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There's more than one way to experience desire

by Step Tranovich on September 14, 2022

Hellooooo friends!

Step here, feeling inspired by the stories you've shared with us… and also somewhat awed by the multiplicity of experiences that exist.

The version of sex we see in popular media can be so limited.

It's nice when we can remind ourselves that there is no "normal," and that however we experience our sexuality is valid.

One of the biggest misperceptions around sex has to do with how we experience desire. There's this misguided belief that desire for others should pop up out of the blue because, well, that's how relationships — monogamous or otherwise — work.

Or we assume that folks are always up for a self-pleasure session because, well, why wouldn’t we be?

But that's only one type of desire, known as spontaneous desire.

And not everyone feels it.

Instead, plenty of us experience responsive desire, which means we only feel a sense of wanting after being stimulated.

Some of us experience one type of desire all the time. Others of us ping-pong back and forth between the two. And for all of us, the amount of desire we feel can fluctuate.

Basically, whether we're asexual, greysexual, pansexual, or something else entirely, we all experience desire differently.

But what does this mean for our sex lives?

Here are some tips for navigating desire.

Tip #1. Instead of assuming that you're Doing It Wrong, think about how desire has come up for you in the past. However you experience desire, know that it's not right or wrong. It just is.

Tip #2. Think about the contexts in which you experience desire. What things make you want to engage in sexual activities, solo or otherwise, and which leads you to slam on the brakes? What can you do with that information? Take some time to reflect on this, perhaps through journaling. Understanding yourself will only lead to a better time.

Tip #3. If you’re partnered up, communicate with your partners about what gives you desire. We've talked about communication in a past email, but it's key here, as folks with higher levels of desire can feel rejected by their partners, and folks with lower levels of desire can feel guilt and resentment. But how we experience desire is not a reflection of how we feel about our partners. And they need to know that.

Tip #4. Work together to find a middle ground or, if you’re flying solo, think about what’s holding you back from connecting to your more sensual self. This can mean eliminating some of the things that make you avoid intimacy or increasing your access to those things that make you feel extra sexy. It can mean redefining what sex means to you, asking yourself, "What would be nice right now?"

Tip #5. Know that your experience and levels of desire are always changing. If you know that — and are prepared to roll with it — you're golden.

BONUS TIP FOR THOSE WITH RESPONSIVE DESIRE: Take time to indulge in self-pleasure, either with or without toys.
🐙 Though our toys can certainly hit the spot 🐙

You can play alone. You can try mutual masturbation.

Either way, giving yourself time to feel good in your own body may lead to you wanting more…

…though if self-pleasure is as much as you're in the mood for, we'd consider that a win, too. 😉

Good luck out there, folks. And if you have any other sex ed questions, 📧 let us know!


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