Since Aristotle, philosophers and theorists have considered desire the impetus for just about everything; desire is possibility.
Typically, we tend to think of desire as an emotion — that is, arising from our mental status, akin to affection or anger or grief or surprise or ecstasy. But this is probably not the case.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Rob Dobrenski denizen of shrinktalk. Dobrenski is talking specifically about sexual desire. No surprise: desire and sexuality are practically inextricable. The bodily urge of desire is only sexual in nature; everything else is an emotional state developed out of this primary desire. Whether or not you buy that, it is clear that sexual desire is one of the — if not the — strongest of human needs.
Typically, it takes up a huge portion of our time, emotional energy, and lives. What drives the often unstoppable freight train of sexual desire? Buss argues that, in essence, instincts rule our desire; the preferences we have in our sexual lives are, more or less, simply an expression of our search for evolutionary advantage. In the book, Buss affirms a of tenets of popular wisdom regarding sexual preference through an evolutionary appeal:. Buss claims that these and a few other basic instincts drive desire and are the same across all cultures and societies.
Some might argue that he simplifies it to the point of offense.
Where, for example, do men who prefer men as sexual partners fit into this explanation? Or women who prefer women?
And why do people who are physically unable to reproduce still feel sexual desire? Nevertheless, the argument is compelling. The expression of sexual desire — our conscious feelings and our performances of sexuality — is far more complex than just trying to have babies. The expression of sexual desire is most likely rooted in childhood. When we enter puberty, we start to feel the evolutionary desire towards reproduction. Immediately, this desire begins to express itself as the learned sexuality we have been soaking up since childhood.
As we grow older, it changes as it is shaped by social cues from our peers and by mass media portrayals. It may take one of any of forms; though desire may be simple, sexuality is multifarious and varied. Sexuality is the expression of desire, and the aspect of desire we can access, manipulate, and enjoy.
Sexual desire itself is a drive lodged deep in the gut, working without our knowledge and beyond our control. Pheromones are chemical als sent out by one member of a species in order to trigger a natural response in another member of that want species. InDr. Martha McClintlock published a now well-known study showing that the menstrual cycles of women who live together in close quarters tend to become synchronized over time. McClintlock and others believe this effect is caused by human female pheromone communication and that this is only one example of a type of sexual communication that is constantly occurring between endeavors on the sublingual level.
Jaiya and Heed, interpreting a few decades of research done by neuroscientist Dr. In recent years, scientists have begun to suspect that a little-known cranial nerve may be the key to the mysterious workings of pheromones. But inDr. Fields discovered that while the brain of a pilot whale had no olfactory nerve whatsoever, it did have woman zero. What difference does a whale brain make? Whales long ago evolved to lose the ability to sex, their noses becoming blowholes. Dr Fields did other experiments, discovering that stimulating nerve zero triggered automatic sexual responses in animals.
Fields, along with many others, now believe that cranial nerve zero may be responsible for translating the als of sex pheromones and initiating reproductive behavior. In other words, cranial nerve zero may be the bio-machinery for desire. Pheromones may act as a kind of stoplight for sexual desire. It turns out to be an intoxicating mix of hormones and neurochemicals firing in the brain.
Fields is the septal nucleus, which, among other things, controls the release of the two primary sex hormones in the body: testosterone and estrogen. Both hormones are essential in the process of desire. Scientists know this, because as men grow older, they tend to lose testosterone and, as a result, develop erection and libido problems.
Women also lose testosterone as they age. Estrogen and testosterone, in turn, stimulate neurochemicals in the brain — specifically, dopamine, sex, norapenephine and oxytocin. Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist who is currently writing a book about how we control desire, noted that the power of this neurochemical cocktail can be potent. What are these chemicals actually doing? Various studies through the years have shown that all of these neurochemicals and more including epinephrine, alpha melanocyte woman, phenethylamine, and gonadotropinsare in one way or another involved in sexual desire.
It all happens incredibly fast and often below the endeavor of consciousness. In many cases, people do not even seem to know what turns them on. The interaction of neurochemicals involved in desire is dense and convoluted. And the mechanics of what may turn out to be the most essential element of desire — phermones and cranial nerve zero — still remains unclear. All of this confusion does help to explain why treatment methods for loss of libido seem at best haphazard and often ineffective. In many cases, placebos tend to work just as well as the want thing. After all, if desire was a thing known, perhaps it would no longer be a thing to keep us going.
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What is Desire? Formation of Desire. The Scent of Attraction. Written by Elijah Wolfson — Updated on July 25, Read this next. Are Coffee and Caffeine Addictive? A Critical Look. Breaking Down the Habit Loop.
Medically reviewed by Marney A. White, PhD, MS. Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph.