Warning: Mature content

I used to have a boyfriend who loved to kiss.

On weekends, we'd curl up on his leather sofa and make out while half-watching tacky noughties rom-coms.

We didn't undress, or touch one another's bodies, but it was super hot.


As I grew older and had other partners, I learned most men weren't particularly fond of kissing, at least not beyond the initial courtship phase.

Sex routinely felt like a vacant exchange, and I acquiesced to trading it for monogamy, along with my forfeited orgasms.

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It never occurred to me to examine where my desire had gone – something that had ignited as effortlessly as a fresh match, only to disappear in smoke years later.

Perhaps, I thought, I'd lost it.

In truth, female desire is far more complex than something that can be misplaced or simply go astray. And therein lies the issue with how we've been treating it.

Since researchers Masters and Johnson broke ground in the field of human sexuality – monitoring subjects having sex in their labs in the 1960s and seventies – our understanding of female desire has remained largely unchallenged. That understanding is that women's sexual responses function much like men's.

However, new science suggests, not only have we been veering down the wrong path all along – we've been navigating with a broken compass.


Modern images of male and female pelvic innervation (that's the nerve network around our genitals) show just how striking the difference between the male and female arousal processes is.

While the nerve structure around the penis presents as a straightforward, linear grid running up and down; in contrast, the network in and around the vagina resembles a web so densely tangled, it'd give Spiderman a run for his money.

That's not to say women are innately difficult to please. On the contrary, we have multiple hot spots studded throughout that matrix of nerves, capable of delivering an orgasm.

The two you're most likely already familiar with, are the clitoris and the G-spot, but also included, are sections of the vaginal walls, the perineum, anus and cervix.

And in case you hadn't already figured this out, yes, it's slightly different for every woman. (Think of our vaginas like fingerprints; similar, but no two are exactly alike.)

New research may be the key to unlocking the complexity of the female sex drive, says Nadia Bokody. Photo / Supplied
New research may be the key to unlocking the complexity of the female sex drive, says Nadia Bokody. Photo / Supplied

What is the same in most women, however, is something scientists have referred to as a "sensory arm" in the female pelvis, and it's one of the biggest breakthroughs in the study of female desire in the past decade. That "arm" is the interconnected system between the clitoris and G-spot, two areas we've long assumed were completely separate.

This one detail is a game-changer.

The clitoral-G-spot connection is so powerful, when both areas are stimulated simultaneously, most women can achieve extremely reliable orgasms.

Perhaps the greatest discovery in our understanding of female desire though, is what author and academic Naomi Wolf calls the "brain-vagina-loop". In layman's terms, we now know our vaginas directly influence our brains, and vice versa.

This means if you're a man looking to get laid tonight, you should do a few things to lower your partner's stress levels. Dim lighting, soft music, massage and laughing are all proven cortisol antagonists, hugely beneficial for putting a woman in a state where arousal is possible.

Likewise, texting her sexy messages throughout the day about how hot she looked leaving the house this morning, instead of asking her to pick up toilet paper on the way home, will greatly increase your chances of getting some action.

There's something else these things achieve, too. They create anticipation, perhaps one of the most overlooked pieces in the puzzle of female desire.

No one's going to argue the Fifty Shades Of Grey series was a work of sophisticated literature. And yet, despite its tawdry writing, the books sold out worldwide. One of the best explanations for the Fifty Shades phenomenon, is the fact the story centres around creating almost unbearable amounts of anticipation in the lead-up to various sexual encounters between the protagonists.

Whether E.L. James was cognisant of it, this technique works by appealing to that "brain-vagina loop" Wolf argues holds the key to unlocking desire in women. When you build suspense though sexting, subtle intermittent touch, foreplay, and mood-setting devices like candlelight and romantic music, you're essentially code-breaking that circuit.

In fact, few things are as effective at activating a woman's sexual response system than treating your relationship like you're back in high school, when extended kissing and fondling were king.

Which may explain why my high school boyfriend was able to trigger so much lust in me every time we had one of our sexually frustrated teen makeout sessions on his couch.