The Ow Factor


This is it.  This is conclusion of this little project of looking at identifying a person with a low libido and looking at various factors with some serious depth.


This is obviously a companion to an earlier entry about the Eeww Factor.  I’ve seen a writer or two attempt to borrow and sample from that concept and rename it the Ick Factor but this is where the pay off is from that earlier name.  Eeww and Ow are companions that only made the list after it was initially created and posted on iVillage.


The Ow factor is actually from a little entry done a while back by a blogger by the name of FATSO.  Even though he’s pissed at not getting a Thinking Blogger award, perhaps this will meet his need for significance.  I see this as actually a bit bigger since I see the list and its significance enduring longer than the Thinking Blogger award.


So what is the Ow Factor?  Fatso does a good job of introducing the topic and when I saw it I instantly knew I would be adding it to the list.

3. low discomfort threshold. I hate it when someone goes “OW! My leg…Ow…my cervix…OW…my arm is cramped..OW…not so (whatever)” Yes we have to take our lover’s feelings into account. But, shit, do we have to walk on eggshells when you are doing something as delicious as having sex?


Obviously Fatso has some experience with this and so do I.  At the beginning, it seems a bit endearing to be with the delicate flower.  But when it comes to sex and just making out, this complaining and fragility gets old really fast.  And over time, it seems to only get worse.  For instance, in an early encounter a partner may complain about a certain position being painful for some reason.  Okay, that’s fair.  But over time, more positions become painful.  Noises become painful.  Ideas become painful.  Thoughts about things become painful.


It’s amazing how selective this pain can be, though.  For instance, I know of a woman who will think nothing of hiking and climbing all day long.  Perhaps running and jogging half marathons.  But at any given moment in time, she is too tired or too sick for sex. In the beginning a partner will be cajoled into waiting and over time they will find themselves waiting longer and longer for a smaller and smaller malady.


Fragility and poor health can affect the relationship in other ways, for instance when it comes to housework, taking care of the kids or having a job.  Desperate Husband’s situation is an object lesson in what happens when a spouse becomes empowered by their disability and uses it to manipulate.  His wife is too sick to hold a job, take care of the kids or do things around the house.  However she’s not too sick to demand an ever-higher standard of living and to make other demands.


Early on in a relationship, one tends to overlook a lot of things.  The LLs themselves endure more than they will later if the commitment is deepened.  This is why complaints and whining early on should be heeded and taken seriously.  Someone with a minor ailment who uses it as an excuse to avoid sex will likely keep using it over and over and will expand their list of ailments over time.


If the following becomes a major part of your sexual conversation, you’re becoming a slave of the “Ow Factor.”



“Oops, sorry.”

“Ow! Hey!”

Oops!  I’m sorry….how’s that?”

“Better…Ummm…wait….no, that’s still not working.”

“How about now?”

“No….wait….no, try again.”


“Okay.  Yeah, that’s better.”


“Better.  Not too bad.”


And repeat as necessary.  The hallmark of the Ow Factor is centered around some degree discomfort that is seemingly small and gradually becomes more acute.


There is another side to this that is more serious and is definitely more deeply grounded and legitimate than any other single item on this entire list.  Pain during intercourse can be because of lack of lubrication and this can be lessened by lubrication if one can get past the Eeww Factor.  However fibroids and endometriosis can also be sources of pain and these tend to be more serious.


Pain during intercourse can sink a libido faster than anything else and for a longer period of time.  Even if the underlying medical condition is dealt with and treated, the psychological aversions can and do usually remain.


There are obviously some men who are not all that into sex.  It stands to reason that such men would be well suited to women who are similarly inclined.  However, due to the cocktail of hormones nature produces early in a relationship, no one seems to notice or care about the early signs of a low libido.   They naively believe that love can conquer all and that such differences are insignificant.


I’m not saying that LL people are not worthy of being loved.  In fact, I’m saying the opposite.  They deserve to be loved by people who can appreciate the alternative aspects of their personality without the sex being such a huge issue.  Faking interest in something doesn’t serve anyone well over the long run.  If you don’t like onions, why would you pretend to like them in order to marry an onion lover?  This sounds silly but this is exactly what many LL people do all the time.  They pretend to like sex with someone who apparently loves it and then spends the remainder of the commitment making up excuses to avoid it.


Which is why I have a list like this.  A person can have a characteristic or two on the list and still enjoy sex tremendously.  However, if a person has several of these things and seems to have a terribly low pain threshold, I would be cautious.  If they have half or more of these characteristics and you really like sex, you are in for a world of hurt just as you might if you hooked up with someone who hated anything you had a real love for.


I’d say if you hear “OW!” more than once or twice during a particular activity that you really like, you may have to be willing to give it up or give the person up.  The Ow Factor can be a definite indicator that the other person isn’t into what you like.


Since I sometimes deal in kink, I feel like I need to at least mention this.  Other items on the list will deal with kink friendliness and being willing to explore, so obviously this isn’t the same.  However, it can be somewhat of a factor when paired with other factors.  For instance, if the person is a bit shy about trying something new and instantly responds to a new position or activity with “Ow” beyond any reasonable expectation of pain, then there might be an issue.  When you are applying lube and hear an Ow-like response, there could be an issue.


If you are stuck with someone who employs the Ow Factor regularly, a referral to a medical professional may be in order.  This might be difficult if #10 comes into play.  I like the approach of Berman and Berman, whose clinics work on both the physiological and psychological factors at the same time.  It’s unfortunate that such clinics are few and far between as there seems to be a great need. 


Otherwise, some painful times are ahead for each partner regardless of which one is employing the Ow Factor.    




3 Responses to “The Ow Factor”

  1. Desmond Jones Says:

    I had to smile as I read this, Digger. There was a girl I dated once, before I started dating Molly. She was cute, thoughtful, interesting, lots of things I liked, so I asked her out. When I dropped her off, I gave her a hug. Not a massive bear hug, but definitely meant to communicate some affection more than mere ‘politeness’. And she yelled, “OW!” There was no second date with her. Mind you, at that point, I wasn’t thinking about what ‘ow’ might mean in a sexual context, but it did sort of signal that I couldn’t be my natural, exuberant self around her (you did know that my ‘natural self’ was exuberant, right?), and that just didn’t bode well. She married someone else, not too long after Molly and I got married, and they had four kids together, fwiw.

  2. xi summit Says:

    No medical professional necessary here ….. ‘OW’ translates to “STOP IT! NOW!” in Queenie-speak. Every year or so there’s a real “OW!” but most are faked. And yes, I can tell when she fakes hurt for the camera. She’s not a terribly good actress and ‘faking’ (of anything. Sorry, off topic) is not a skill she does at all well.

    And yes, I am trying to teach one of the off-spring that faking the “ow” is not the correct way to stop naturally exhuberant people (um, me) from being just that. A simple “please don’t” will suffice followed by an exhuberant hip-check if that’s not honored. All this to say, the kids learn from the parents. Even the junk.

  3. Eric Says:

    Wow, this is a great series. I’ve only known one HL woman in my entire life, which is incredibly frustrating given that I’m a HL male. My experience has been:

    HL men: > 80% of the population

    HL women: < 0.000000000000001% of the population


    I don't want a Stepford Wife, but damn it would be nice to be with someone who occasionally dressed in lingerie to surprise me or jumped me when I got home.

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