Phenomenology of Sexual Desire


  • Ana Marija Plementaš University of Ljubljana



Sexual desire is a natural, complex phenomenon where a combination of physical and emotional reactions and cognitive processes occurs [1]. When we mention sexual desire, we refer to the experience of wanting or sexual drive, often in reaction to various stimuli such as physical touch, visual stimuli, or psychological influences. It can be influenced by various factors, including biological and hormonal factors, psychological factors (well-being, mood, stress), social and cultural factors such as childhood, education, and social norms [1]. It is a highly subjective experience where individuals experience and interpret sexual desires in their own unique and personal way.

Sexual desire is a natural phenomenon of human sexuality and has been investigated by various disciplines, e.g. psychology, sociology, and biology. Researchers have investigated the mechanisms and processes triggering sexual desire, as well as the factors that can influence its expression and manifestation [1].

What we will be interested in the research is how sexual desire varies from individual to individual and how different factors affect it. In general, sexual desire is a multifaceted aspect of human desire that can play an important role in our physical, mental health and quality of life. Understanding the factors that shape sexual desire and researching individual experiences can provide an important and very valuable understanding of human sexuality and enlighten the development of interventions that promote sexual health and well-being.


We will approach the research from a first-person perspective. Up to 20 participants (10 female and 10 males, in a variety of ages, sexual orientations, and relationship statuses…) will take part in the research and will sample their experience. The moment they feel sexual desire, they will answer a couple of questions via the app about that experience, and in the following, we will expand these samples through a phenomenological interview. In the first phase, we will conduct a preliminary study to introduce the participants to the first-person research and to see if any similarities emerge between the participants.

We expect that, despite the differences in the experience of sexual desire, some general characteristics will emerge that will not be specific to men or women, sexual orientation, age, education... And maybe we will be able to conduct a universal insight into how sexual desire manifests itself.

Limitations and Conclusions

The first limitation is that there is no similar research from a first-person perspective, and we can not precisely predict what differences (if any) between subjects will occur. The second limitation is the method itself. For successful research, subjects need to be trained in how to become aware of their experience in the first person.


[1] K. R. Mitchell, K. A. Wellings, and C. Graham. "How Do Men and Women Define Sexual Desire and Sexual Arousal?" Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, vol. 40, no.1, pp. 17–32, 2013.