A leading psychologist says that our notion of an ever-present “sex drive” is all wrong. In fact, she claims there is no such thing as a sex drive in humans but rather “spontaneous desire.” In addition to making claims that there really is no such thing as a sex drive, the psychologist also notes that 90 percent of women are not spontaneous in the bedroom and require stimulation to achieve desire. Whereas, 70 percent of men can obtain spontaneous desire based on fantasy alone.
The opinion was published in New Science by Emily Nagoski, the director of Wellness Education at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Nagoski claims that sex drive doesn’t exist because a drive is part of a “motivational system to deal with life-or-death issues.” She claims that since you can’t die from not having sex, there is no “drive” in a sexual scenario. Despite saying she doesn’t believe that sex can truly be a drive, she does concede that many scientists feel a drive is possible due to the need to reproduce. However, Nagoski feels that a better term for sex drive would be “spontaneous desire.”
Spontaneous desire would be the sexual urge that follows thinking a sexy thought or seeing an attractive person. There is also another form of desire she refers to as “responsive desire.” This would be desire that comes after some sort of physical arousal such as a kiss on the neck or some sort of touch.
“When you see a sexy person or have a stray sexy thought, it activates an internal craving or urge for sex. That’s called “spontaneous desire”. It feels like it comes out of the blue. But there is another way of experiencing desire which is also healthy and normal, called “responsive desire”, where your interest only emerges in response to arousal. So, your partner comes over and starts kissing your neck and you’re like, ‘oh, right, sex, that’s a good idea.'”
Nagoski says that women are more commonly in the “responsive desire” category, whereas, men are more likely to experience “spontaneous desire.” Statistically, 90 percent of women say they do not experience spontaneous desire. However, 70 percent of men say that they do.
The Daily Mail notes that other researchers have come forward to say that women should not be treated for a lack of spontaneous desire, but rather they should be offered reassurance that their responsive desires are completely normal. Researchers and psychologists claim that if a woman understands that spontaneous desire is not necessary for a satisfying sexual life, they will have more confidence in their bodies and sexuality and be able to enjoy sex more.
What do you think of Nagoski’s assumption that sex drive is all a myth? Does it surprise you that women typically experience “responsive desire” and men “spontaneous desire”?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Mario Tama]