Sex is natural, generally, and many people feel that sex is, indeed, fun (the specific circumstances under which it is best are for another day). “Fun,” however, isn’t the same as “always top priority for everybody.”

This isn’t a problem per se. Unless it is; in other words, when there’s a woman involved. Researchers are working feverishly on treatment for female sexual dysfunction. Progress is said to be slow because the condition is so complex.

Of course, to simultaneously affect 12% of the female population and 44% of the female population, it would have to be.

The 44% is the number of women with “low desire.” The 12% is the number of women bothered by low desire. Since “low” is obvously subjective, normally you would expect a “low libido” to be so low as to bother the person with this condition, but evidently not always. There’s a brass libido in a lab somewhere that all sex drives are measured against, I suppose.

An interesting thing about this is that when a woman is less interested in sex than her male partner, she’s considered to be the one with the problem, but when a man is less interested in sex than his female partner . . . she’s still the one with the problem, as in the demeaning term “nymphomaniac” (Carol Groneman‘s excellent book Nymphomania details the horrors visited on women in the name of “diagnosing” and “treating” a sex drive) and jokes about new brides and all. I can’t help but wonder what happens with mismatched same-sex couples, when one partner can’t whine about the other being all female and stuff.

What I suspect happens is they either work it out or split up, helped by the lack of any sort of expectation that one partner, and only she, needs to make whatever changes are necessary. That’s because it turns out “normal” actually covers quite a wide range, and it’s possible for two normal people to be hideously mismatched, and then each meets a normal person with whom he or she is quite well matched.

Like with any other emotional, a sex drive at or near one end or the other of the bell curve is only a problem if, well, it’s a problem. Being different from one’s partner is no reason to take a pill.