Dear Rabbi Lapin and Susan,
I was talking to a friend the other day and he made the statement, “When I meet God, I’m going to ask him why he created men and women with such different sex drives.”
I immediately thought of forwarding the question to you. Please let me know what ancient Jewish wisdom has to say on the subject.
While he’s at it, could your friend find out why God created men and women with different emotional needs? Oh, yes, and perhaps also why the average man is taller and hairier than the average woman? Or, for that matter, why people in general have such different natures, personalities, yearnings and talents.
You might have seen, read or heard us teach this paramount principle of ancient Jewish wisdom—every physical detail of our construction reflects a spiritual equivalent.
For instance, God placed male organs externally visible while those of women are largely concealed from view. This reflects the reality that men are largely characterized by unconcealed and aggressive acquisitiveness for both women and property. Women, on the other hand, are far more modest in pursuing men and money. I point out that no men’s clothing catalog contains the word ‘modesty’ whereas women’s fashion advertisements frequently highlight something called a ‘modesty panel’ or features like ‘lined for modesty’. These are impenetrable mysteries to men.
Hence, man’s sex drive is merely the expression of this reality in one direction whereas financial ambition is the equivalent expression of it in the other.
Here is one of the paradoxes of life. Each one of us is a unique creation. Each of us is unlike any other human being who has lived, is living or will live in the future. That is part of what being created in the image of a unique God means.
At the same time, we are part of larger groups and as such will most likely share certain tendencies with those of the same gender as us. So, while some women have a stronger sex drive than their husbands, the number of couples for whom that is true is minuscule compared to the other way around. The only percentage that is probably smaller is that of couples who are absolutely matched in this area.
That is the answer. God wants us to form and cherish relationships that force us out of self-absorption. It is ever so much harder to treat someone who is different from me with respect and love than it is to behave well to someone who validates everything about me.
This, by the way, is one of the seductive allures of homosexuality. Matched sex drives means living with someone who never ever says, “Not tonight darling, I have a headache”. We understand the temptation. But God wants to challenge us out of our self-absorption.
While this is true for all sorts of relationships, by highlighting and elevating marriage above all other forms of human interaction, God is prodding us to the greatest growth we can know. This is only enhanced when we forced to grow even more when we are blessed with children.
So, while we assume your friend’s comment was wry rather than theological (and we recommend getting him Madam, I’m Adam: Decoding the Marriage Secrets of Eden for his next birthday), it is in no way an unimportant acknowledgment of how the world really works.
Hope this gives the two of you an interesting conversation,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
14 thoughts on “Differing Sex Drives”
I am not sure I am at the right place; on the podcast the other day you mentioned the death tax; I thought PRESIDENT TRUMP has discontinued this. Do you know if he has??
Everybody needs a Rabbi……and his insightful wife. Yes indeed. First of all, I see this as a question I never had the courage to ask. Maybe because in my circle of life, I really had no one to ask. Nevertheless, I love your thoughts, comments, your answer. Karen Jones’ thoughts are great too. I learned something today. But then I always do. Keep teaching How The World Really Works. God bless you in your Finances, your Friendships, your Family, and of course your Faith.
PS How can I update my photo?
Ancient Jewish wisdom says that he who fears to ask a question can never learn. Happily you are well past that point. Your final sentence identifies you as another cherished podcast listener.
What you write here makes perfect sense about a couple with different desire levels , but , I wish your wife Susan had written it so I wouldn’t feel weird about asking about this . I have noticed that the Church seems to insinuate or outright say that women are indifferent to sex , or are only participating for the cuddling, or put up with it because they feel they have to .. I personally always really liked sex , and after I got older asked friends, relatives , and other church ladies , and the majority say they really like sex a lot too , and none of this , “just for cuddle”s or “obligation” stuff . I have never read in the Bible anything about women not having much of a sexual desire , although it is true that naturally women are usually looking for LOVE first , even if they give sex first, it is with the hope love will be forthcoming . I have sat thru a whole Bible study explaining that women have hardly any desire , and that the husband needs to “romantically date” his wife each time he wants sex ( they used Song Of Solomon as an example ) and I just did not see that as an example at all . My Mother said she liked it , My Grandmother who was born 120 years ago said she liked it . Is this idea that women don’t like sex a ” man made” story and not Biblical , because the only place I have seen desires mentioned is in the New Testament where husband and wife are told not to deprive each other of sex ???
Hi Karen – we wrote this together, so I did write this answer. I don’t want to diminish what you are saying by responding in a short and quick reply but that is all I have available right now. In short, we didn’t mean to imply that women don’t, shouldn’t or can’t enjoy sex. Both genders were created with a sexual drive. But, as you yourself point out, sex and love or affection are more intertwined with women whereas with men it can more easily be a drive in and of itself. The desire peaks at different ages for men and women as well. Also, women’s desire is affected by normal hormonal fluctuations (and often exacerbated by pregnancy and nursing) while men’s desire is more of a constant. So two genders with desire but not similar desires. Does that make sense?
Thank you ! yes I see what you mean more clearly now .
Thanks for letting us know.
I noticed that both you and Rabbi Lapin use the word gender instead of sex. I’m a lifelong listener to Dennis Prager, with whom I know you’re familiar, and he has also adopted this new “progressive” switch. I know y’all believe sex is fixed so why buy into this new left wing term? With great respect.
There are two reasons I might write ‘gender’ rather than ‘sex’. One is when I explicitly refer to a non-erotic aspect of male female distinctions and the other is when I fear that people’s servers are set to reject email that has certain trigger words, ‘sex’ among them.
Auto correct had done it again. With horror I saw some spelling errors, to include calling Rabbi Lapin, Rabbi Latin! Could you please correct all errors before posting? Thank you.
Rabbi Daniel Latin
RDL, this makes sense, however, my wife says she’s certain that she has heard you use this on the podcast when obviously there are no server filters involved, and it’s not being used in a non- erotic context.
I listen to way more audio than my wife and can definitely attest to Conservative speakers using “gender” in place of “sex”. Do you have thoughts on this? Back to you.
Brad, I know that sometimes we try to use other words so that our e-mails won’t be filtered out and not reach people.
I vigorously oppose yielding to political correctness which is nothing but cultural bullying. I make no concessions to feminism for instance which as a political philosophy is a creation of the left and intensely destructive of society which needs marriage and family to endure. When Susan or I use the word ‘gender’ it is seldom for political reasons far more likely for syntactical or rhythm issues where I need a two syllable word rather then a monosyllabic one like ‘sex.’
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