Sexual Motivation

Students of human behavior discuss sexuality in motivational terms, such as libido. Libido is rarely defined in the literature. Money (paper2 1961) attempted to delimit the concept of human sexual desire, which he considers equivalent to libido, when he said: "sexual desire is manifested in erotic imagery, sensation, report and action".

Unfortunately, sexual motivation cannot be measured directly.

Human Sexualidty: Innate or Lerned?

The sex drive may itself be at least in part, learned, and that it must be acquired during specific stages of the individual's life. In man, this dependence on external stimulation may be obscured by his ability to recall and recombine previous stimuli, i.e., "imagination". Sexuall motivation can be aroused by simulated sensory input which apperars to be idependent of direct external stimuli. This too is a product of learning and depends on previous experience.

Little of the influence appears to be innate. Most, if not all, responses to sexual or emotional stimuli are learned.

Specific stimuli plays an important and often essential role in adult sexual motivation.

Experience can dramatically alter the structure and function of the brain (paper3).


Gratification of the sexual motivation may be desirable psychologically but is not essential or even important to the homeostatic balance and survival of the organism (grossman, 452).

In most animals sexual motivation is under stricter hormonal control than is the case in humans. The female of most species is not interested in sexual behaviour until cyclic hormonal changes produce estrus. The male, however, is usually sexually ready but is prevented from engaging in sexual behaviour by the female until estrus occurs.

This is quite different from hunger and thirst, which are directly related to biological needs and represent an integral part of the organism's homestatic mechanism.

Although sexual behavior depends on hormonal conditions as well as influences of central origin, these internal events merely set the stage so that specific stimuli of external origin can elicit or arouse sexual motivation

Sexual desire is linked with many motivations, including the needs for love, power, and physical closeness.