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What is sexual desire?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Desire can be dissected into three parts: sexual drive, sexual wish, and sexual motive. Sexual drive is an impulse for sexual release. It can manifest itself as a longing to reproduce or to have sex, erotic thoughts or dreams, or an urge to masturbate. Sexual wish is the willingness to have sex. Even if an individual's physiological need for sex is weak, he or she may wish to participate in the activity to feel more connected to another person, to feel more masculine or feminine, or to feel more physically energetic. Sexual motive is the combination of factors that impel a person to want sex.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.