Desire is a strong feeling that motivates someone to attain something and possess it. In Hindu philosophy, the term Kama is defined as the desire for sexual pleasure and longing. Kama is the third Purushartha which is considered essential for the well-being of the individual. Elevating Kama is cosmic and human energy which holds the life and animates it. Biologically, when a child hits puberty, several hormones start working and sex hormones are one of them. These urges also depend on and are influenced by various other factors like emotional connection, personal experience, cultural norms, and relationship dynamics. Libido is a term that is commonly used to describe sexual drive or a desire for sexual activity, the level of libido specifies the sexual desire of an individual, decreased level of libido signifies low sexual desires and high level of libido means a high level of sexual urges.
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Dynamics of Sexual Desires Throughout Life
These desires are healthy and vary with the individual. Often fluctuate throughout the different stages of life, this fluctuation can be observed due to hormonal changes, social factors, and cultural factors. As earlier in was mentioned earlier during puberty several hormones start secreting inside the body, hormones like testosterone in males and estrogen in females starts secreting as sex hormone. These hormones lead one to highlight the curiosity for sexual drive and exploration. In the late teens and early twenties, the desire remains high for many individuals and this is the time when a person gets to know about their sexuality and explore things by making relationships. In their thirties and forties, there is some variation when the person reaches the age when they begin deciding on a job, responsibilities, and family decisions that might impact their libido. But they remain sexually healthy and maintain healthy relationships sexually.
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There is onset decline that can be observed during the late forties and fifties, menopause (decrease in estrogen) in women, and andropause (decline in testosterone level) in men. The low level of libido can be observed during this stage of life which affects sexual desire and performance. Sexual desires remain strongly active for many older adults, but physical condition, medication, emotional well-being, and relationships affect the libido. But it varies individually, some older adults fulfill their sexual desire even in old age.
Sexual Desires and Mental Well-being
Everything that we study has two aspects-Positive and negative as the thing that has positive effects comes with negative too similarly sexual desires and their impact on mental health also have both effects as we are here talking about mental health it is natural that it will be affected by both the dimensions.
Positive Impact of Sexual Desires
- Enhance Well-being, a person having a healthy and active sex life can contribute to overall well-being, happiness, and stress reduction. Nowadays people are stressed by the daily Hussle and having a healthy sex life reduces much of the stress as Engaging in sexual activities can release Endorphins, which are also known as ‘feel-good ‘hormones, promoting positive mood and reducing anxiety. It also helps to deal with individuals with anxiety and depression and makes them feel good about their lives.
- Improved Self-esteem, as the word has a heavy meaning how to value and perceive ourselves. Positive sexual experiences can boost self-esteem and body image. As for women the way they see their bodies can have an impact on their sexual desires. Feeling desired by the partner can increase feelings of self-worth and confidence.
It can also promote happiness and fulfill satisfaction in the major area of life as sexual feelings is something that make people overly joyed after a certain age and having it makes it pleasurable. It boosts the confidence of the partners toward each other.
Negative Impact of Sexual Desires
1. Sexual Dysfunction:
Sexual dysfunction is defined as the persistent, recurrent difficulty with sexual responses, desire, orgasm or pain. It is the most uncomfortable thing to deal in a sexual activity as it reduces the pleasurable effect of sex. Experiencing sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido, can lead to frustration, anxiety and depression. As the partner won’t be able to give much satisfaction and this can lead to strained relationships and may impact it in a negative manner. By this point we came to known that sexual feelings are something which is needed most at a particular period or age as mainly people who are married or in any relationship need it the most and thus this feeling impact their mental health as it is something which a person is fond of.
2. Unwanted Sexual Experiences:
There are many cases in the world where the, people have encountered unwanted sexual experiences and most of it affects them
negatively in one way or the other. Experiencing sexual harassment, assault, or any other unwanted advances can lead to emotional trauma and mental health issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also effects the daily life of the individual as it leads a huge void in a person’s life and, it destroys the person’s mental health and his or her sexual desires. It also is an inhuman thing to do, and many measures have taken to improve wellbeing and mental health.
3. Relationship Issues:
the moment relationship conflicts and issues occur in any relationship the feeling of sex gets reduced as their remains a less attraction towards the partner. Conflicts related to sexual desire disparities or infidelity can cause relationship stress and negatively affect mental health for both partners. It can also leads to low self-esteem and self-worth and feelings of hopelessness. The individuals can also have an unhealthy addiction to harmful substance such as drinking, smoking etc.
4. Societal and cultural factors:
These factors also have negative impact on mental health as each culture has some expectation towards the sexuality and unable to contribute to them leads to feelings of shame, guilt or low self-esteem in individuals who do not conform to these norms or can fulfil the expectations. It leads to depression and even feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts.
Fostering a healthy relationship with one’s sexual desires is essential for maintaining positive mental health. Healthy communication, self-acceptance, and understanding the complexities of sexual desire are crucial. If they are unable to explain the changes, they perceive within themselves, they can seek treatment from mental health professionals and therapists. Appropriate understanding, acceptance, and open talks about sexual desire and mental health can result in a more inclusive and psychologically healthy society.
Some Intrusting books to read about sexual desires:
- Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation
- How to control your sexual desire
- The Pleasure Gap: American Women and the Unfinished Sexual Revolution