The Art of Sexual Desire

Desire is “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen” (quote taken from Google). Sexual desire is encompasses your sexual wants and needs. A lot of people assume their partner is “in charge” of their own desire. Some consider sexual desire something to be repressed. Sexual desire is a part of every person. when we seek to understand and cultivate it, sexual desire can be a powerful, positive force in our lives and relationships.

Taking Responsibility

Like many powerful forces in nature, such as fire, sexuality can be used for destructive and harmful purposes, or it can provide warmth, comfort, and light. Sexuality in and of itself isn’t inherently good or bad, but how you use its powerful force is your choice.

Sexuality is a normal and wonderful part of being human, just as much as running, breathing, creating, feeling, and experiencing life’s ups and downs are part of being human. Just as we have the choice to develop our talents, our spirituality, our skills, and our mind, it’s up to each of us to cultivate our sexuality.

How that sexuality looks is completely yours and unique, just as individuals on this earth are unique and…well, individual. Just as there are a variety of plants, animals, and landscapes on this earth, there’s a variety of people, and that’s a good thing. Looking to outside sources to validate or establish what your sexuality should look like will never lead to a healthy ownership of your own sexuality. Discover within yourself what your sexuality is and make it your own kind of beauty.

Your sexuality belongs to you, not your spouse. Some people may grow up thinking their sexuality isn’t theirs but instead is for their future spouse. However, that line of thinking leads to problems. It will lead a person to not taking full responsibility for developing their own sexuality, and their personal sexual development often gets suppressed, leading to unnecessary feelings of guilt and shame within a relationship. 

If you think about it, you rarely–if ever–hear about dogs with sexual dysfunction like humans. Dogs just do their thing. But unlike humans, dogs aren’t capable of developing the deep connection and erotic pleasure that can accompany a healthy and beautiful sex life. Our attitude towards sexuality and how we take responsibility for cultivating healthy sexual desires is uniquely human.

The Art of Desire

Something else that’s uniquely human is the ability to choose, to act, and to desire. Desires, especially good desires, lead us to good actions. They are the foundation for goal-setting and fulfilling our dreams. In the context of healthy sexuality, cultivating a desire for one’s spouse leads to connection and pleasure. Desire is active and seeking. 

Healthy desire comes from a place of strength, from deep within. Desire leads us to dare greatly, to be open and vulnerable, to love, to receive others with open arms, and to build healthy relationships.

In our modern Western culture, many people don’t think to desire but instead focus on a more passive behavior: being desirable

Some are even taught that repressing sexual desires is a virtue, but that often leads to passivity in a relationship. Because they’ve repressed those feelings, people have a hard time receiving love, connection, and pleasure.  They are worried to take the step to desire because they might lose control.

Another common scenario is the wife makes herself “available” for sex when the husband wants it, but does not see herself as a sexual being. Rather, she sees herself just there to please him. So, she gives pleasure but never learns to receive on anything more than a superficial level. Culturally, the message some men and women learn is they will one day please their spouse, but they do not learn about their own capacity to experience desire or pleasure.

Pausing to think deeply about what we desire and courageously act on it involves risk. But the growth that comes as a result will always lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Giving & Receiving

Giving and receiving goodness is at the heart of intimacy and really good sex.

You probably know people who have a hard time receiving from others. In extreme cases, they’re untouchable, unknowable. They mistakenly believe it’s morally superior to never need anything from anybody, and only give to others. If others give to them, they feel guilty for receiving.

When it comes to our sexual relationship, cultivating the ability to receive pleasure is a gift we can give to our spouse. Intimacy is defined as being seen and known. Think of Intimacy as “into-me-see”: allowing another individual to see us for who we really are. When there’s a high level of trust in the relationship, the “into-me-see” is extended into “I want you to see me as I truly am, knowing that you’ll love and accept me, warts and all.” To reach this level of intimacy, we need to allow ourselves to receive the good desires our spouse brings to us.

On the flipside, you may know others who don’t care about giving, but only receiving. Narcissist is often a label given to these individuals—they’re too preoccupied with themselves and can’t see beyond their own nose to give of themselves to others. Their only goal is to take. It’s impossible to have a deeply intimate relationship without some (or a lot) of self-sacrifice and accommodation. It’s an individual’s responsibility to courageously cultivate the art of giving of themselves to and receiving from others, especially one’s spouse.

Your Sexual Capacity

It’s probably no surprise that, generally speaking, men and women experience their sexuality differently. Men are generally more spontaneous in their sexual desire, while women tend to be responsive in their sexual desire. Our modern American culture often makes men’s sexual response the default. However, the truth is that both men and women are both equally capable of amazing responses. One is not better than the other, and the danger with establishing one gender’s typical sexual response as the norm creates a double standard. If you have trouble finding the balance between your desire and your spouses, try reading our post when the Higher Desire Spouse is Anxious for Sex.

There’s also a problem in predominantly patriarchal societies, as benevolent as they may be. For instance, most churches run by men only teach sexuality from a man’s perspective, making the male sexual response the norm. Because this is such a commonly taught message, it’s important to pay close attention to whether we’re judging our sexuality from external or internal sources. 

Those with the healthiest and most vibrant sex lives embrace their sexual response for what it is and don’t compare or judge it by what society, gender stereotypes, culture, or false traditions may suggest.

Being Okay With Desiring Sex

Desires are a good thing. Suppressing your desires leads you to be wantless and needless, which don’t make great life companions. How boring it would be to be with someone that never wants or needs you!

Give yourself permission to desire your spouse sexually! Wanting good things in your life help you grow and develop your potential. Desiring a vibrant sex life with your spouse will inevitably lead you to become more thoughtful, kind, loving, virtuous, and patient.

Conclusion

Your sexuality is a wonderful gift. This gift comes with the responsibility to understand, nurture, and take came of your own sexual desire. If you’re looking for a way to get started, download our free Intimately Us app! On the app, you can learn about sex and intimacy. The app provides intimacy building daily challenges, as well as prompts to help you explore your personal sexuality.

Phone Screens of Intimately Us App

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<h3>Amanda Severson</h3>

Amanda Severson

Hi, I'm Amanda! I'm a grad student on her way to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I'm a wife and a sex enthusiast. I am a psychology nerd whose life goal is to help every couple find the absolute joy of sharing your life with someone else.

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