Here's What Your Sex Drive Really Is

Can you remember the first time you felt your sex drive rev up? For Dr. Lindsey Doe of Sexplanations , it was when she was 12 years old and at a sleepover with a friend; she describes the feeling as being reminiscent of her nether regions screaming, "Put something in me now!" She explained that before this moment, she always thought sex was an intellectual decision you made that didn't include these bodily feelings and desires. Obviously we've all learned since then that the decision to have sex does have something to do with libido — but have you ever thought about what your sex drive actually is in clinical terms, outside of that crazy rush of desire you feel from time or time? It's not something we often think to define, but it's still an important part of understanding our sexuality. Luckily, Dr. Doe is here to break it down.

First, let's get to the literal definition of sex drive. According to Dr. Doe, sex drive is defined as the "physical drive or energy usually associated with sexual instinct." So that impulse of desire you have when you see a cute guy or gal coming your way? That would be your sex drive. It's also important to note that your sex drive is not the physiological response your body has to and for sex, but rather your desire for it. For example, getting an erection is not a part of your sex drive, since having one doesn't necessarily mean you're DTF — just ask any guy who has an embarrassing erection story! The same goes for women, too, by the way; just because you're wet doesn't mean you actually want to have sex. Remember, everyone: Consent is key.

What exactly effects your sex drive, then, and how does it all happen in your mind? There are a lot of factors at work, according to Dr. Doe, but these are two of the most important:

1. Social Circumstances

Dr. Doe lists a slew of factors that go into determining the level of your sex drive, many of which are dependent on your place in life. Privacy, safety, politics, religion, peers, family life, work, and the quality of sex available are just some of these cultural factors which help to inform your sex drive. "Doesn't it make sense that you desire sex more if it's desirable sex?" Dr. Doe reasons. And the answer is yes. Yes, it does.

2. Age and Sex

Your age and sex also can determine what kind of sex drive you have, as there are different peaks and valleys for cisgender men and women. For the guys, their sex drive peaks around puberty and levels off from there as they age. For women, however, the story is a little different; their desire peaks somewhere in their mid-20s to early 30s. So if you've been feeling more sexually charged now in your life than ever before, science has an explanation. Dr. Doe also suggests that the socio-cultural factors come into play here, as well; you usually have more freedom and fewer restrictions getting betwee you and sex when you're in your 20s and 30s.

Both sexes see their sex drives decrease as they age after their peaks, although there can be exceptions. It's also important to note that your sex drive never completely reaches a zero point, and while your sex drive and desire levels do wane in your later years, you can and probably will still experience desire.

At this point in the video, Dr. Doe takes things one step further by questioning the merit of the term "sex drive" altogether. She argues that it should be called an intimacy drive, because of the cultural pressures and stigma that exist around sex, while simultaneously making us forget about the factors that actually come into play with your sex drive. In other words, how much sex you desire is often circumstantial and not something physiological you can necessarily "fix." If you want to see her full argument and sexplanation, watch the full video below.

Images: Fotolia; Sexplanations/YouTube (2)