Our desire to appear desirable exceeds desire itself.

Bella Ellwood-Clayton, cited by Anne Kingston in The female libido and ‘the two-year itch’

Ellwood-Clayton’s argument (from Sex Drive: In Pursuit Of Female Desire) is that women exert a great deal of effort to be desirable: British women spend over £3000 each year on beauty products and treatments, and over 3 hours per week putting on make-up.

Her argument is this:

Sex is far better for women when they feel sexy. Herein lies the rub: modern-day women rarely feel sexy. Far too much stands in the way. And often what turns women on and off is… themselves. Feeling good about the way we look is the best foreplay of all – but rather than seek lust in someone else’s eyes, we seek it in the mirror.


Women are more critical of their appearance than men are of their, and most women in Western cultures are dissatisfied with their bodies, which affects their sense of self and sexual identity.


Significantly, when asked how make-up made them feel, 73 per cent said it made them feel sexier and more flirtatious.


Rather than having sex, women simply want to look like they are having sex. Our desire to appear desirable exceeds desire itself.


Our animal instincts have become inverted: time devoted to preening overrides time devoted to mating and sexual pleasure.

There’s something going on there.

(h/t kateopolis)

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