#4: Satiation

Okay, I need to start moving this series along because there are other things to write about.  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and take advantage of my blogger space to do just that i.e. write about other things.


But here, today, it’s on to the next post about identifying a LL partner.  Namely #4 on my list:


.4. Low libido people are generally easily and quickly satiated. Read an article below concerning LL from a sensory integration framework for more detail. In a nutshell, after having sex, the LL person will be satisfied for a longer period of time. They get irritated in a major way if they just finished having sex (meaning it was just an hour, a day, a week or even a month ago) and their partner tries to initiate again too soon. For HL folks, the more they have, the more they seem to want.


The central focus of this point is the concept of satiation, and how convenient that FTN just happened to bring it up in a comment on the last post.  In a behavioral context, satiation is a phenomenon that diminishes something’s reinforcing power.  For instance, you might love a certain kind of food.  However, there is a point of consumption where you’ll grow weary of it.  The more satiated a person is, the less likely they are to work for the reinforcer. 


Just like reinforcement, satiation is a highly individual thing.  You may be satiated by one scoop of ice cream.  To me, that’s just a tease.  Give me a spoon and a gallon bucket!


How long satiation lasts is another thing.  My wife went through a period where she was eating baked potatoes at work almost every day for almost a year.  Then, she was suddenly satiated.  And she still is satiated 11 years later; she does not like baked potatoes that much.  I try to cook them and she reminds me of when she ate them every day and now she doesn’t like them anymore.  Fried potatoes on the other hand…who gets tired of them?


Things that have very limited reinforcing properties will have a very low level of satiation.  I can be satiated on lima beans after about 3 bites and I’m good for another year or two.


Sex is one of those things that is subject to satiation just as it can function as a reinforcer.  High Libido (HL) people generally have much higher satiation points.  A Low Libido (LL) person will have a much lower point of satiation. 


And there’s something else that happens with satiation that is interesting; when and how the satiation point changes.  This is important because when two people first meet and get together it might seem like they are well matched, libido-wise.  However, when satiation is eventually reached, something interesting (but disturbing) begins to take place.  The HL person’s satiation point with actually increase and it will take more sex with more stimulation to satiate them.  However for the LL person, their satiation point gets lower as sex becomes less and less reinforcing.  They’ll reach satiation sooner and it will last longer.


When a HL and LL hook up, there will come a time when the HL wants more and the LL wants less as their satiation points diverge.  As I think about this, I now realize the HL can actually make things even worse by pressuring and demanding more from the LL person than they are comfortable with.  That divergence will be accelerated the more the HL pressures and the more the LL person gives in.  Because with every sex act that is unsatisfactory to the LL person, the less they will put into it and the smaller the reward to the HL person in the form of intimacy.  So in truth, the LL person isn’t doing anyone any favors by giving in to HL demands.  By the same token, the HL isn’t serving their own cause by exerting pressure.


So what can be done to increase the satiation point of a LL person?


Going back to my lima beans, there might be some things that make them more reinforcing.  When they are with other vegetables they are less aversive.  If they and those vegetables are stir fried, I’m all over them.


So finding some aspects of sex that are reinforcing to a LL person and sticking close to them will help increase that satiation point.  For instance hand jobs became much more palatable when my wife could watch TV or talk to me while she was doing it.  This may sound like a turn-off to some HL people but that is sauce for the goose.  If I can lower the HL satiation just a bit we’re meeting half way, right?


This dovetails so well into other issues that I’ll discuss elsewhere.  But suffice it to say that HL people are often accused of being insatiable, and after satiation points have diverged between a couple, it can really look like it.


So if someone were in a new relationship, I would encourage a HL to be sensitive and mindful of where their partner is.  If you see a divergence in desire keep on mind that the other person is probably already putting out 2 or 3 levels higher than they want.  They’ll keep putting out for fear of losing a partner or out of guilt.  Who really likes guilt-sex, anyway?  So dialing way back might be the answer.


This makes me think that the Catholics might be on to something with NFP and the various phases.    With always an extended phase of NOT having sex, this might be able to buffer a couple’s libido from diverging as quickly as satiation is less likely to be reached in the first place.





2 Responses to “#4: Satiation”

  1. Flutterby Says:

    This answers something that has long plagued me. About how TH was pretty much a ravenous animal while we dated through the midway point of our first year of marriage. Then… well I guess he hit his satiation point.

    Interesting. Sucks. But Interesting.

  2. Therese Says:

    Ironically, when we are not trying to conceive, we end up having sex more than when we are (if you break it down by the month instead of week). When you know that you only have a short window of time to be together, you make sure you are taking full advantage of it! At least that’s how its been for us.

    So I do think that the phases of NOT having sex actually can be very helpful to promoting a healthy and active sex life. It makes it a lot harder to take physical intimacy for granted.

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