Decreased sexual desire or arousal? Sexual desire disorders • My sex blog

Sexual desire has long been little talked about.
Male desire was taken for granted, stable, and driving – and female desire seen as more fragile, almost optional at one time, but ultimately accommodated.

But between the stress of current life and the rise of the notion of consent – including in the couple – sexual desire is back in the spotlight, for both men and women.

The lack of desire, or inhibition of sexual desire, is now a frequent cause of consultation of a sex therapist …

Desire and excitement, two related phases but which can be distinguished from each other

American sexologists Masters & Johnson had identified four phases in the human sexual response: arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution.
Helen Kaplan, by adding desire to this model a few years later, allows us to better understand the disorders of desire and arousal, by separating these two moments.
Is the problem in the head or in the body? Do I still think about sex, or not at all?
The disorder will not be approached in the same way if it is located at the place of desire (the person never wants to have sex or masturbate, or even sex is not an issue for her), or arousal (the person craves sex but does not materialize, for example because of erectile dysfunction).

What is desire?

To consider desire disorders, we must begin by defining a few concepts:

the sexual urge, it’s biological tension

It is based on a system based in particular on hormonal balance and the regulation of hypothalamic centers, which govern our instinctual life (mood, need for endorphins, etc.).
It is essentially a physiological phenomenon.
In women, the balance is between folliculin and progesterone – plus a little testosterone.
In humans, it is mainly progesterone that supports this tension (but a high level of prolactin can disturb it).

An equivalent for food would be “I’m hungry”.

To read :
Decreased libido in men (article focusing on hormonal aspects, MDSM)

Sexual desire is a psychological phenomenon

the sexual desire, it is a translation of the sexual need in the conscious mind. It translates into a “desire for” (to use the metaphor, “I want a waffle”).
It is based on the sexual need, but is not totally confused with it (I can want an ice cream even if I am not hungry)

DESIRE, A COMPLEX AND MULTI-FACTORIAL PHENOMENON

Many factors influence sexual desire.
Gilles Trudel (2003) groups them into 5 dimensions:
cognitive (ideas related to sexuality, but also helping or limiting beliefs)
behavioral (especially the variety of sexual behaviors)
emotional (what emotions does our sexuality send us back)
organic (the sexual need and hormonal balance, but also the after-effects of an operation for example)
interpersonal and relational (a conflicting or harmonious marital relationship …)

Decreased Sexual Desire – Assessment and Treatment Methods
TRUDEL, G., ed. Masson, 2003

The cognitive and behavioral aspect: beliefs and reinforcements

Positive and negative reinforcements

The pleasure felt during a pleasant sexual experience leaves us with a memory of satisfaction, which triggers the desire to repeat the experience.
Conversely, a painful experience leaves us with a painful memory, which will rather lead to an avoidance of this sexual activity in the future: an inhibition.
The experience does not need to be conscious: sexual traumas of childhood, even repressed, can provoke very strong inhibitions of which the person does not understand the origin.

This imagination / desire articulation will promote desire by relying on a positive experience (pleasant physical sensations, feeling of being loved, pleasure of orgasm) to promote positive reinforcement.

Helping beliefs and limiting beliefs

Depending on our education, family, social, religious environment, our encounters, we forged in childhood and adolescence a certain number of beliefs, positive or negative. They condition our vision of the world, our actions, and in general are self-sustaining.
There are many limiting beliefs related to sexuality that will block desire.

Sexually limiting beliefs can be linked to representations of normality related to the body (the size of the penis, the size of the chest, the belly) or to the performance (the speed of the erection, the number of times …),anatomy (my vagina is too small for a penis to fit in without hurting me)ideology sexual (masturbation is a shameful thing, sexuality must be centered on penetration), or even representations of sex role (the man is active the woman is passive).

Beliefs based on ” I must… “ Where ” it is necessary… ” (… that the sexual act ends in an orgasm, for example), and overall performance objectives, also risk transforming a pleasant activity into a demanding task, and greatly reduce its appeal!

Gilles Trudel also recalls perhaps the most widespread limiting belief: “Sexual development occurs spontaneously in a natural way”

To read :
Lack of libido: what are the causes? (Le Figaro Santé)
Libido problems in women: a common but poorly understood disorder (Planete Santé)

Motivation

Even without desire, or with weak desire, there may be other reasons for wanting to have sex.
Some examples :
• To please the other
• To make a child
• To show his commitment, his love
• To de-stress
• To achieve a strategic goal (social, financial, personal revenge)
• To feel desirable, boost your self-esteem
• To feel sexually “effective”, by perfectionism
• To keep the other (or for fear of abandonment or rejection)

Women appear to have more emotional motivations than men (Burleson, Todd & Trevathan, 2007).
These motivations can be experienced lightly in a couple.
But they can also be felt like painful constraints which force to accept an act which one dreads or which hurts… forcing oneself in this way can then lead to other sexual disorders.

GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hypoactive sexual desire in men: management in sexual medicine (Swiss Medical Review)

Decreased Sexual Desire: Assessment and Treatment Methods
TRUDEL, G., ed. Masson, 2003

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Decreased sexual desire or arousal? Sexual desire disorders • My sex blog


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