or shouldn't be. The expectations of their parents, grandparents, spouses, partners, children, friends, peers, neighbors, and coworkers seem to take precedent over what they personally feel and believe. When people discover that the disguise they put on, to interact with others, grows farther and farther from their authentic self, extreme emotional tension arises out of their unconsciousness. Sometimes panic emerges, sometimes depression surfaces or sometimes both. That constant tension grows and grows only to consume our entire being. If we live unauthentically, our natural self is displaced and our innate desires and passions become repressed.

In my worldview, my attractive female patient wanted permission to return to her more natural authentic self. Somewhere in her maturation process (which is nothing more than reconciling reality with her unconscious projections) she constructed the concept that the ideal woman shouldn't have an insatiable libido, perhaps no libido at all. She has probably lived that construction for many, many years. Something triggered her repressed authentic self to return, but she is not very comfortable with allowing her desires to come back. I am certain that there are a number of schemas that accompany her insatiable desires -- such as habits, fashion, potential sexual partners, social drinking, smoking, perhaps even recreational drug use -- that also concern her in some form or another. I am certain she has a plan. I gave her full encouragement to find her way back.

I told her that insatiable sexual desire is not merely related to biological hormone adjustment, but rather it entails a significant change in how she views herself as herself, and in relationship to and with others. Carl Jung said that women wear their men like jewelry. She should surround herself with an environment that encourages her true authentic self to emerge, and recognize that her physical machine is probably twenty to thirty years older than the machine she had during her youthful authentic self. Even though her non-temporal mind is fresh and excited, her physical structures and anatomical systems have diminished a bit. She should be mindful of her state of physical health and accept its limitations, whatever they are. However, I expect that if she gets this desire back, I fully believe she will push the "physical" envelope to achieve something she did not achieve when she was younger, something that she only fantasized about when she asked me the question.

Good luck and enjoy the experience!

Doc



Posted by Katie Reed at 10:18 AM
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