The Everything Guide to the Female Libido

Here we go, the age-old question, what do women really want? In the bedroom, that is. Sexual health varies in every way for men and women and when it comes to their libido, we couldn't be more different. 

For both men and women, sexual arousal usually begins in the brain. This type of arousal is both sexual and emotional. For  both men and women, one of the chief components of sexual arousal is increased blood flow to the genital area causing increased sensitivity and stiffness. 

However for women, when sexual arousal is triggered in the brain, there are a few key differences:

  • Blood flow to the genital area
  • The vagina becomes lubricated with fluid
  • Increased clitoral sensitivity and swelling
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Women and men become aroused in very different ways. For women, much of it stems from the brain or neurotransmitters as opposed to men where blood flow to the penis accounts for much of their arousal. 

The  "big O" is quite different for men and women as well. Although physically similar in that both sexes experience warm, tingly, physical sensations throughout the body, according to science orgasms for men and women differ on many different levels. A study from the University of Chicago, which surveyed 3,342 Americans found that just 29% of women "always experienced an orgasm with their partner" compared to 75% of men.

Men need to understand the full process of how a woman gets turned on. Several studies have analyzed this closely; some differences are subtle and others are on opposite ends of the spectrum. For women, it can take up to 12.4 minutes for them to reach peak arousal, whereas for men it takes about 11.07 minutes, according to a study from McGill University.

Foreplay has long been debated especially when it comes to its duration. A study published in the Journal of Sex Research analyzed 152 heterosexual couples and found that for women and men, 18 minutes was the ideal amount of foreplay time. Research from a 1994 University of Chicago survey found 20% of women think about sex every day and 53% of men. 

Experts in sexual health have been studying human sexuality for a long time and it's becoming less perceived as "fluid" and more intuitive. Study and study has shown that much of our desire is sparked in the brain, rather than physically. 

Common thinking surrounds this idea that men can get turned on pretty quickly and women need longer to reach that point. The important thing for men to remember is that for women foreplay should be treated as a 24-hour experience. Sex centers around context. Women also need to be comfortable to reach peak arousal. Scientists in the Netherlands revealed the key to getting a woman turned on: a deep sense of relaxation and no sign of anxiety. They studied the brain scans of women which showed the parts that process emotions like fear decreased as they became more aroused. This unlocks the notion that the most important thing a women can be is relaxed in order to have an orgasm. 

Another important note is to take your time. Many people rush through the act of love as if it's a race. It's not. It's important for every couple to figure out what works. Every woman is different. Comfort is key.