Adversity and desire.

It happens all the time. A tearful, distraught woman sits down and informs us that:

Her husband is leaving her/has left her.

Her husband is having/was having an affair.

She believes this is due to the fact that they haven’t had sex in (you fill in the blank: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 11 years.)

The funny thing, she’ll say, is that her sex drive (the lack of which caused all the problems) has miraculously re-emerged. Now, on top of every other painful emotion she is experiencing (abandonment, anger, betrayal, sadness, fury) she feels crazy and distorted.

Now my sex drive is working????? Am I crazy?

No. You’re not crazy. Not only are you not crazy, but nearly every other woman we’ve seen in the same situation feels similarly. (A variation of the theme is that after their first appointment with us, their sex drive comes back and they think we are genius miracle workers.)

Okay. So now you (the reader) are probably saying something like: “Yea. We all want what we can’t have.” Or “it’s the competition thing going.” Well, that’s probably right, but it doesn’t actually explain anything nor does it account for such a sudden and extreme shift in what these women feel as a physical reality. Some of them are getting wet for the first time in years and having orgasms easily when they couldn’t before.

Helen Fisher (noted sociologist) wrote in “Why we Love”, “As adversity [in relationships] intensifies, so does romantic passion. This phenomenon is so common in literature and in life that I coined a term for it: ‘frustration attraction.’” She then goes on to explain how when we suffer a disappointment or a delay in reward, the dopamine procuring neurons in our brains prolong their activities- increasing brain levels of the natural stimulant “ And very high levels of dopamine are associated with intense motivation and goal directed behavior” — and I will add here, arousal and orgasm.

So here we have it yet again. Is it something physical or psychological? I don’t really know the answer. I only know that the two are becoming more and more intrinsically linked in the way we practice here at the Center and I only wish we knew more.