As You Desire: Sex in Overdrive – or Can’t Find the Keys?

Did you know that sexual satisfaction has a stronger link to perceived “relationship quality” for men than it does for women?

From The Kinsey Institute:

Fact One: Sexual dissatisfaction is associated with increased risk of divorce and relationship dissolution. (Karney, 1995)

Fact Two: Across all ages, couples who reported higher levels of marital satisfaction also reported higher frequencies of sex. (Call, 1995).

Are you getting too little, too much or just the right amount of S-E-X?  That is the million dollar question today.  We’ve all heard the jokes about the infrequency of after-marriage sex.  More often than not, jokes represent reality.

In an informal poll I have been conducting for the past 5 years, I would venture to say that men, by far, say they are not getting enough sex.  Women say they range between just enough and too much.  What is going on here?  You would think that nature would have done a better job of matching us up sexually.  Or did she do just fine and we have messed it up with hormones and stress and too many preoccupations with things other than sex?  I ponder this often.  Check the pulse on your relationship.  Where do you stand?  Equally or unequally sexually satisfied?

Based on fact one, we seriously need to address this in our relationships.  If men are complaining about not getting enough sex, what are women doing to help them out?  There are exceptions to this rule, so if you are a man reading this and your woman is telling you she is not satisfied, please listen carefully!  We are sexual beings.  Enjoying sexual time is a natural, normal desire.  Sex has so many benefits!  It connects us, feels good, boosts our immune system and self esteem, stimulates our cardiovascular system, improves intimacy, reduces pain, reduces the risk of prostate cancer, strengthens pelvic floor muscles and helps you sleep better … plus it’s super fun.  If you are not having any fun, we need to talk.  If you are having a great time (like “ET” in my last column certainly is), then send me your fun stories that might inspire others to hit the sheets.

Obviously there are many physiological, mental, emotional and spiritual reasons for not wanting to have sex.  I’ve heard the stories.  And with those reasons (aka excuses) comes a sense of failure and defeat that only fuels the sexual relationship death.  There are ways to keep some sensual and sexual energy going in most situations.  I understand that life happens.  But in the midst of that life we can carve out some time to enjoy each other in the most intimate ways.  For some it might be as lovely as a back or foot massage, knowing you are bringing pleasure to your partner.  Sometimes it might mean you need to get creative to sexually satisfy your partner even though you are not in need.  It can be a loving and pleasing act, knowing you are meeting your partner’s needs.  Think about the other areas we are more inclined to offer this act of love; We might watch football or boxing because it is important to our partner and in turn they might sit through Oprah with us.  We are partners, on the same team, each other’s safe place, remember?  It is not demeaning to take care of each other sexually or any other way we need.  So what is the hold up?  Why are so many of you dissatisfied?

Ironically, stress is one of the biggest reasons for declining sex drive in both men and women.  I say ironic because we know that sex decreases stress and increases feelings of intimacy, which in turn decreases stress.  Recognizing that sex has benefits to our life span as well as our relationship longevity might help us make healthier choices.  Once we get out of the habit of making sex a priority it’s way too easy to let other things fill in that time and use up that energy.  A great way to reawaken your sexuality is to take some time together: A weekend getaway or even just one night away from home.  Personally, I really like hotel sex.  Why?  Because there are no distractions.  No kids, dishes, laundry, computers, etc.  It’s just the two of you focused on each other.  I would bet when you have taken that kind of time you found yourself thinking, “Why don’t we do this more often?  This feels so good!”  So don’t wait another day!  Make that reservation today and get back on track.

The other common reason for a shift in sexual desire is the tiny, powerful little messengers known as hormones.  Our bodies are so confused these days.  Between the use of synthetic hormones (we have been taking birth control pills since 1960) and hormones in our foods, we have been inundated for many years now.  We are seeing the results with increases in hormone-dependent cancers, along with an epidemic of hormone imbalances.  Hormones create much of the sexual drive we enjoy; primarily the hormone testosterone.  Women and men both make testosterone.  With a 50-year history of birth control pills we have learned they can contribute to long-term sexual dysfunction in some women.  The January 2006 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine cites that oral contraceptives lower the level of functional testosterone, even after they have stopped taking “the pill.”  These low levels can lead to decreased desire, arousal and lubrication and increased sexual pain.  As we age, our hormones decline, creating a loss of cellular function and vital life energies.  We are living longer and yet our hormones have not caught up to this new longevity.  I highly recommend for those who have a decreased sex drive to seek out a reputable sex hormone specialist and learn what your functioning hormone levels are. There are many options now available and I will be writing more about this in another column soon.  I have spent more than 20 years studying and working hard to understand our hormone balancing systems. If you are curious, send me your questions and concerns and I will address them for you.

Are you sexually challenged? If you are not satisfied with your sexual life, have you looked at your willingness (or unwillingness) to really hear the needs of your lover?  I know a lot of women who are not interested in the “slam, bam, thank you, Ma’am” approach to sex.  If this describes YOU and your partner has slowly turned away sexually, you might want to amp up the sexual creativity and find ways to seduce and please HER first!  The man who gets aroused by his partner’s excitement is a man who is going to get lucky a lot more often.

Just understanding the reasons for decreased sexual desire does not get us off the hook.  We must address it and find a way to manage it.  In reference to FACT #2: Across all ages, couples who reported higher levels of marital satisfaction also reported higher frequencies of sex. If your partner is asking to have more intimate sexual time with you and you are not willing to find a way to meet those needs, what message does that send?  Here are just a few examples of what your partner hears you saying: “You are not that important to me,” “Your needs don’t really matter,” “My lack of desire trumps your level of desire.”

Which is the more reasonable request: ask your partner to suppress hormonal urges and physical needs or ask him or her to create a scenario where intimate sexual time can be provided?  The number of couples who have not had sex in years is staggering.  Those couples become roommates.  They love each other, feel committed to each other and have a seemingly wonderful life together.  That can work, if both people feel the same way and have the same sexual needs.  Each partnership gets to design life the way that works for them.  When you are in a loving partnership, it needs to be win-win.  And I can promise you that if one of the partners is not feeling satisfied with the arrangement he or she will eventually seek satisfaction elsewhere.  Come back in two weeks to read all about infidelity.  Is it inevitable?  Can we prevent it?  Who is doing the cheating and why? Can you recover from or even thrive because of an indiscretion?

I’d love to hear from you. Please send personal stories or serious questions and concerns directly to my email,  I will answer them privately if you wish or, with your permission, use them in future columns.

In the meantime, look your lovers in the eyes and ask them to tell you their desires. It will make for some stimulating conversation, to say the least.

Intimately Yours,


Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

9 Responses

  1. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    Sex? Sex? My wife is going thru menopause so once a month or two is fine for her. I want it a couple times a week, so that means once a month if she feels like it. I try all the different things to help get her in the mood, but doing all the housework on a Saturday does the most.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Thank you for reading the column and for having the courage to write in, GJ.
      Going through menopause has historically been viewed as a time we lose our desire for a lot of things. I'm here to tell your wife it doesn't have to be so. Along with loss of sex drive a woman can also lose her memory, her feeling of vitality and zest for life in general. Sleep becomes disturbed and her body feels as though it's been inhabited by a stranger. This doesn't have to be so. If she is interested to learn more please have her email me directly at and I can offer her comfort and more importantly direction back to find herself.

      In the meantime your patience and understanding are a precious gift to her. And doing those household chores on Saturday NEVER HURTS A THING!!!
      Stay sexy and please keep reading!

  2. Avatar Barbara Stone says:

    I agree that hotel or vacation sex is the best! It helps me to get out of our usual environment, relax, and not have anything to worry about.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      I thought at one point it would be fun to decorate our bedroom like a hotel room… That thought was fleeting. But the concept was a good one!
      Thanks for sharing… 😉
      Stay Sexy and make those reservations every now and then Barbara!

  3. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    I say let him watch the football, I will watch my stuff alone and the time we spend together in bed will be even better!

    Thanks for all the info.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Ann,
      Yes having that "veg out time" is critical for many to really unwind. What ever it takes to relax and feel rested. Just don't wait too long to get to the bed… Tired AND relaxed are not necessarily a good combo for a hot toss in the hay.


  4. Avatar scott says:

    I am lucky to have a partner that may not be as interested in sex as often as I am, but goes out of her way to make me happy. I think that she is smart enough to know that if I am happy, then it is easier for me to go about doing things for her as well (win/win situation).

    The info on "the pill" and hormones was really interesting.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      You are indeed a lucky man. Finding what works for each person is critical in making a relationship successful. No matter what it takes, when both people are happy it's a good day!

  5. Avatar Bill says:

    My wife divorced me in 2006, the day after I returned home from overseas(military). She had an affair, developed "feelings" for the guy and he dumped her as soon as I got home. We were married five years and nine months. When we were married, she never liked to go out dancing or anything that involved going to a bar or nightclub. However, while I was away and all during our separation, all she did was go out "clubbing", getting drunk and have sex with multiple partners. Most of her friends were and are 15-20 years younger than her( she's 38 now). Well, she now lives with a man who she moved in with just over a year after she left me (they bought a house together). I admit that I still have the wedding dress she left behind and all the cards and letters and photos that I was able to save from the trash. Nancy, I just want to know why. Why?! What makes a person go through such a drastic change? I believe a woman has a right to be her own person and have total control of her own life and happiness. She told me she felt "smothered." I asked her why she never wanted to do things with me in the past and she said she didn't want to discuss that. I was left with lots of questions and no answers. Do you have any input that may shed some light on this story?