Hi. Did you see this? I am curious about your view on the desire/arousal distinction…I wonder if… you think women can be categorized as either having hunger or responsive arousal…:)
This question, from a sexy reader who hasn’t yet sucked my cock, but who, I’m fully confident, will. (If you don’t follow the link, it’s a link to an article in the NY Times about “hypoactive sexual desire” in women, and the debates about a) whether it exists, b) whether it’s a disorder, and c) whether drugs can treat it.
Generalizations usually are wrong. The human sexual response cycle is not one thing. Masters and Johnson came up with the idea, but they got it wrong. They described it as linear, progressing from excitement, to “plateau,” to orgasm, to “resolution.” And they omitted “desire” entirely. For many, this sequence surely is (often) true. But for many it never is. For some it occasionally is. For some it mostly is. There are other ways – infinite other ways, I suspect – it can work.
Many people, probably more women than men, experience desire in response to arousal. This is an area where language is especially un-helpful, drawing lines between experiences and sensations arbitrarily, almost like colonial borders drawn on a map of Africa. Desire and arousal aren’t entirely separate phenomena, but neither are they entirely contiguous. Language doesn’t do well with concepts that are related in that way, implying, as it does, that they’re somehow different/separate, and either synonymous, different, or antonymic. But in fact, they can be multiple things at multiple times for multiple people.
For me, arousal barely requires desire to appear. Friction, or physical stimulation, often, is adequate. And desire is rarely predictive of arousal. I’ve written about Viagra, about my use of it, and about the frequency with which “failure to launch” occurs – everywhere, but especially in sex clubs and other group sex situations. I can remember many times my cock has been rock hard in the complete absence of desire, and equally many, alas, when it was limp and flaccid in spite of my raging desire. Incidentally, pretty much the only thing that can make me come without my affirmatively deciding to come is a woman’s orgasm. (It can’t often, but once in a while, it does.) So here’s an example of another person’s arousal affecting mine.
When I was seventeen, “on the bus” was, in my crowd, a euphemism for “having an erection.” That’s all it took. A little bouncing up and down, a little vibration, and poof – I was hard!
Nowadays, there’s a bit more alchemy to it – a mix, perhaps, of stimulation, desire, and arousal – mine, and my partners – all create a sort of synergistic feedback loop, and my cock stiffens.
We’re all ill served by assumptions that desire and arousal “work” in a certain, universal way. Or, in a certain gendered way. I’m much more interested in how your sexual response works tonight, with me, than I am in platitudes, generalizations, or assumptions.