Theology of the Body Thursday #19: A Blow to the “Sexual Revolution”


There is no such thing as a “sex drive.”

Let me repeat: There is no such thing as a “sex drive.”

A behavioral scientist, Emily Nagoski, who has done extensive research on women and sex dropped this bombshell a couple weeks ago. She explains that “a drive is a motivational system to deal with life-or-death issues.” Hunger is a drive, being too hot or too cold is a drive, sex can’t be a drive for two reasons: 1) Sex isn’t needed for the survival of the organism and 2) the desire for sex doesn’t always happen spontaneously.

She makes the argument that people who don’t experience “spontaneous desire” aren’t broken. She says that most men experience “spontaneous desire” while most women do not. Since, for far too long, men’s experiences have been seen as the norm, women who don’t experience it often think they need a pill to fix it.


This taking the white male as the norm has been a huge problem in medical research that is slowly but surely getting fixed.

She calls for a reclaiming of what she calls “responsive desire.” It is the desire for sex triggered by arousal. She explains it thus:

But there is another way of experiencing desire which is also healthy and normal, called “responsive desire”, where your interest only emerges in response to arousal. So, your partner comes over and starts kissing your neck and you’re like, “oh, right, sex, that’s a good idea”. [Source]

While she acknowledges that “spontaneous desire” is fun, she explains that it is not necessary for pleasure or fulfillment. I think she could have learned that by asking anyone who has used NFP to postpone pregnancy, but anyway….

What does this have to do with the “sexual revolution”? It was only in the 1970s that people started to argue that we had a sex drive. A drive, in turn, quickly becomes a need and then a right. Now in 2015, it is taken for granted that sex is a right. I’ve had plenty of arguments with my peers about this. Now, we who argue that sex is not a right have another point to use.


You can bet your bottom that I will be reviewing Nagoski’s book, Come as You Are. There will be plenty of points to ponder. Some will reaffirm my worldview, some will definitely challenge it. I’m so looking forward to this book.


1 thought on “Theology of the Body Thursday #19: A Blow to the “Sexual Revolution”

  1. Pingback: Theology of the Body Thursday #31: Women’s Viagra | The True Dignity of Women

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