Understanding Sexual Desire

Human sexuality is a fascinating world. Sexual desire is one of the engines of our private lives. How should we take care of it?
Understanding Sexual Desire
Andrea Pérez

Written and verified by the psychologist Andrea Pérez.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Some of us experience sexual desire as something alien to ourselves and believe it’s like magic. Therefore, when it appears we don’t know what’s happened or how it appeared, but we simply enjoy it. Others experience it in a similar way to a miracle. They’ve heard about it from other people but have little hope that it’ll ever happen to them. So, if one day, they experience it for themselves, they find themselves praising the skies and singing “Hallelujah!”.

Throughout history, sexual desire (especially female desire) has been singled out and judged. Women have been told what, how, when, where, and with whom they should feel desire. Some have even tried to correct them and show them the ‘right’ path to follow regarding their sexuality.

They’ve been told “You shouldn’t feel sexually attracted toward that person”, “Your sexual desire is wrong, it needs to be corrected” or “You should do this if you want to experience more pleasure”. Or even, “It’s wrong that you don’t feel any sexual desire, there must be something wrong with you”. In fact, these are just some of the phrases that women have had to listen to throughout history.

The futile effort to force the spontaneous

One of the solutions that people often try when they don’t feel sexual desire is to push themselves and deliberately try to provoke it. However, the more they try to solve the problem, the more they move away from the solution. Moreover, it makes them feel frustrated and fed up with the situation.

But when it comes to other feelings, no one fights or tries to force things that should happen spontaneously. For example, we accept that we can’t control our appetites or the urge to go to the bathroom. We accept that we don’t choose who we fall in love with, can’t forget certain experiences, and can’t laugh with happiness or cry at will.

However, when it comes to sexual desire, some people insist on trying to modify it and handle it at will. In fact, they try to reach expectations that have little to do with reality. They fight against themselves and look for solutions. Unsurprisingly, instead of helping, it often makes the problem bigger than it was initially.

Sexual desire doesn’t fall from the sky

For most of us, sexual desire isn’t something that’s static, passive, immobile, and totally alien to what we do, think, and feel  At the other end of the spectrum, are those who trust in magical formulas or divine interventions to awaken their desire.

A pill that automatically increases libido hasn’t yet been invented. In fact, we should be wary of those who sell us magical remedies for solving any problems, whatever their type, not just sexual. Human sexuality isn’t black or white. It doesn’t entail adopting a position of demand or the control of desire. Nor does it mean waiting for a miracle to happen. The desire of each individual is unique and exclusive. It works differently depending on their life, their environment, what they’re experiencing right now, and how old they are.

Get to know and take care of your sexual desire

Getting to know and being interested in your sexual desire, without trying to judge or control it, is the first step to understanding how your body works. There’s no ideal frequency or intensity to achieve. Each person has their own ‘normal’ level depending on what’s going on in their life and their characteristics or biological stage.

Although this article mainly relates to sexual desire, desire can also refer to the need for intimacy, love, affection, and complicity with another person. It can also involve the need to have sexual relations with yourself or with other people. As we mentioned earlier, it’s not something that’s unconnected to you, nor does it happen by magic and it certainly can’t be forced at will. In fact, it’s more like a garden full of plants. It must be cultivated and tended to daily to keep it healthy.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Moreno, Eva (2019). Mi deseo depende de mí. Claves para estimular el deseo sexual. Grijalbo.
  • Moreno, H. (1995). Relaciones sexuales. debate feminista11, 5-16.
  • Sierra, J. C., Díaz, G., Álvarez-Muelas, A., Calvillo, C., Granados, R., & Arcos-Romero, A. I. (2019). Relación del deseo sexual con la excitación sexual objetiva y subjetiva. Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica24(3), 173-180.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.