Different Types of Sexual Desire Part III

How to Achieve Self-Validated Sexual Desire*

There is a fundamental difference between self-validated intimacy and all the other types of desire we mentioned in previous articles. It is on the level of intimacy that we can perceive it; more specifically the perception of ourselves and our authenticity. Feelings of being desirable are based for many people on the perception that their partner has of them. This way of functioning inevitably kills sexual desire in couples who have stayed at the attachment phase of sexual desire. At the beginning of a relationship, we seek to obtain others validation and approval, especially in sex. We want to be desirable in the eyes of our partner, we want to be able to offer sexual pleasure, to seduce and be loved at all cost. All of this is necessary and enjoyable in couples, although in long term relationships this dynamic weighs negatively on sexual desire.


There are four fundamental elements that play a role in sexual desire in long-term relationships.

  • Our self-perception or self-esteem
  • Our partner’s perception of us
  • The perception we have of our partner
  • The way we treat and are treated by our partner


These four aspects have an important impact on our own sense of being desirable and the desire we have for our lover. A person can have a high sexual desire, but it isn’t necessarily aimed towards their partner’s. For which they may have lost respect for during the long years of living and being together. Following a plethora of numerous conflicts, deceptions, rejections, lost of integrity and low blows (Normal Marital Sadism) in their sex lives, they can diminish their admiration for their partner’s and their own self-worth. This brings partners to seek for validation from others to feel desirable and desire. This dynamic can be translated in these terms:  »I want you to find me desirable because I can’t find myself to be desirable ».


We often repeat that a good self-esteem, having confidence and being assertive is sexually desirable. The thing is, in long term relationships we get to see our partner in their most vulnerable states and glimpse at their insecurities. We know when they are seeking approval from us or others. This lowers sexual desire towards one or both partners. This is where alliances between partners in a relationship becomes either collusive,combative or non-existent. This difficult transition for couples to past from a other validated intimacy to self-validated intimacy necessitates a commitment to ourselves and a collaborative alliance in the couple. Certain couples are capable of overcoming these normal hardships with their own volitionand emotional balance. On the other hand, many will need help from a sex-therapist who specializes in couples and sexual desire issues. This process with or without a professional obliges partners to self-confront about their anxieties, insecurities, short-comings and learn how to self-validate during periods of intense emotions and sexual intimacy.

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Learn more about the author

Francois Renaud M.A.

Sex therapist & psychotherapist in Downtown Montreal

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