Holly Richmond

There’s No Such Thing As a “Normal” Libido

By February 12, 2018 No Comments


When it comes to sex, there’s no such thing as “normal.” Whether we’re talking about kinks, orientation, or desire, what counts as typical varies from person to person and relationship to relationship. And no one should ever tell you how often you want sex is wrong.

That’s what makes this so-called “definitive libido quiz” originally published by Balance Magazine and picked up by the Daily Mail problematic. It gives the impression that if your sex drive doesn’t meet a certain universal standard, there’s something wrong with it. “Quizzes can be fun and give a little insight but shouldn’t define how you see yourself or your libido,” sex therapist Holly Richmond tells Allure.

The Balance quiz asks questions from how much produce you eat to how long it takes you to orgasm, but suspiciously neglects to ask if you are personally satisfied with your levels of sexual desire. Reminder: Fruit is delicious and orgasms rock, but regardless of how many apples you eat or how long it takes you to come, a “normal” libido is the one that both comes naturally to you and makes you feel good.

Trying to fit sex drive into a one-size-fits-all box is also dangerous in that it erases orientations such as asexuality. “Asexuals have no libido, and demisexuals have a tiny bit of libido. It’s all a spectrum,” Richmond explains. Furthermore, promoting the idea of a single optimal libido plays into old-fashioned ways of thinking that encourage sexual insecurities. Feeling like you don’t measure up to your peers — whether that means feeling like your libido is too high or too low — is a surefire way to suck satisfaction out of your sex life.

Sex drive not only varies from person to person but ebbs and flows throughout your life depending on a variety of factors. “Libido is so situational,” Richmond says. It’s completely normal to want to have sex multiple times a day at times, such as when you’re in a new relationship or when you’re on a relaxing vacation with your partner.

If you’re recovering from trauma, on antidepressants or another medication that affects libido, or dealing with high stress, it’s also totally normal not to be that into sex. You’re not weird if after three rounds you still want more, you’re not weird if you’re not interested in sex, and you’re not weird if you fluctuate between the two over time. If your libido is getting in the way of your happiness or distracting you from living your life, it’s never a bad idea to seek the counsel of a skilled therapist. In the meantime, remember that a “normal” libido is the one that makes you comfortable — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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