Bombshell: Many women feel "neutral" during sex

But what if desire does not precede arousal?

That’s what University of British Columbia psychiatrist Rosemary Basson, M.D., discovered in interviews with hundreds of women. Contrary to the conventional model, for many women, desire is not the cause of lovemaking, but rather, its result. “Women,” Basson explains, “often begin sexual experiences feeling sexually neutral.” But as things heat up, so do they, and they eventually experience desire…

If so many women don’t experience male-style desire before sex, then why do they make love? According to Basson, for reasons that affirm their relationships but are not inherently sexual, wanting to please their lover, feel intimate, prevent strife, or make up after it. Basson’s model supports an old saying about the difference between men and women: Men become intimate to have sex. Women have sex to become intimate.

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