Sexual Desire in Women
Is the physical experience of genital arousal
enough for women to feel sexually attracted
to a potential partner? Or do women need to feel
subjective feelings of sexual attraction as well?
This raises questions about whether objective or
physiological arousal is sufficient to stimulate
feelings of sexual desire in women and whether
women respond differently to physiological
sexual arousal than men do.
Women’s conscious evaluations of their
own subjective sexual arousal may be
more important than their objective levels
of physiological arousal when perceiving sexual stimuli.
Because women invest more time and energy in
producing offspring than men do, women’s “default”
response to sexual requests may be negative.
Therefore, women should be expected to refuse
most sexual advances.
This default negative response for women might be more
likely when the sexual advance comes from an unfamiliar man.
Factors such as culture, education, and religion have
stronger effects on women’s sexual desires than men’s.
For someone to experience sexual emotions, both
the physiological/genital arousal and the
subjective experience of sexual arousal are necessary.
Women may be more likely to inhibit or check
their physiological sexual responses than men.
The experience of an emotion depends not only on
physiological arousal but also on the cognitive
label which we apply to those feelings of arousal.
Women may not experience genital arousal as
sexual desire unless they also experience
subjective sexual arousal for a particular partner.
Although women’s feelings of sexual attraction may
be more fluid or flexible than men’s, women may
be just as likely as men to only experience subjective
feelings of sexual attraction to certain sex partners.
Sexual desire is the single most common
arousal event in the lives of men and women.
Sexual desire is a subjective feeling which
can be triggered by both internal and external cues.
Sexual desire can be aroused through imagination
and sexual fantasies, or perceiving an individual
whom one finds attractive.
Sexual desire is also created and amplified through
sexual tension, which is caused by sexual desire
that has yet to be consummated.