DISCUSSION: The meaning of desire


In today’s column I want to share a hypothesis. I write a lot about the dynamics of sexual relationships, and one subject that has consumed me lately is sexual arousal. 

What causes it? Why do men and women seem to experience it differently?

I’ve come to this conclusion: The concept of "sex" as we refer to it is not confined to the sex act. Humans are not aroused by the sex act in itself, but by the power dynamic. We are aroused by the feeling of desire, and we climax when we obtain power. I've found that these feelings can exist independently from the sex act, and in women for the most part, they do. 

The implication of this is that the sex act is not a means in itself, but a consequence, a way to expedite orgasm when everything else is in place. The sex act cannot cause the feelings that are required for arousal and climax to happen. And without arousal, the sex act is pointless, undesirable even, a chore, like squirting seawater into your nose.

So what makes us feel desire, and power? We feel desire for those things that we value the most. The things that we regard as necessary to reach our full potential and be happy. I realise this is largely subconscious and abstract, but I will put some examples in the pages that follow, and answer common questions.

The main point that I want to put across is that a woman becomes sexually aroused when faced with those things that have value for her, and these can be anything. Beautiful houses, cars, handbags, a multitude of objects that are expensive and beautiful, as well as non material qualities like receiving love, security, help in any way. Can adoration be considered something we value? Perhaps- and perhaps wrongly.

The question on everybody’s lips: How does this explain that women are aroused by the female body? That’s because the female body, and sex with a female, in our society, is considered a triumph and holds an enormous amount of power. For everyone, including women. This explains why women are just as obsessed with the naked female body as men, why they turn themselves on, and why narcissism has grown dramatically as women's bodies have become more and more objectified. The subconscious message is: there is value here, there is desire for this.

The male body doesn't cause arousal because it is not objectified in the same way, even though you could argue that since (allegedly) men want more sex, their body should be more sexualised. But it isn’t so. 


It goes without saying that sexual intercourse as a biological need can last 5 seconds and has no further repercussion than a possible pregnancy. It doesn't require partnership, it doesn't require loyalty, it doesn't require climax, it doesn't require one-to-one relationships at all.

Sexual intercourse as we understand it, is a power exchange. What we find desirable in it, is that we can obtain power from it. And for someone to receive power, power has to be handed over. 

Examples: A way in which women hand over power, is by giving access to their sexual organs. The main way men receive power through the sex act, is by using female organs for masturbation. Since the man is gaining power from this exchange, arousal happens always and instantly for him.

Since the woman is the one handing out power in this exchange, the sex act in itself will not cause excitement for a woman. 

Even though the sex act always brings value to a man, inherently, because the female sex organs have value in themselves, even then, you will find that men don't seek sex with women that they don't find other values in,  independent from the actual sex act. We don't talk about this, and men don’t like to make a point of it, but you will see this happening if you just observe: Men don't generally seek to have sex with women who are much older and less attractive than them. Look at the majority of couples. You will rarely find a man competing for a woman that doesn't bring him status on some level. The sex act is actually not the priority even for the men who claim it is.

To continue: Since women are the ones that hand over power through the sex act, we don't have power to gain from it. Therefore we are not aroused by the sex act in itself. There is no value there for us.

I don't mean with this that men have no value for us. Of course they do- or not- just like any other human will, or won't. It depends on the person, and the qualities of that person. If a person has qualities that we value and that we want in our life, then that will arouse us, we will become obsessed with that person, to the point where we will want to masturbate. Desire for values physically excites us.

I don't understand why most men have a problem with this. Why would you be happier to be wanted for a sex act alone, that can easily be achieved through isolated masturbation in a few seconds? It's much more noble and rare to be desired by the values that you represent for somebody else.

I think there is a huge misunderstanding: We are judging women as if women could find value in sex alone and were being ungrateful about it. We don't. Not only do we not find value in the act, we hand over power through it, we are handing over value, before having negotiated what value we are gaining if at all. It is moral suicide.

I want to argue that this is not so, because I love having sex and I love men, but I observe and I communicate:

You will see that although women are pressured to have sex (ie. hand over power) immediately, they don't gain anything from it. They are not happier, they don't gain social status, they don't get love from the man they have slept with, they don't find loyalty. They don't get any of the things that a woman wants. How is that "healthy" for a woman? How is that encouraged? And how can she be made feel guilty if she doesn’t go along with that?

Women don't ask other women how many men they have slept with, they ask how long the man is gonna stay, how much of his time he is giving away, and how much of his money he is investing in her. I'm not saying this is good judgement, I'm just saying, this is how it is. A woman sleeping with a man, and that man rejecting her as her girlfriend, is the biggest tragedy for a woman, and makes her enormously miserable and makes her status decline in her social scene. The fact that this suffering is normalised, brushed off, encouraged- that’s when I have a problem.

So onto brighter things- how does a woman get value from a man? The same way she'd get value from anyone else. The same way men get value from women, really. The only difference is the sex act dynamic that I described- everything else is the same. Humans prefer lovers who are young, hot and sexy and smart and funny, they seek love, companionship, loyalty, anything material that they might want to make their lives more comfortable, a family...

Women give all the love, loyalty, space and sweetness automatically when a sexual relationship starts, so men don't have to worry about not getting these. But men don't give out those things naturally, so women have to go through hoops and negotiations to get them.

Imagine this: If women had sex like men do, without any attachment, without being sweet, without wanting to see the man again- I bet you anything that men would be going crazy. They need it as much as we do.

Men are smart about it: They know, perhaps subconsciously, that their love, their time, their loyalty- is power. When they give that, they are handing over power. They guard this power as if their lives depended on it. While women seem completely oblivious to this whole dance.

If you want to hear me touch on this subject, putting examples, and getting a bit confused on the way there, click on my audio link for this and plenty of tangents. This is me trying to make sense with myself. I will do more.


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