• Simone Verding Gomes Hansen
  • Cecilie Jensen
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
With a social constructivist and poststructuralist approach this thesis aims to investi-gate the following problem formulation: “Which discourses do women, who experi-ence lack or loss of sexual desire, use to understand the woman’s sexuality, sex, and the woman’s sexual desire? And how are these understandings related to their expe-rienced sexual desire?”.
To examine this, the background for this thesis is contextualized, where a bio-psycho-social understanding of sexuality is provided. Subsequently, the com-plexity of the term “sexual desire” is elucidated, which is connected to how lack or loss of sexual desire is conceptualized as a diagnosis in ICD-10 today. Lastly, a his-torical overview of women’s sexuality and sexual desire from the Antiquity to the late modern society is provided.
A focus group with two informants is conducted to investigate the prob-lem formulation. The informants are women in their 40s and they are recruited through Sexological Center in Aalborg, where they are in treatment for lack or loss of sexual desire. Moreover, both informants are in a relationship with a man.
To analyze the data from this focus group a Foucauldian-informed Dis-course Analysis (FiDA) is employed. Hereof, a discussion within the realm of Fou-cauldian theoretical understanding follows. This analytic discussion of the data is di-vided into three sections related to the three issues of the thesis statement: The woman’s sexuality, sex, and the woman’s sexual desire.
The findings in the first section about women’s sexuality indicate use of the following discourses: 1) The woman’s sexuality is understood in the shadow of the man’s sexuality, 2) The woman’s sexuality as love, devotion, and hesitant, 3) The role of the woman is to be feminine, provide care, maintain a good atmosphere and satisfy the man, 4) The woman has the responsibility for everyday life to work, 5) The woman focuses more on the man than herself, 6) Masturbation is an important tool for the woman’s sexuality, yet shameful 7) The woman cannot express her sexuality, but it would be positive if she did and 8) The woman must be perfect.
In the second section about sex the findings indicate use of the following discourses: 1) Sex as love and the goal for orgasm, 2) Age matters for the
understanding of sex, 3) The man’s orgasm is important, 4) Sex as penetration, 5) Sex is important to the woman and 6) Pleasure is important to the woman.
Finally, the findings in the third section about women’s sexual desire indicate use of the following discourses: 1) The woman experiences sexual desire less often, 2) The woman needs a good atmosphere to experience sexual desire, 3) The woman must want to have sex, 4) The man will leave the woman, if he is not satisfied, 5) You cannot be in a relationship without having sex and 6) The woman can have sex without sexual desire.
In conclusion, many of the identified discourses revolve around the man’s needs, which seems to have consequences on how women, who experience a lack or loss of sexual desire, understand the woman’s sexuality, sex, and the woman’s sexual desire. One consequence that is identified is how productive power in the form of normalization contributes to how the woman may understand herself as broken if she cannot live up to the norms constructed in the abovementioned discourses. The findings, therefore, indicate that the discourses which the woman uses to understand the three issues, lead to a problematization of the woman and her sexual needs. In connection, the findings also indicate how these discourses, and the norms they con-struct, circulate through generations. Lastly, we conclude that the informants also use wider institutional discourses in their meaning-making, which were made available to them at Sexological Center. It seems that these discourses have made the informants realize that some of the discourses they use to understand the woman’s sexuality, sex, and the woman’s sexual desire may be related to their lack or loss of sexual desire. In this way, the findings of this thesis indicate that women, who experience a lack or loss of sexual desire, may discover that they have far more freedom available to move be-yond the normative and absolute understandings of the woman’s sexuality, sex, and the woman's sexual desire, if they consciously relate to the discourses, they use to make meaning of these issues. By breaking free of these normative and absolute un-derstandings, the woman is potentially able to live the sexual life that she desires.
Publication date30 May 2022
Number of pages105
ID: 471675566