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