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Spontaneous / Responsive / Contextual Sexual Desire

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Spontaneous sexual desire is exactly what it sounds like. It shows up instantly, with or without stimulation. Nagoski notes 75% of men experience spontaneous desire, as well as 15% of women. When it comes to Marcie and Joe, Joe falls into the “75% of men” category.

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This means 25% of men and the vast majority of women, 85%, do not experience spontaneous desire.

Spontaneous sexual desire as a prerequisite for sex supports a linear view of sexuality dating back to the late 1970s. In fact, researchers did not include desire on the spectrum of human sexuality until Helen Kaplan Singer created the Triphasic Model of the human sexual response cycle. Singer included three distinct phases: desire, excitement, and orgasm, with desire as the entry point.

So how do 85% of women experience sexual pleasure or “excitement” if they do not experience spontaneous desire? Nagoski noted two other types of desire that women more often fall into: responsive and contextual.

Responsive sexual desire is when desire shows up in response to stimulation, meaning something sexy happens and the body responds. Marcie falls more into this category. When Joe initiates, her mind and body enjoy the stimulation, and desire—or “wanting more of that feeling”—activates.

Nagoski found 5% of men and 30% of women experience responsive desire, meaning these folks, like Marcie, need more than a sexy thought to “want” sex.

Yet there remains a large percentage of women and a smaller percentage of men who do not fall into the responsive desire category, either.

Contextual sexual desire is when the circumstances and environment impact the ability to feel sexual desire. Think about what it’s like to drum up desire when your kids are in the next room, you feel stressed out by financial burdens, or you just ate a huge steak dinner. Sex may not be the first thing on your mind.

Nagoski notes most people, regardless of gender, fall within a blend of responsive and contextual desire, but for some, desire can feel spontaneous. They simply may not be aware of the other factors at play. For many individuals, context matters.

Marcie felt confused when she learned about the “universe of desire” because she always considered herself a non-sexual person. In therapy, our work focused on normalizing how she experienced desire—not as a flaw, an inadequacy, or something wrong with her, but as perfectly normal.

This work helped her shift her sexual self-concept so she could see herself as a woman capable of desire, lust, and erotic energy. It also helped her recognize she did indeed experience desire, just not in the same way Joe did.

Our work also helped Joe better understand how Marcie’s desire worked. He learned to view both responses as healthy and normal. This helped Joe depersonalize Marcie’s lack of sexual advancements and see himself as desirable.

Together, they embraced their differences and worked on improving how to meet each other’s natural sexual responses.

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Contextual desire is definitely real as real gets.

You take 3 women out to the quiet cove beach in the boat and they will be all calm, collected, and reserved. Then you boat on over to the party cove where the loud music and party is flowing with girls dancing on back the boats…. Those 3 women in your boat will have a totally different vibe.
Chicks are totally responsive to their environment.
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I experience all types of desire listed regularly as a female, so...

I've spent a bit of time on a dead bedroom forum. A lot of posters try taking their partners on mini-vacations and even expensive full trips in an attempt to spawn desire for sex. Nearly always fails. Maybe a 5% success rate. And even then the sex seems to happen once and that's it for weeks/months. Plus you get the impression from the stories that the sex they had was duty sex because they're on a trip and sex is expected.

Most sexless relationships seem to fall into these categories

1) Low Libido in general. Just not into sex.

2) Low Libido for YOU. The "low libido" person is simply not attracted sexually to their partner, but they want to keep the relationship due to emotional attachment, for stability, kids, finances, etc.

3) Low Libido because their partner did a BIG BAD and their attraction died.
I reviewed my statement and uuummmm. Yeah you right !!!! Last statement has been removed 👍
Did you say I'm right? Oh, chit! I..uhh...don't know what to do. This hasn't happened before!
I can assure you that is likely the first and last time (especially since you’re just a lowly female) so don’t go soaking up that sunshine too long 😜
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