When’s the last time you let your body tell you about sex?

Last Wednesday I was just sitting on my couch playing some Witcher 3 and suddenly it hit me: I was hella horny.

It’s not like killing imaginary creatures and running around medieval cities trying to find someone who’ll buy my weapons and armour overstock is erotic. It is definitely not. (Geralt is hot but also fictional, so… not that either.) So what the hell was happening?

We know that the most important sex organ is the brain. This is where things like fantasies and self-esteem and memories and experiences live. If the brain is off, it can be hard to have a satisfying sex life–at least for women.

I’m not sure if I’ve written about desire concordance before. It’s the name scientists give to how well our mental and physical responses to sexual images fit together. Straight women tend to have low concordance: physical arousal does not necessarily mean mental arousal, and often women are physically aroused by things they don’t intellectually find sexy. In straight men, these two things tend to happen together. They find whatever arouses them physically sexy, and vice versa.

My experience and the experiences of other women I know say that our brains need to be engaged to be physically aroused. We need to be “into it”. But sometimes–and that was me last Wednesday–our bodies are driving the train, and our brains are just along for the ride.

So there I was killing some monster or other, and I get a puff of arousal. No reason. I wanted sex. Right fucking now. I text E., wondering if he’s busy. He says he can drop by in a few hours. I check my cycle calendar: yup, ovulating.

I know I would easily find some research that shows that, for women who are not on hormonal birth control, ovulation matches a peak of arousal. In fact, I saw some research recently (haven’t read it yet) that argues that it’s easy to find out arousal cycles for both men and women. For me, it’s more obvious some months than others. December was not very conducive to sexiness; Wednesday hit me with a delightful punch in the vagina.

As a sex writer I spend a lot of time thinking about how our thoughts and beliefs have an effect on our sex lives. But we spend relatively little time considering how our bodies can be an unexpected source of pleasure, even when we don’t specifically stimulate them. It’s the Cartesian split: mind is better than matter, therefore whatever is of the body is of lesser quality, of lesser value.

But we know nothing if not for our bodies. Our mind does not exist in a vacuum: it needs input from the senses, from the body, to know things. That gut feeling that warns you of incoming danger. The sound of a voice telling you a story, or the shape of the words you see on the page. The smell of your favourite meal. The feeling of your lover’s skin under your hands.

And sometimes, yes, an overwhelming desire to fuck that comes not from the mind but from the body itself, an instinct built into us from the very beginnings of life. We can shape this desire, mold it to human customs and tamper it with morals and hormones and courtship rituals, but in the end sex is with and of the body.

Most of the time, your brain is driving your sex life. That’s true. But sometimes it’s nice to let your brain take a break and let the physical auto-pilot take you into unexpected places.

Good advice? Helpful information? Thank me with a coffee!