4 Steps to Connect Desire with Arousal (or the vice versa)

Sometimes I catch myself looking at Shaun and wanting to rub myself all over him.

I'm not always clear in that moment which part of me is responding....

Because it could be my heart.

Swelling with the love, compassion, joy, emotion I feel with him and toward him.

It could be my mind.

Grateful. Connected. Amazed. Celebratory thoughts I have with him and for him.

My sexuality could be responding.

Tingles. Attraction. Desire. Magnetism I have around him and sensations in reaction to him.

My heart, my mind, my body and sexuality...

They each have

their own needs...

their own wants...

their own ways of expressing...

their own ways of experiencing fulfillment....

So it makes so much sense to me after recording The Epic Couple's Journey this week to think about these elements and how they affect desire and arousal.

In this episode entitled Play With Desire and Arousal As Separate Experiences, Shaun and I discuss the differences between desire—like wanting your partner—and arousal—when your genitals are engorged...


we talk about how to unwire the myth that these are the same.

Rewire Your Brain.jpg

To help you and your partner play with this, here are four steps you can take to connect desire with arousal (or vice versa):

STEP ONE: Recognize

Be curious with recognizing the differences in your body between desire and arousal.

You may want to have sex with your partner, for example, and not feel aroused between your legs.

On the flip side, you may feel tingling and flush and warm seeing someone on the street or while watching your partner undress...and not feel desire.

Notice these differences so you can begin to recognize them as individual responses.


Your sexuality, your heart, and your mind may be aligned in what they want or they may desire different things.

Take a listen to this thirteen-minute guided meditation you can use to play with and experience the needs of these different parts of you.

This is something you can totally do on your own or with your partner.

Then you can begin to integrate your mind, body, and heart to get them on the same page with regards to arousal and desire.

STEP THREE: Understand

Each person's desire and arousal is wired in their brain and nervous system differently.

Researchers developed what's called the dual control model of sexual response to better understand arousal, including what accelerates it and what grinds it to a halt.

To explore how easy it is to turn you on and how easy it is to turn you off, take this two-part quiz developed at the Kinsey Institute.


Having the sex you want and the intimacy you desire is only possible when you share your needs and desires (and your fears...) with your partner. 

Use my Desires, Fears, Loves guided audio to create a container and have a fifteen-minute conversation with your partner around what you've learned.

I'm sending you both so much love as you recognize, play, understand, and share what you learn about arousal and desire this weekend.


P.S. Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are, who was instrumental to my understandings around arousal and desire, is coming out with a new book with her twin sister Amelia called Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle.

I'll be checking it out when it comes out in March of 2019!