Sexual Desire: More than the Sum of Your Parts

Martha Kauppi is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist, and she has some brilliant insights into why cultivating sexual desire is so complicated.  Getting in the mood is not just about lighting a few candles, listening to some smooth Marvin Gaye tracks, and letting your sex organs do the rest.

Instead, Martha argues that sexual desire sits at the intersection of all these aspects of ourselves, the:

Physical + Relational + Emotional + Spiritual + Sexual


If we were to find where all of these issues, expectations, and preferences join together, this is where sexual desire would exist.

In order to engage in sexual activities, we need to feel physically ready and able, free from fatigue, sleepiness, illness, and injury.

We also need to feel close and connected to our partner, trusting that we can be open and free to ask for and express our sexual wishes.

We need to have the right emotional mindset before sexual activities – feeling present and willing to engage in sexual actions because we’re not occupied emotionally with strong feelings about the past or the future.

For those with a spiritual compass, sex can feel spiritually transcendent.  Thus, feeling connected to one’s spirituality or life force can be important to cultivate in order to feel ready to join together in sexual activities.

Finally, we need to be able to have sex, sexually.  This means bringing our sexual organs online (including the brain, the biggest sex organ we have!), through heightening physiological arousal and making sure we’re free of pain and able to experience pleasure.

Do you and your partner struggle with cultivating sexual desire in your relationship?  It’s possible that you might be lacking some tools to enhance all the many complex components which make up sexual desire.  If you want to learn more about Martha Kauppi’s work and sexual desire, check out