Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Desire, Sexual

  • Marta MeanaEmail author
  • Alessandra Lanti
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_2674



Sexual desire generally refers to the motivational state that is likely to lead one to seek out sexual stimuli and/or activity or be receptive to sexual stimuli and/or advances from a potential sexual partner. The operationalization of desire has, however, been problematic. Research has shown sexual desire to have few reliable cognitive, physiological, or behavioral indicators, and the conceptualization of sexual desire has ranged from a pure biological drive to a more relationally motivated desire for intimacy.


Masters and Johnson’s (1966) model of the sexual response consisted of four stages: excitement (arousal), plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Partly as a function of their physiologically based research, they did not attempt to account for a motivational state that would draw individuals toward sexual stimuli or activity. The addition of sexual desire to the model of the sexual response was introduced by...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Honors CollegeUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasNVUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasNVUSA