Women’s normal sexual function and motivation is much more complex than just the presence or absence of sexual desire. A female’s specific sexual response is affected by her overall physical, hormonal, and psychological health, and therefore, it is difficult to devise a model that can serve as a clinical standard.
Traditionally, women’s sexual response has been perceived as different phases, which always follow one another in a certain order: first, there is a desire for sex, creating sexual lust, happiness rising to orgasm, and happiness then decreases somewhat slower than in men. Recent research shows that such a streamlined pattern in which phase follows phase far from always available. Women describe overlapping phases of sexual response in different sequences and where the reactions from body and mind are mixed.
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That women have many reasons to take initiative or to join sex with their partner is an important observation. The sexual motivation of women is much more complex than just the presence or absence of sexual desire – that she thinks or fantasizes about sex and longs for sex between the sexual encounters. In a study of 3300 women, they found that their reasons for participating in sex were many: to express love, to achieve happiness, because the partner desires it, to ease stress. Conversely, there could be several reasons why they did not want sex, such as lack of interest, fatigue, physical problems with themselves or with the partner.
The woman’s sexual cycle
At the start of a sexual experience, the woman may well be without the desire for sex. The women’s reasons for initiating or joining in sex may involve a desire to show love, to receive and share physical pleasure, to feel emotionally closer, to satisfy the partner and to increase her own well-being. The motive may also be that it enhances self-esteem – feeling more attractive, feminine, appreciated, loved, desirous, and it reduces her feelings of anxiety and guilt about too little sex.
When a woman is willing to become sexually and enjoy the sexual experience, she focuses on her and her partner’s sexual stimulation. If stimulation is the way she wants it, the couple has enough time and she manages to stay focused, then sexual ignition occurs. Both the type of stimulation, the time required and the erotic and personal relationship between the two persons can vary a lot. Continuous stimulation leads to sexual excitement and well-being and gradually becomes more intense and triggers a desire for sex. Sexual desire, which was initially absent, is now present. Sexual satisfaction, with or without orgasm, occurs when stimulation continues for a long time and the woman manages to stay focused, enjoys the sense of sexual ignition and is free of any negative influence such as pain.
Spontaneous sexual desire
In some women, the desire for sex is spontaneous, by itself. It gives sexual ignition and increased enthusiasm to give and receive sexual stimuli. This type of sex desire can vary significantly between women and the individual woman, and it may be linked to the menstrual cycle. These experiences of spontaneous sexual desire diminish over the years and with the duration of the relationship, but can increase in any age in a new relationship.
Lack of sexual desire?
Previously, the experts felt that the woman’s sexual response always began with sexual desire, sexual thoughts and fantasies, and the absence of such an expression was a disorder. In a large study of women between the ages of 18 and 59, it was found that the most common sexual disorder was little or lacking in sex, which was present at approximately 1 out of 3 women and who varied a bit with age. Similar findings have been made in other studies. It is unclear how many of these women who simply report low or lack of spontaneously encountered sexual desire but who feel like being triggered during sexual activity and having good sex.
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In men, there is a clear connection between sexual ignition and swelling of the penis (erection). Corresponding strong relationships are not found in women. Unlike men, sexual perception in women is much more influenced by thoughts and feelings triggered by sexual excitement. The absence of enlarged clitoris, and increased vaginal moisture does not necessarily mean that the woman does want sex.