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 knowing yourself and what you like. It's about being with yourself enough to connect to the essence within you. It's being willing to speak up and ask for what you want. To change the sex you're having - or not having. To create room for it to thrive. It's about knowledge, wisdom & strategy. And all of this is anything but 'natural'.
For example, men are expected to want sex and be up for it all the time. Like they are just these crazed sex machines ready to get down any time the wind picks up. And while some men may be like this some of the time. Most 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. And a lot of people in relationships with men wonder why their partner isn't liek this when they believe that's how men are supposed to be.
This kind of desire is often referred to as ‘spontaneous desire’ , is experienced by some of us, in context, throughout our lives. Spontaneous desire is neither 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, not guaranteed, not a marker of love or loyalty, and that 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’. In other words, you're responding to a series of cues to create the context for you to get turned on and in the mood. 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 more 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. Wanting to want sex again is one thing, but knowing what gets you there is the secret sauce.
If you struggle with desire I encourage you to explore two things.
- First of all, ask yourself why you want this to change. And be prepared for the answer, whatever it is. We often spend all our time asking ourselves why we don't want sex. But I 'll argue that's a distraction from asking ourselves the real questions about the business of changing our relationship to desire. So let's flip that and ask ourselves why we want things to be diferent? It might be to be closer to your partner. It might be because it makes them happy. It might be to experience p
- Then ask yourself what kind of sex you like, (or used to like). It might not be genital-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
- leasure. It might be because you feel obliged to. There are literally hundreds of reasons people have sex, so allow yourself to explore your motivations, even if they're not as simple and sweet as you think they should be.
- touch, contexts 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.
The hardest part of boosting desire is recognizing that now is the time. Realizing that we are not at the mercy of desire, but rather that desire is at the mercy of us, is a watershed moment for lovers. Making the most of curiosity, is a whole lot more empowering than sitting around waiting for the mood to strike.
Desire is something we create within and for ourselves. Desire is tended-to and nurtured by us and our lovers. Desire is an approach to life that includes, but is not limited to horniness alone. Desire is feeling alive. Passion is feeling like you matter. And more than ever, right now, we need to feel like we matter.
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 clues to the passion within.