Elucidating Women's (hetero)Sexual Desire: Definitional Challenges and Content Expansion

Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154-5030, USA.
The Journal of Sex Research (Impact Factor: 2.53). 03/2010; 47(2):104-22. DOI: 10.1080/00224490903402546
Source: PubMed


The literature on women's sexual desire is reviewed with an emphasis on definitional challenges, an assessment of the empirical basis for the distinction between spontaneous and responsive desire, a reconsideration of the extent to which women's sexual desire is relational in nature, and an exploration of the incentive value of sex for women as a factor partially independent from the experience of sexual desire. Nine recommendations are made regarding research and diagnostic directions. The article concludes with an appeal for the inclusion of eroticism in research and clinical work on sexual desire.

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    • "Being in an intimate relationship usually involves risks. They can be related to personal vulnerability , including the fear of rejection, exposure, loss of control or betrayal (Hatfield, 1984; Patrick & Beckenbach, 2009), or to the boredom and routine that characterize many longterm relationships (Pedersen & Blekesaune, 2003; Sims & Meana, 2010). In the clinical context, emotionally fused or poorly differentiated intimate relationships, characterized by overreliance on other-validation and a lack of autonomy, have been proposed as being particularly damaging to sexual desire (Perel, 2007; Schnarch, 2009). "
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    Archives of Sexual Behavior 05/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10508-015-0538-9 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    • "In our own research, many women reported that they were concerned about weight gain or other bodily changes after menopause, but that their partners reassured them that they were still attractive: ''My partner tells me I am beautiful, and so I have to believe it''; ''it has strengthened our relationship and made me feel more confident sexually and physically that he obviously does find me attractive.'' Feeling desired is central to many women's sexual desire (Graham et al., 2004), with the desire to be desired often difficult to distinguish from the desire to have sex (Meana, 2010). In our research, we found evidence of partner desire being described as the reason why many women were continuing to enjoy sexual activity following menopause: ''he shows he loves me more often, both in and out of the bedroom;'' ''my husband still loves me and desires me so that has made me feel appreciated by him and I love him even more.'' "
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