Different Types of Sexual Desire

Do you know your sexual needs?

Part I

Sexual desire is one of the most complex and mysterious aspects of human sexuality. The evolution of sexual desire in a person and in couples is a process that can be separated in many steps and it does not respect a linear path. This process is unique for everyone depending on their experiences, their values and perceptions of sexuality. This article will explore different types of sexual desires and their possible varieties in individuals and couples

Categories of sexual desire


Sexual desire can be physiological, which consist of a cocktail of hormones and sensory stimuli (visual, touch, hearing, smell, taste) that give us that urge to have sexual activities. This category of sexual desire is often perceived as animalistic and based on hormones and it calls upon our basic instincts of reproduction and of searching for physical pleasure.
We can actually separate this category in 2 distinct types. The first one is called hygienic, which is when we feel a sexual tension in the area of the genitals that needs to be released by sexual activity such as masturbation or sexual intercourse so that we may feel pleasure following this release. This sexual desire can be created by an accumulation of stress and is transformed into muscular tension in the waist area that needs to be liberated or relaxed. This type of desire is more common in men, but it is also found in many women. It creates a need or desire to liberate the muscular tensions because of the discomfort. This desire doesn’t require an emotional or relational aspect to it.
The second type is created by the change in the levels of hormones that are secreted in the body to fulfilour instinct of reproduction. This desire is often in cycles in relation to ovulation in women. Men on the other hand, have a daily cycle of hormones, which make it harder to pinpoint due to the small length of time between them.

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Emotional :

Another category is constructed through emotions. This category is more complex than the last as it has many aspects that come into play. It’s important not to mix this category with the sexual desire based on relationships, which is a category in itself. The difference between the physiological and emotional categories it that their is an emotional component that isn’t necessarily focusedtowards another person. For example, one of the types of sexual desire in the emotional category is the desire motivated to have children. This desire is not based solely on the purpose of procreation, but rather on the emotional aspect of wanting a child of our own. This sexual desire tends to disappear once the family has been formed. It is different from the relational category as it doesn’t pertain to the relationship to the partner necessarily. It is more common in women and they can tend to lose their sexual desire entirely, once they’ve had the babies they wanted.
Another type in this category is the desire for penetration or being penetrated. This sexual desire is motivated by a the need for sexual activities where penetration is present and a central focus of sex. The sensations are strongly related and focused by the desire to penetrate or be penetrated and satisfaction will not be achieved if there is lack thereof.
We can also find a type of sexual desire that is based on the need to fulfil emotional needs of affection, but that is transformed into sexual arousal. This need is met when we make love in a romantic, tender and loving way. Touches are more soft, slow and sensual and we kiss slowly with intent.
Finally, the erotic or carnal sexual desire is characterized by a sexual and emotional intensity where there is a profound liberation of inhibitions and of letting ourselves go entirely to our pleasure. Theses sexual activities are filled with creativity, newness and a certain ferocity that brings partners in a torrid sexual exchange and sensuality. Often shared with a partner that we’ve known for quite a while, some are only capable of feeling this type of sexual desire with strangers in one night stands.

Nota Bene

It is possible that theses multiple categories and types of sexual desire are combined together and they are not exclusive from one another. Each one brings a different dynamic and approach to sexual activities and the attitudes are variable according to the person. Sexual desire can be influenced by a variety of elements such as anxiety, sexual preferences, our Modes of Sexual Arousal (MSA), our needs at the present moment or the relationship we have with our sexual partner. There is no major difference between genders when it comes to different types and categories of sexual desire. Finally, the relationships component brings us to our last category of sexual desire. Read the rest…

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Learn more about the author

Francois Renaud M.A.

Sex therapist & psychotherapist in Downtown Montreal
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