Better terminology for desire: spontaneous or responsive

It’s common to talk about our desire as either “higher” or “lower.” And it’s good to know how you relate to your partner. Are you the partner with higher desire or lower?

And also know that desire is all relative. Maybe both you and your partner are “high” desire, one of you is just “high-ER” than the other.

Or conversely, maybe you are both on the low end of the spectrum.

So are you comparing yourself to your partner, or to the rest of the world and what is “normal?”

Let me just tell you that EVERYTHING is normal.

But words that are even more useful than “higher” and “lower” are spontaneous and responsive.

Lest you think I am all smart, I got this from Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski. She is the smart one!

Spontaneous desire is when you just naturally and without trigger, feel desire for sex. Generally speaking, these are the “higher” desire spouses out there.

Responsive desire is when you feel desire only after something explicitly erotic is happening (like your partner initiating sex). Usually this is what we think of as “lower” desire partners.

Just keep in mind that every brain functions uniquely. Whether you are spontaneous desire or responsive desire is just a neutral circumstance. It is neither good or bad until you have an opinion about it.

Our culture would have us believe that having spontaneous desire is better somehow. But who made that rule up? (Emily talks about how this is a leftover artifact of a patriarchal society.)

The reason I think these words are more useful is that in our minds when we use words like ‘higher’ and ‘lower,’ it is difficult to not associate that with ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ High and low is just a visual we often use to connote better and worse. Like the idea of a totem pole. The faces at the top were more powerful.

But when we use ‘spontaneous’ and ‘responsive’ this doesn’t happen. There is no good or bad, it’s just how your brain responds.

Emily makes this point, and I completely agree with her: How you think about your sexual desire is more important that what your sexual desire actually is.

So what category do you fall under? How do you feel about that?

***

PS. Yesterday started my 30 days of blog posts. If there is a question or topic you would like to see addressed, please comment or email me. And as always, I would love it if you shared my posts with anyone you think could benefit from them. Or use them as a conversation starter with your spouse.