Sexology has a lot to say about erotic desire. The complexity that surrounds this fact makes it one of the most interesting. More and more sexology professionals are showing interest in investigating it.

Sexual desire, also known as erotic desire, is one of the most interesting concepts in Sexology . It is also a difficult concept to define, describe and measure.

Sexology, as a science that studies the sexes and everything that surrounds them, is in charge of studying it. To date, numerous authors have tried to investigate erotic desire, but the truth is that few have shed some light on this phenomenon.

Psychology, above all, in its most applied field, focuses on three planes: emotions, thoughts and behavior. Some authors have tried to situate desire in one of them. However, the desire is so complex that it cannot be defined as inherent to only one of them.

Erotic desire is not an emotion, because our emotional states can be changed through cognitive restructuring or behavior modification; not so desire, which has an immutable character that sets it apart from being considered an emotion .

This same character is what discards desire as a fact belonging to the cognitive plane. And, it goes without saying, that desire can never be defined based on behavior, since we can desire in a certain way and behave in a different way for many different reasons. Therefore, we could say that erotic desire is a fact that connects with the three planes, but does not belong exclusively to any one.

Redefining erotic desire

Freud tried to define desire using the concept of “libido”; It is still used today, although it is not a very exact term. It is not easy to define desire in scientific or operational terms. If today there is a lot of bias in the research of these concepts, a hundred years ago it was greater. Freud himself, speaking of desire, said that ” where men love they have no desire, and where they desire they cannot love .”

Helen Singer Kaplan made a very important contribution on the theories of erotic desire . This doctor in Psychology introduced desire into the famous model of the human sexual response by Masters and Johnson (arousal, plateau, orgasm, resolution), leaving said model in the phases “desire, arousal, orgasm, and resolution.”

Stephen B. Levine has been one of the most renowned researchers on desire. This North American psychiatrist defined it in three components: the impulse, the desire and the motive .

However, one of the best reflections on desire is offered by John Bancroft . This doctor was talking about desire as something experiential and not neurophysiological. For him, this fact must be described by identifying three dimensions: cognitive, affective and neurophysiological .

Today, there are many authors who investigate and write about erotic desire . In Spain we have very authoritative voices that have been studying this phenomenon for years. Joserra Landarroitajauregi, Francisco Cabello and Miren Larrazabal are three of the sexologists who have dedicated the most time to him.

Characteristics of erotic desire

There is no universal or official definition of this concept : it has some very particular characteristics that make it a very complex object of study. Some of its most important characteristics are the following:

  • uncontrollable . Yes, erotic desire cannot be controlled. What is under our control is behavior . Although we have a certain desire towards something or someone, we do not have to carry it out, but suppressing or changing the direction of that desire is, in principle, unfeasible.
  • involuntary . The desire is not subject to our will  because it is likely that if many people could choose the direction or intensity of their desire, perhaps they would choose another way of wishing.
  • lawless . The erotic desire does not have an order, it does not have a specific hierarchy . Sometimes we wish for people who do not have an important role in our day to day. We can even erotically desire people we just met, for no apparent reason, more than others who have been in our lives for years.
  • incoherent . Has it ever happened to you that you have wanted someone you don’t like? Well, that is one of the manifestations of the incoherence of desire. The incoherence of desire runs into many areas of our life. We can desire people of a different ideology from ours, of a different religious confession, with different lifestyles and even, a priori, incompatible…
  • promiscuous _ Above all, promiscuous. Promiscuity is the main feature of desire. It is the word that best describes it. Within the world of each person’s desires, anything goes, absolutely anything, and no one can rule over it, regardless of social conventions, stereotypes, prejudices, beauty canons, etc.

These characteristics, while making it a very difficult fact to investigate, also make it one of the most curious, intense and beautiful facts that are part of us .

Desire is related to our intimacy, it happens in the depths of our being, and no one has access to it but ourselves. In the world our erotic desire, there are no limits, no rules. Therefore, desire is one of the purest and most beautiful manifestations of human freedom .

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