There have been times in my life when I have been absolutely astounded by the male sex drive. I was awestruck a couple of months after the birth of our first daughter when Mike attempted to have sex with me. My leaky boobs, matted hair, stooped shoulders, hairy legs, stained bathrobe and – I am pretty sure – stinky breath did not deter him.
(Needless to say, Mike was shot down). He still wanted to have sex and I couldn’t have cared less about it.
Is Mother Nature playing some kind of mean-spirited trick on us? Wouldn’t it be better if men and women had the same sex drives throughout life? Well, apparently there is a good reason for the post-baby disconnect: it’s the small matter of the propagation of the human race. Biology sets us up as mirror images of each other, as polar opposites, to promote the continuation of the species (he wants to spread his seed), and to maximize the survival of our existing offspring (she focuses on the baby). Men’s bodies and daily lives are not affected by the arrival of children the way women’s are. They proliferate their genes through sex. Women, alternatively, are compelled by nature to nurture their young to the exclusion of all else. We ensure our genetic heritage by caring for our offspring. Robert Wright summarizes this idea in his bestseller “The Moral Animal”.
When you consider that our behaviors are ultimately derived from millions of years of evolutionary biology, it does take some of the pressure off, doesn’t it? So we can all relax. The root of the conflict lies in our two competing biological drives. Our modern-day frustrations (known in scientific circles as the Hound-Dog/Ice-Queen Vortex) are, more than we will ever know, hardwired.