from the world's big
The periodic table also is a map – well, kind of
Can't memorize all those elements? If you're more into geography, perhaps this will help.
- Twenty-eight of the 118 elements on the periodic table were named after places on the map.
- Tennessee, California, and two towns in the Golden State got their own elements.
- But nobody beats Ytterby, a small Swedish town that gave its name to four different elements.
A colorised picture of Marie Curie (seated) and her daughter Irène, doing lab work. Marie discovered element 84 in 1898 and named it polonium, after her homeland, then under triple occupation.
Image: public domain, CC BY-SA 4.0
I made it through high school with barely a glance at the periodic table. Chemistry – urgh. I preferred geography, obviously. However, had I known that so many elements are named after places on the map, perhaps I wouldn't have had such a hard time of it. Here are all those elements, united in one map/table. Only a few decades late!
But first, a quick necessary brush-up for fellow periodic table-illiterates:
Periodic table manners
All 118 elements of the periodic table, arranged in seven periods (horizontal) and 18 groups (vertical). Those two rows at the bottom fit into the dark and light green squares in the third group.
- The periodic table arranges all known chemical elements in seven rows (called periods) and 18 columns (called groups).
- Elements in the same period have consecutive atomic numbers. That number indicates the number of protons in each element's nucleus. Top left is hydrogen, with the lowest atomic number (1). Bottom right is oganesson, with the highest (118).
- Elements in the same group have similar chemical properties. Metals (about 75 percent of the total) are on the left, non-metals are on the right. Group 12 are the volatile metals, group 18 the noble gases, for example.
- The periodic table was first published by Dmitri Mendeleyev in 1869. It left blank spaces for as-yet undiscovered elements, with properties predicted by their place on the table. These include gallium and germanium.
- About 90 elements are found in nature. The others are artificial. Oganesson, first synthesised in 2002, is the most recent one. It is the only element named after a person who is still alive: the nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian.
A map of the elements
All of the elements named after places. France was used twice, but the crown goes to Ytterby, a small town in Sweden that gave its name to no less than four elements.
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
In all, 16 of the 118 elements were named after persons, about a dozen after mythological creatures, most after some property of the element (dysprosium, atomic number 66, simply means 'hard to get at'), and 29 after places – including four elements named after the same town in Sweden.
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
Magnesium (atomic number: 12) and manganese (25)
Both magnesium (Mg) and manganese (Mn) are named after the Greek region of Magnesia, where they were mined for their alchemical qualities. The region also gave its name to 'magnet', which originally means "stone from Magnesia". Modern uses of magnesium include making lightweight alloys, and brightening the flash of fireworks. Manganese is used to strengthen steel.
Scandium (Sc) is named after Scandinavia, by way of its Latin name, Scandium. Its existence was predicted by Mendeleyev, who called it eka-boron. Scandium's main practical use is as a component of Mercury-vapor lamps, used to light stadiums.
Gallium (Ga) was discovered in 1875 by the French chemist Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran. He named it after Gaul, an ancient and poetic term for France; but possibly also after himself, as his last name 'le coq' ('rooster') translates into Latin as 'gallus'. Gallium has been used to stabilise the crystal structure in nuclear bombs.
In 1885, a mine in Saxony yielded a new mineral, which was named argyrodite. It turned out to be a combination of silver, sulphur, and a new element. The chemist Clemens Winkler first wanted to call this new element neptunium, in honor of the recently discovered planet. But since that name was already taken, he chose to name it after his homeland, Germania. Germanium (Ge) is an important material for semiconductors used in transistors.
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
Strontium (Sr) is named after the Scottish village of Strontian, where it was discovered in 1790 in a local lead mine. Initially called 'the Scotch mineral', later strontianite and strontites, its name was settled by Sir Humphry Davy, who was the first to isolate it, by electrolysis, in 1808. Strontium salts flame red when they burn, a property used in signal flares.
Yttrium (39), Terbium (65), Erbium (68), Ytterbium (70)
Ytterby is a Swedish town on the island of Resarö, in the Stockholm archipelago. An ancient mine near the town, used for quartz since the Middle Ages and feldspar since the late 1700s, is the single richest source of elemental discoveries in the world. Four elements are named directly after the town itself: yttrium (Y), terbium (Tb), erbium (Er) and ytterbium (Yb). Four others were also first found here: scandium, holmium and thulium (also on this map), and gadolinium, named after the Swedish-Finnish chemist Johan Gadolin.
Discovered in 1844 at Kazan State University, ruthenium (Ru) derives from Ruthenia, a Latin term for Russia – confusingly also applied to various other, smaller Slavic areas and tribes.
The discovery of europium (Eu) is generally credited to Eugène-Anatole Demarçay, who isolated it in 1901 and gave it its name, after the continent.
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
Holmium (Ho) was discovered in 1878 in France by Jacques-Louis Soret and Marc Delafontaine (who called it 'Element X'), and independently in Sweden by Per Teodor Cleve, who was the first to isolate it. He named it after Holmia, the Latin for the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
Thulium (Th) comes from Thule, a mythical Nordic region sometimes located in Greenland, Iceland and/or Svalbard.
Discovered as an impurity in ytterbia, this element was independently found in 1907 by French scientist Georges Urbain, Austrian mineralogist Baron Carl Auer von Welsbach, and American chemist Charles James. Urbain proposed the names neoytterbium or lutecium; Welsbach proposed aldebaranium or cassiopeium. In 1909, the International Commission on Atomic Weights settled the dispute in Urbain's favor. In 1949, the spelling was changed to lutetium (Lu); both derived from Lutetia, the Latin for Paris. But well into the 1950s, German-speaking chemists kept referring to this element as cassiopeium.
Discovered in 1923 by Dirk Coster and Georg von Hevesy in Copenhagen, hafnium (Ha) was named after the Latin name for the city, Hafnia. Today, Copenhagen University's Science Faculty uses a stylised image of the hafnium atom in its seal.
Rhenium (Re) was discovered in 1925 by German scientists Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke and Otto Berg, who named it after the Rhine, which flows through their home region. It is the only element named after a river.
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
Discovered by Pierre and Marie Curie in 1898, polonium (Po) was named after Marie's native country – to highlight the fact that it was under occupation. Poland at that time was partitioned between Prussia, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. In 2006, former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London by someone who had put a tiny amount of polonium in his tea.
Provisionally named eka-caesium, its discovery was prematurely announced four times (the proposed names were 'russium', 'alkalinium', 'virginium' and 'moldavium'). Finally discovered in 1939 at the Curie Institute in Paris, the name first proposed was 'catium', but eventually 'francium' was officially adopted – the second element named after the country. Francium is the last element discovered in nature. All following elements have been synthesised.
Americium (Am) was first synthesised, isolated, and identified in 1944 at the University of California in Berkeley by a team including Glenn Seaborg (to whom we owe the present layout of the periodic table, and after whom the element of seaborgium was later named). The discovery of americium was closely related to the Manhattan Project and was highly classified. Seaborg unintentionally revealed the discovery on "Quiz Kids," a radio show for children, days before it was to be officially announced.
Also co-discovered by Seaborg (who was involved in identifying 10 elements, including plutonium), Berkelium (Bk) was named after the university city where it was first synthesised in 1949.
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
Another Seaborg co-production at Berkeley, this one was discovered in 1950 and called californium (Cf).
From the 1960s, the naming of some new elements beyond fermium (100) was a subject of the so-called 'transfermium wars', a controversy involving American and Soviet scientists (at their respective research centers in Berkely and Dubna) and, to a lesser extent, German scientists based in Darmstadt. For element 105, the Americans had initially suggested the name hahnium, the Russians nielsbohrium. The compromise solution was dubnium (Db), after the location of the Russian research center.
Another tug-of-war of the transfermium wars, element 110's proposed names were hahnium (again) by the Americans, bequerelium by the Russians. In this case, the German suggestion darmstadium won the day.
Hassia is the Latin name for Hesse, the German state where the institute is located that discovered the element, in 1984. Hence, hassium (Hs).
Image: /u/dom_bul, reproduced with kind permission
Discovered by a Japanese team of scientists, nihonium (Nh) is named after a Japanese pronunciation of the country's name: Nihon.
Although another suggestion was langevinium, for the scientist Paul Langevin, the discovery team from Dubna settled on moscovium (Mc), for the oblast where their institute is located. UFO conspiracy theorist Bob Lazar claims to have observed an alien spacecraft in Area 51that relied on a stable isotope of element 115 for its propulsion. At the time, circa 1990, moscovium had not yet been synthesised by earth scientists; all examples since have proved very unstable.
Livermorium (Lv) was first successfully synthesised in 2000, in a collaboration by the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna (Russia) and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore (California). It is named indirectly for Robert Livermore, a 19th-century English settler in California who gave his name to both a city and a walnut.
Named after Tennessee, the location of Vanderbilt University, which is cited as a co-discoverer of the element. The discovery of tennessine (Ts) in 2010 filled the last gap in the seventh period. Any new elements will be placed in a new, eighth period.
This map was made by Reddit user /u/dom_bul, who mentions that an earlier version included Cyprus (as the origin for 'copper'), "but I learnt that it's the island that takes the name from the metal and not the other way around."
Strange Maps #1034
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?
- Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
- It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
- COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
What conditions of the new normal were already appreciated widely?<p>First, we understand that higher education is unique among industries. Some industries are governed by markets. Others are run by governments. Most operate under the influence of both markets and governments. And then there's higher education. Higher education as an "industry" involves public, private, and for-profit universities operating at small, medium, large, and now massive scales. Some higher education industry actors are intense specialists; others are adept generalists. Some are fantastically wealthy; others are tragically poor. Some are embedded in large cities; others are carefully situated near farms and frontiers.</p> <p>These differences demonstrate just some of the complexities that shape higher education. Still, we understand that change in the industry is underway, and we must be active in directing it. Yet because of higher education's unique (and sometimes vexing) operational and structural conditions, many of the lessons from change management and the science of industrial transformation are only applicable in limited or highly modified ways. For evidence of this, one can look at various perspectives, including those that we have offered, on such topics as <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/rethinking-higher-education/lessons-disruption" target="_blank">disruption</a>, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/education/learning/education-technology.html" target="_blank">technology management</a>, and so-called "<a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/Excerpt_IHESpecialReport_Growing-Role-of-Mergers-in-Higher-Ed.pdf" target="_blank">mergers and acquisitions</a>" in higher education. In each of these spaces, the "market forces" and "market rules" for higher education are different than they are in business, or even in government. This has always been the case and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p> <p>Second, with so much excitement about innovation in higher education, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that students are—and should remain—the core cause for innovation. Higher education's capacity to absorb new ideas is strong. But the ideas that endure are those designed to benefit students, and therefore society. This is important to remember because not all innovations are designed with students in mind. The recent history of innovation in higher education includes several cautionary tales of what can happen when institutional interests—or worse, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/02/09/apollos-new-owners-seek-fresh-start-beleaguered-company" target="_blank">shareholder</a> interests—are placed above student well-being.</p>
Photo: Getty Images<p>Third, it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficulties for colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person <a href="https://link-springer-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/article/10.1007/s10639-019-10027-z" target="_blank">instruction</a>.</p><p>Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale.</p><p>As a bonus, and it is no small thing given that they are the core cause for innovation, students embrace and enjoy digital instruction. It is their preference to learn in a format that leverages technology. This should not be a surprise; it is now how we live in all facets of life.</p><p>Still, we have only barely begun to conceive of the impact digital education will have. For example, emerging virtual and augmented reality technologies that facilitate interactive, hands-on learning will transform the way that learners acquire and apply new knowledge. Technology-enabled learning cannot replace the traditional college experience or ensure the survival of any specific college, but it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale. This has always been the case, and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p>
What conditions of the new normal were emerging suspicions?<p>Our collective thinking about the role of institutional or university-to-university collaboration and networking has benefitted from a new clarity in light of COVID-19. We now recognize more than ever that colleges and universities must work together to ensure that the American higher education system is resilient and sufficiently robust to meet the needs of students and their families.</p> <p>In recent weeks, various commentators have suggested that higher education will face a wave of institutional <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/scott-galloway-predicts-colleges-will-close-due-to-pandemic-2020-5" target="_blank">closures</a> and consolidations and that large institutions with significant online instruction capacity will become dominant.</p> <p>While ASU is the largest public university in the United States by enrollment and among the most well-equipped in online education, we strongly oppose "let them fail" mindsets. The strength of American higher education relies on its institutional diversity, and on the ability of colleges and universities to meet the needs of their local communities and educate local students. The needs of learners are highly individualized, demanding a wide range of options to accommodate the aspirations and learning styles of every kind of student. Education will become less relevant and meaningful to students, and less responsive to local needs, if institutions of higher learning are allowed to fail. </p> <p>Preventing this outcome demands that colleges and universities work together to establish greater capacity for remote, distributed education. This will help institutions with fewer resources adapt to our new normal and continue to fulfill their mission of serving students, their families, and their communities. Many had suspected that collaboration and networking were preferable over letting vulnerable colleges fail. COVID-19's new normal seems to be confirming this.</p>
President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during the Arizona State University graduation ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium May 13, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. Over 65,000 people attended the graduation.
Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images<p>A second condition of the new normal that many had suspected to be true in recent years is the limited role that any one university or type of university can play as an exemplar to universities more broadly. For decades, the evolution of higher education has been shaped by the widespread imitation of a small number of elite universities. Most public research universities could benefit from replicating Berkeley or Michigan. Most small private colleges did well by replicating Williams or Swarthmore. And all universities paid close attention to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, and Yale. It is not an exaggeration to say that the logic of replication has guided the evolution of higher education for centuries, both in the US and abroad.</p><p>Only recently have we been able to move beyond replication to new strategies of change, and COVID-19 has confirmed the legitimacy of doing so. For example, cases such as <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/03/10/harvard-moves-classes-online-advises-students-stay-home-after-spring-break-response-covid-19/" target="_blank">Harvard's</a> eviction of students over the course of less than one week or <a href="https://www.nhregister.com/news/coronavirus/article/Mayor-New-Haven-asks-for-coronavirus-help-Yale-15162606.php" target="_blank">Yale's apparent reluctance</a> to work with the city of New Haven, highlight that even higher education's legacy gold standards have limits and weaknesses. We are hopeful that the new normal will include a more active and earnest recognition that we need many types of universities. We think the new normal invites us to rethink the very nature of "gold standards" for higher education.</p>
A graduate student protests MIT's rejection of some evacuation exemption requests.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images<p>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we had started to suspect and now understand that America's colleges and universities are among the many institutions of democracy and civil society that are, by their very design, incapable of being sufficiently responsive to the full spectrum of modern challenges and opportunities they face. Far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted. And without new designs, we can expect postsecondary success for these same students to be as elusive in the new normal, as it was in the <a href="http://pellinstitute.org/indicators/reports_2019.shtml" target="_blank">old normal</a>. This is not just because some universities fail to sufficiently recognize and engage the promise of diversity, this is because few universities have been designed from the outset to effectively serve the unique needs of lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color.</p>
Where can the new normal take us?<p>As colleges and universities face the difficult realities of adapting to COVID-19, they also face an opportunity to rethink their operations and designs in order to respond to social needs with greater agility, adopt technology that enables education to be delivered at scale, and collaborate with each other in order to maintain the dynamism and resilience of the American higher education system.</p> <p>COVID-19 raises questions about the relevance, the quality, and the accessibility of higher education—and these are the same challenges higher education has been grappling with for years. </p> <p>ASU has been able to rapidly adapt to the present circumstances because we have spent nearly two decades not just anticipating but <em>driving</em> innovation in higher education. We have adopted a <a href="https://www.asu.edu/about/charter-mission-and-values" target="_blank">charter</a> that formalizes our definition of success in terms of "who we include and how they succeed" rather than "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/17/forget-varsity-blues-madness-lets-talk-about-students-who-cant-afford-college/" target="_blank">who we exclude</a>." We adopted an entrepreneurial <a href="https://president.asu.edu/read/higher-logic" target="_blank">operating model</a> that moves at the speed of technological and social change. We have launched initiatives such as <a href="https://www.instride.com/how-it-works/" target="_blank">InStride</a>, a platform for delivering continuing education to learners already in the workforce. We developed our own robust technological capabilities in ASU <a href="https://edplus.asu.edu/" target="_blank">EdPlus</a>, a hub for research and development in digital learning that, even before the current crisis, allowed us to serve more than 45,000 fully online students. We have also created partnerships with other forward-thinking institutions in order to mutually strengthen our capabilities for educational accessibility and quality; this includes our role in co-founding the <a href="https://theuia.org/" target="_blank">University Innovation Alliance</a>, a consortium of 11 public research universities that share data and resources to serve students at scale. </p> <p>For ASU, and universities like ASU, the "new normal" of a post-COVID world looks surprisingly like the world we already knew was necessary. Our record breaking summer 2020 <a href="https://asunow.asu.edu/20200519-sun-devil-life-summer-enrollment-sets-asu-record" target="_blank">enrollment</a> speaks to this. What COVID demonstrates is that we were already headed in the right direction and necessitates that we continue forward with new intensity and, we hope, with more partners. In fact, rather than "new normal" we might just say, it's "go time." </p>
Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.
- Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
- Recent glacial melting, caused by climate change, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
- While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
Why leave the bodies there at all? Why not bring people down as soon as they die?<p>It costs a lot of money to go get a body on the highest mountain in the world, up to $80,000 to be <a href="https://people.com/human-interest/dead-bodies-mount-everest-glaciers-melt/" target="_blank">precise</a>. Then there is the problem of actually doing it, since some attempts to retrieve bodies are forced by difficult conditions to abandon their efforts.</p><p>Some people, such as mountaineer <a href="http://www.alanarnette.com/" target="_blank">Alan Arnette</a>, argue that the bodies should be left there. He told the BBC, "Most climbers like to be left on the mountains if they died. So it would be deemed disrespectful to just remove them unless they need to be moved from the climbing route or their families want them."</p> This doesn't stop people from wanting the bodies taken down or dealt with in other ways. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Sharp_(mountaineer)" target="_blank">David Sharp</a>'s body was moved out of sight in 2007. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mallory" target="_blank">George Mallory'</a>s body took 75 years to find and was given an Anglican burial in 1999. Over time, the elements often move bodies away from the main routes up the mountain to more isolated areas where they remain undisturbed.
Everest’s chilling landmarks<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="V4Kz3Zfc" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="9959d7e5b2866ad9f61ab823a5b60cbf"> <div id="botr_V4Kz3Zfc_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/V4Kz3Zfc-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/V4Kz3Zfc-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/V4Kz3Zfc-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned <a href="https://www.ranker.com/list/creepy-stories-about-deaths-and-dead-bodies-on-mount-everest/sabrina-ithal" target="_blank">nicknames</a>. </p><p> For instance, the image above is of "<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Boots" target="_blank">Green Boots</a>," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him — many presuming he was the famous corpse. </p><p>A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "Rainbow Valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "Most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."</p><p>Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Andrew "Sandy" Irvine, the climbing partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full 30 years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it. </p><p>Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the '90s without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20130303001517/http://www.velocitypress.com/Mallory__Irvine.html#A127_Film" target="_blank">Kodak </a>says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irvine is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting. </p><p>As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell. </p>
Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.
- An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
- According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
- Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.
With the most common form of female sexual dysfunction impacting 1 in 10 women, this important study dives into how to keep a relationship going despite having different needs and wants in the bedroom.
- A new study highlights the difficulties faced by women who struggle with decreased sexual desire, and explains how to navigate desire discrepancies in long-term relationships.
- Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is one of the most common forms of female sexual dysfunction, impacting an estimated 1 in 10 women.
- Finding other ways to promote intimacy in your relationship is one of the keys to ensuring happiness on both sides.
The study<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMzcxOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzA2NTgxM30.Au-HmSRnSeN86ZGU7qeZJzq50LPM0LxjvUUU6_y2XVs/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="2bb9b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2af6156aff63fba2146746ae150f490e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="sad woman sitting on the floor at the foot of a bed" />
An estimated one in ten women experience female sexual dysfunction.
Photo by fizkes on Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2020.1743225?scroll=top&needAccess=true" target="_blank">This 2020 study published in the Journal of Sex Research</a>, led by Dr. Avigail Moor and her colleagues Yael Haimov and Shaked Shreiber, focused on 15 women between the ages of 25-59, all of whom were in committed, heterosexual, long-term relationships (with a median relationship length of 3.5 years) to better understand decreases in female sexual desire. Approximately half the women in this sample had children.<br></p><p><strong>During this study, the women were asked various questions about:</strong></p><ol> <li>The quality of their relationship</li><li>How their relationship has been impacted by their decreased sexual desire </li><li>What they believe could have caused a decrease in their sexual desire over the course of their relationship</li><li>What impact they felt this had on themselves and their relationship </li><li>How they dealt with the decreased sexual desire themselves</li><li>How the couple dealt with and/or navigated the decrease in sexual desire together</li></ol><p><strong>There are a number of reasons why women, in particular, could be going through a libido decline, including:</strong></p><p><strong><br></strong></p><ul><li>Job stress</li><li>Family stress</li><li>Self-confidence struggles</li><li>Declining hormones or hormone imbalances</li><li>Relationship issues</li><li>Health conditions </li></ul><div></div>
Navigating low sexual desire and desire discrepancies in your relationship<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMzcyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTYzNjE5N30.oec9wuuxd9MEVkqmappsngN2nVmMxF3sIi9AlL9Q5SE/img.jpg?width=980" id="e246b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebf8cdebd54a0b26ee181320e756bff4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="couple hugging in a bedroom" />
Even if you are struggling with differing sexual desires in your relationship, there are still countless ways you can show affection to your partner.
Photo by fizkes on Shutterstock<p>Assistant professor at Harvard Medical School <a href="https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/loss-of-sexual-desire-in-women#1" target="_blank">Jan Shifren</a>, MD, explains in an interview: "One of the first things I do speaking to women who come in with sexual concerns is let them know that there is no normal frequency or set of behaviors and things change with times. If it's working for them and/or their partner, there is no problem."</p><p>Shifren goes on to explain that when the decreases in sexual interest begin having a negative impact on her life and cause distress in the relationship, this is when it's considered a problem of low sexual desire. </p><p>If it is believed to be a problem, there are a few things this study, in particular, has highlighted. </p><p><strong>Love doesn't equal desire, and a lack of desire doesn't equal disaster. </strong></p><p>Participants of this study explained that their sexual desire (or lack thereof) never made them doubt their relationship or the feelings they had for their partner. They saw the sexual desire and love for their partner as two very separate things. </p><p>Over half the participants said they didn't believe their <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/symptoms-causes/syc-20374554#:~:text=Women's%20sexual%20desires%20naturally%20fluctuate,low%20sex%20drive%20in%20women." target="_blank">decreased sexual desire</a> had a negative impact on their relationship, explaining that they have more intimate, deeper connections with their partner that went beyond sex. Many women who felt this way cited the fact that they were navigating life's ups and downs, things like parenthood and job stress, with their partner, which made them feel closer to their partners even if the sexual desire wasn't there. </p><p><strong>This is an extremely isolating problem even if it impacts the whole relationship. </strong></p><p>In order to make sense of the rapid changes in their desires or the complete lack of sexual drive, many women in the study claimed they looked inwards, often blaming themselves. Instead of thinking that this is a common thing many individuals (and many other women) struggle with, many of these participants felt guilty about their low libidos, thinking it must be their problem. </p><p><strong>Among these women, feelings of guilt and self-blame were frequent over the course of their interviews. </strong></p><p>Even in situations where there was very minimal negative impact on the relationship, desire discrepancies still caused some tension. </p><p>While over half the women involved stated they did not feel desire discrepancies in their relationship negatively impacted their relationship, many women still did describe feeling some sort of "pressure" to have sex more often. </p><p>Despite having relationships that were described as loving and healthy, some of the women in the study indicated that they have, in the past, still experienced conflict with their partner over how long it had been since they had sex. Some women also stated they were worried that their partner took their low libido personally. </p><p><strong>How can you navigate desire discrepancies in long-term relationships?</strong></p><p>This is one of the first studies to focus so specifically on female sexual dysfunction in long-term relationships, so there is still a lot of research to be done. What we have learned from this study, however, can help us better understand how to navigate these difficult challenges of intimate relationships. </p><p>Strategies that can be used to address the problems in the relationship that are caused by having a low sex drive can be things like: </p><ul><li>Creating an honest line of communication. Participating in conversations that allow each person to be open and honest about how they feel can promote intimacy and bonding as well as a deeper understanding of what the other person is going through. </li><li>Compromising. This doesn't mean simply having sex when you don't feel like it, but it can be other things that promote intimacy such as a date night or incorporating other forms of physical affection into your relationship. </li><li>Treating this like any other relationship problem. Relationships take work, and just as you navigate difficulties due to chores, finances, and responsibilities, you can navigate the struggles of low sexual desire by creating an environment of understanding and having a desire to make things work. </li></ul>