4 myths about sexual desire
In some environments, sex may be a less taboo subject than in the past, but we still let ourselves be fooled by some of the myths that circulate around, especially those that have to do with human sexual desire.
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What are we talking about when we talk about sexual desire?
There is no agreed-upon definition of sexual desire or erotic desire. Masters and Johnson, pioneers in the study of human sexual response, did not even include it in their studies. Kaplan was the first author to talk about it in 1977 when she realized that an additional variable, a motivational one, was needed to explain sexual behavior.
However, the definition we like the most because of its inclusion of gender and its cyclical (non-linear) model is Rosemay Basson’s model, which proposed that, especially in women, desire includes fantasies, feelings and thoughts, but that there does not necessarily have to be desire to have an orgasm or to become aroused. In other words, several variables must be present for desire to occur: intimacy, seduction, bonding, etc.
In short, Basson’s scheme of desire is that if certain variables such as intimacy are present, this can lead to desire. In short, desire follows the onset of erotic activity, which does not mean that this applies to everyone.
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4 myths about sexual desire
- Men feel more desire than women. This is the quintessential myth about sexual desire. And when it is not a myth it is a «it is supposed to….», and under these erroneous beliefs people act: men who are pressured to take the initiative with their partners because «since I am the man, I am supposed to always feel like it» and, on the other side, women who do not take the initiative «because he is supposed to do it». It is true that biology plays its role, but it does not condition us.
- Desire is something that must be spontaneous. It is something that cannot be forced and that has to arise. No, it doesn’t. This is false, because it is precisely when we do it the other way around, that is, when we begin to carry out erotic practices of any kind (kissing, caressing, licking,…) that is when desire arises. Believing that it should be something that should appear without further ado, many people wait and wait, when desire is something that must be cultivated.
- Desire declines with age. Actually, not necessarily. Not only do people tend to associate old age with a decrease in sexual activity, but they also tend to see sex in older people as something dirty. How can so many myths not influence our desire? It may be that when you were younger you gave more importance to your erotic life and that over the years your priorities have changed, but this does not mean that your libido is lower. Simply, your focus is in other areas of your life. As we have said, desire is something you cultivate.
- It’s bad not to feel sexual desire. To top it off, we think that not feeling sexual desire means that we are getting older, that we are shutting down or that not being aroused most of the time is a sign that something is wrong. Warning! Desire and arousal are not the same thing. Sexuality in general is something that changes throughout life and it changes according to our circumstances and our stage of life. So, when is it a problem not to feel desire? When it is an internal conflict for you and your personal situation, beyond stereotypes. On many occasions, if not most occasions, it is not that there is no desire, it is that the appropriate conditions have not been given for that desire to occur.
In short, having a problem of sexual desire will depend on several variables (remember Basson’s cyclical model) and the circumstances of each person will require a specific evaluation carried out by a sexology professional. I would dare to say that in many cases people come to consultation very anxious about not feeling desire and it is this anxiety that causes less desire and that, in addition, is propitiated by these myths.
By Brenda R. Bodemer