The Desire Myth
If you could take a pill to make food you don't like, enjoyable, would you take it?
If you could take a pill to make yourself watch movies you didn't like, would you do it?
If you could take a pill to make grocery shopping more exciting, would you take it?
If you don’t particularly like something or you don’t want it, in most circumstances we would agree that not doing it would be perfectly reasonable.
Except when it comes to sex.
Most people feel incredibly alone when they’re struggling with their sex life. When you're in it, it's easy to believe everyone else is having better sex than you, and even more sex than you. When resentment starts to build you feel even more awkward addressing sex and taking the steps toward change feels even harder.
Society says that if you don’t want sex, there is something wrong; then you feel broken or damaged in some way. You become afraid that it may spell disaster for your relationships or it will change the way your partner/s feel about you.
You believe that sex is straight-forward. You're horny - so you have sex. That desire (the mental component – being ‘in the mood’) must come before arousal (the physical component, being hard, wet, engorged, turned on) and end in orgasm. So when you don't experience it this way it's easy to think you are the problem.
So many people think they're defective because for them, the mood never or rarely comes. I know this feeling. I've been one of these people too. But the truth is desire is not about luck and just being in the mood. It's about knowledge, wisdom & strategy.
For example, men are expected to want sex and be up for it all the time. But the truth is, some are and some are not. The idea that you are just wandering through the supermarket and all of a sudden… BAM! there you are ready to have sex is not so much a myth, as it is a desire style that happens to some people, some of the time. It's not a standard and it is no more normal nor abnormal than any other kind of desire. A lot of men feel embarrassed if that's not how they feel all the time, which makes it harder to get moving on understanding pleasure.
This kind of desire is often referred to as ‘spontaneous desire’ is experienced by most of us from time to time throughout our lives, but it's not consistent nor dependable. When people come to see me because they do not experience desire in this way, I take the time to explain to them that desire is not linear and there are actually several kinds of desire.
In contrast, responsive desire is based on having certain conditions met in order to ‘get in the mood’. You're responding to a series of cues. There's a bit of complicated brain science that explains this, but in short, we have to help ourselves 'get there' by creating contexts that inspire our lust. This happens easily when we start dating someone new. Traditionally, this form of desire has been associated with women but the truth is, ‘responsive’ desire affects people of all genders at different times in their lives based on a variety of factors including hormonal changes, emotional turbulence, stress but more importantly, pleasure. Knowing what brings you pleasure or fulfillment makes it easier to access.
It's hard to want something you don't like and it's downright confusing when you don't want something you used to want, want to want or wish you liked. When we do desire things it’s usually because they fulfill us in some way; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – they serve some purpose, some meaning in our lives. When we have purpose it's easier to focus. Knowing your sexual purpose is fundamental in connecting with your desire style.
If you struggle with desire I encourage you to explore two things.
First of all, ask yourself why you want to have sex. And be prepared for the answer, whatever it is. It might be to be close to your partner, it might be because it makes them happy, it might be to have an orgasm, it might be because you owe somebody something. There are literally hundreds of reasons people have sex, so allow yourself to explore yours.
Then ask yourself what kind of sex you like. It might not be genitally based, it might be kinky, it might be sensual and slow, it might be rough, it might take time, it might be bawdy, it might be intercourse, it might be about you as a giver only or as a receiver only. It’s helpful to know what kind of touch or mental stimulation your body responds to because it’s really hard to want something you just don’t like. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. But if you do like something, remember it, especially if you’re struggling to get started. If desire is something you struggle with know you are not alone. My job is to help you have the best sex you can have, so it's common that people seek me out for help with mismatched sex drives & low desire. My work invites you through consultations or The Desire Series to dive deep in to how desire really works and supports you to unpack the blockages most of us believe to be truths.