OK chaps, here’s ex­actly why we lose in­ter­est in you so fast

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - Liz Jones

IHAVE just had my boyfriend to stay for the week­end, in cel­e­bra­tion of my birth­day. You can imag­ine what he wanted as a present. We hadn’t man­aged it the pre­vi­ous time we met up, on a mini­break in Dart­moor, due to the fact my two bor­der col­lies were per­ma­nently sprawled across what was more of a queen than a king.

This time, he had driven from France ex­pressly for my birth­day week­end. I knew his plan the mo­ment he started to idly stroke my thigh while I was try­ing to watch Victoria. He had bought me a re­ally nice gift, but run­ning through my head were the fol­low­ing caveats:

‘I won­der if Prince Al­bert is more hand­some in real life?’

‘Has my Hol­ly­wood wax lost its shine?’

‘I have to get up early to­mor­row to catch a plane.’

‘I don’t want to tell the col­lies to move over, let alone sleep on the sofa.’

‘I’ve not long eaten Sun­day lunch, so my stom­ach is bloated.’

My ex-hus­band, who was very keen on sex, tried to tell me mak­ing love was not like swim­ming: you can eat be­fore­hand. Which just goes to show how lit­tle even sex ad­dicts know about women.

The rea­son I’m over-shar­ing, as usual, is that new re­search was un­veiled last week by the Na­tional Sur­vey of Sex­ual At­ti­tudes and Life­styles. It told us what we al­ready know, of course: that women who have been with a man for 12 months are four times more likely to show a lack of in­ter­est in sex than those in shorter re­la­tion­ships.

The trend doesn’t seem to ap­ply to men, who main­tain their amorous de­sires what­ever the re­la­tion­ship length.

That last find­ing is also far too true: men never seem both­ered about whether it’s ro­man­tic, in the right set­ting, with the right un­der­wear and mu­sic and light­ing, or even if they are near dead af­ter a long drive.

While on Sun­day night I kept say­ing ‘Oh, you must still be tired, how about some co­coa?’, he merely mum­bled bravely: ‘No. I’ll be OK. I’m happy to just give it a go.’ The most com­mon rea­son for women tun­ing out and turn­ing over so soon was found to be hav­ing chil­dren un­der five (the moth­ers are prob­a­bly think­ing: ‘Oh dear God, I couldn’t stand to have an­other one! I’m not Kate bleed­ing Mid­dle­ton!’), or that they don’t share their part­ner’s sex­ual pref­er­ences.

I would add to the list of li­bido-damp­en­ers the fact that go­ing to bed with a man is like Ground­hog Day: they be­lieve that if it worked once, why change it?

Women are eas­ily dis­cour­aged, too. Our de­sire can de­flate in­stantly, like a souf­fle in Hur­ri­cane Irma.

And I just don’t think men have mas­tered the art of notso-sweet talk. ‘What do you want me to say?’ Just use your imag­i­na­tion!

If he helped more out­side of the bed­room, per­haps we wouldn’t be so tired in­side it; as I once snapped at an ex: ‘If you can’t be at­trac­tive, at least try to be use­ful!’

A few more com­pli­ments wouldn’t go amiss, ei­ther, to stop us feel­ing like wall­pa­per.

NONE of all this mat­ters much for the first year. There is the thrill of the chase, the get­ting dressed up to meet for a drink some­where twinkly and glam­orous. You still have hope that with prac­tice they might im­prove.

Twelve months on, you’re still hop­ing. We may tol­er­ate it when we want some­thing, like a child or a lift to the air­port, just don’t ex­pect us to revel in it.

Yet still our low li­bido is some­how seen as our problem. I re­mem­ber be­ing on a panel with Dy­lan Jones, the ed­i­tor of GQ, and Giles Coren. ‘I haven’t had sex with my hus­band for nine months,’ I wailed. ‘D’ya think he’s miss­ing phys­i­cal con­tact?’

‘He’s hav­ing sex. Just not with you,’ they told me sagely.

You see? Even men hav­ing af­fairs is our fault. But is that enough rea­son to grin and bare it? To stop him stray­ing? I used to be of the mind that af­fairs were be­trayal, the end.

I’m a bit more French these days. Let some other sucker get tied up in knots like a pret­zel. I have sea­son two of The Crown to look for­ward to…

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