HAVE YOU EVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT?
Because when you really don’t fancy having it, and you feel like an alien human species being the only one who doesn’t seem to understand what all the fuss is about (or feeling sad because you do but you can’t work out why you don’t want to), it’s useful to know why others do…
Perhaps there’s something we could learn from the factors that drive us to want sex?
So, to begin with, what is a sex drive?
Our sex drives (aka libido/desire/fanny gallops) describes the human desire to have sex.
Sigmund Freud coined the term libido to mean “sexual and/or life urge or energy”.
Some factors that impact on our desire to or not to have sex are deep set and others are temporary/on the night type things.
They mainly fall into 3 categories:
Temporary factors that make us want to bonk (or not) include:
- our mood (low mood= low desire)
- tiredness levels (when bed=sleep not sex)
- alcohol intake (too drunk can mean TOO drunk)
- and distraction levels (e.g. anxiety, stress- when you just can’t relax- AKA me).
Deeper set factors include:
- our learned associations with sex due to previous positive or negative sexual experiences (basically, it’s not rocket science- if it doesn’t feel good we likely won’t want it/enjoy it!)
- our attitude towards sex or our sexual partner (positive attitudes are likely to increase sexual activity- so if you feel warm feelings towards your partner you’re more likely to want to bonk them, or have sex even if you aren’t in the mood).
Our cultural and societal influences
This depends on what society you’ve grown up in and how sex is portrayed- e.g. what is shown as “normal” sexual behaviour.
Often this is shaped by religion (e.g. sex is shown as within marriage only and between a man and a woman), science and popular culture (music videos, films, pornography etc).
This includes factors like our hormone levels, hereditary genes and also how we’ve evolved alongside animals who also have sex for pleasure (dolphins).
What do we GAIN from sex (or should that be, just good sex?)
Scientists believe that our sexual desire serves us a number of purposes:
- physical pleasure (e.g. toe-curling orgasms)
- intimacy (love, snuggles, warmth and affection)
- procreation (its baby time!)
Sex can be a most excellent exchange between two people.
It is often the motivation to get one of these things (pleasure/intimacy/babies) that means we want to have sex.
It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to think that perhaps, if sex isn’t giving us pleasure (because we’re too ashamed, worrying about our bodies, don’t feel comfortable with our partners, they don’t know how to make you scream etc etc), then we might not want it!?
The problem often comes (haha, pun alert) when we’re so focussed on orgasm as being the pleasure at the end of the road, that we forget about the journey. But more on that later.
Why do YOU want to have sex? (Or not, as the case may be)
Right at the start of my journey I looked up WHY people had sex. And then I wrote down why I had sex, to compare.
I did a little doodle brainstorm. And I was shocked at what I found.
Basically I’m all about the intimacy, social obligation, and a little pleasure. What about sex just for ME? For relaxation, stress relief, joy, expression, creativity, fun?
All missing for me, and I knew I had a long road ahead. But it’s worthwhile doing to think about what’s going on for you…. why do YOU have sex?
If obviously you’re not having sex, maybe have a think about why you might want to.
Go on, have a doodle and let me know in the comments.
P.S. In this blog, I’ve tried to go for whats known as a “biopsychosocial” model- looking at how our bodies, mind and society influence how much we want to have sex. I’ve structured these as:
Biology: things like your physical health- how much sleep you have, exercise you do, your hormone levels, and sexual health (STD’s and other nasties).
Psychology: your relationship to sex: your beliefs and attitudes towards sex,
Social: your relationship with your partner, ideas about sex in your society etc.
For more info see here: the five elements of sexual wellbeing.