From the press, which relentlessly provides recipes to boost his desire and intensify his pleasure, fashionable, which continues to place "desirability" at the top of its values, not to mention the erotic novels for the public, to uninterrupted success, and Online pornography and countless dating sites all seem to indicate an insatiable collective appetite. And yet. The results of an Ipsos poll for Philosophie magazine , "The French and Sexuality" (2013), significantly alter the representation of a haunting and triumphant libido. 70% of respondents disagree with the following statement: "In life, there are no pleasures stronger than those offered by sexuality. 47% think that society in general, and the media in particular, give it an exaggerated importance. Finally, 47% say that sex is a pleasure we can do without. End of fantasy, place to reality.

A normative and anxiety-provoking speech

This reality is not surprising to therapists and sexologists who, for the most part, find social discourse about normative and anxiety-provoking sexuality. "Sexuality is experienced as a sporting event," explains Jean-Marie Sztalryd, a psychoanalyst and former director of the university diploma in the study of human sexuality (Paris-XIII). There is the idea of performance, of success, of the need to go further, to have the right frequency, the right way of doing things. This all goes back to the question of normality, which comes first in patient questioning. Gérard Ribes (1) , a psychiatrist and sexologist, denounces a "counting" sexuality, reduced to genitality and conditioned by performance. "Everything in our culture and our consumer society refers to an instinctual sexuality in which the vast majority of men and women are not found. It is therefore not surprising that this activity is perceived as anxiety and therefore provider of lesser pleasures. "

According to the psychoanalyst Sophie Cadalen , sexual pleasure conditioned on a standardized know-how would be a pleasure under control. "Questioning normality - do I have the right frequency, the right skills? - amounts to claiming a user manual, itself a source of anxiety and frustration. In the end, that makes us the actors of our submission. Such a posture is obviously the opposite of sexual freedom, the opposite of a personalized sexuality and therefore fully satisfactory. This is how couples and individuals come to worry about an alleged decline in their desire, not to be connected to SM or swinging, or to model their antics on those of sex workers. And end up considering the latter as a pleasure we can do without (it is also not part of the needs identified in the pyramid of Maslow).

When asked if sex has become an overvalued activity, a very accessory accessory in our lives, Mireille Dubois-Chevalier, doctor and sexologist, begins by questioning the term itself. "What does sex really mean? If it is conceived solely as a genital encounter, a copulation because it has to be socially necessary or because it must satisfy the other, then, yes, it is obvious, we can do without it and find more pleasure in a good meal or in sleep. On the other hand, if we consider sex as an encounter that really engages the being in its desire, and in which this desire is transformed into physical and emotional pleasure, then it seems difficult to do without it. Simply because the jouissance felt is such that it is an encouragement to start again. "

1. Gérard Ribes is a research professor at Lyon-II University, and author of Sexualité et Aging (Social Chronicle).