Great of you to join me again. Let’s now take a look at that third question I was telling you about (from last time), i.e. “What causes individuals to become sexually aroused?” Clearly, everybody knows that the typical answer is something along the lines of seeing a member of the opposite gender acting seductively. Then, of course, there’s those less typical reasons for “what” causes sexual arousal, like: seeing a member of the same gender, masturbation, fetishes and fear. Great! Now that we’ve answered that question let’s go to our next post… Just kidding! Obviously, many people would like to know why those causes work the way they do for some people but then not for others. This is what I’ll begin to discuss now and then continue to discuss, in the next post or two.

Remember, sexual arousal is initiated by the body, NOT the mind – we covered this last time
when I defined sexual arousal as an “autonomic” response. Besides that, people have always known this anyway, hence, we hear slogans like “I can’t help the way I feel!” and “I was born this way!” etc. So, in order to understand those listed causes of sexual arousal, we must re-look at those causes and the rest of the world, from the perspective of the body – rather than the perspective of the mind. I know that this might sound weird to some people but just let me explain so you’ll see where I’m (or rather the body) is coming from. The way I see it, this is the key to understanding sexuality and the main reason why many people (scientists included) fail to see beyond the popular, although scientifically implausible, sexual orientations.

Alright, here we go! The body, at the most carnal level, is just a carbon-based machine. So,
like all machines, it is built for a specific purpose, mainly, to reproduce. In order to do that, however, the body needs five things, namely:

  1.  fuel (i.e. carbohydrates, fat) – to operate
  2.  sperm (male gamete) – to fertilize
  3.  an egg (female gamete) – to be fertilized
  4.  a safe environment – for nurturing a fertilized egg, and
  5.  body building material (i.e. protein, water) – for growth and structural maintenance

So, regardless of what the mind wants, all that the [sexually mature] body apparently wants is those five things, just listed, so that it can use them to build another body. Further, when the body finally “thinks” it has all of those five elements, it initiates sexual arousal in the “hope” that fertilization will be achieved by whatever means – e.g. coitus, spawning, etc.


Photograph 6.1: Frogs spawning.

How then, you may be wondering, does the body actually get hold of those five elements?
Easy! If you just take another look around, you will notice that nature employs two main methods, which I like to call:

  1.  the search and seize method, and
  2.  the advertise to acquire method.

As the name suggests, the “search and seize” method involves the body searching for those five elements needed for reproduction. It is, somewhat, an aggressive method because it relies on actively capitalizing on reproductive opportunities. An example of this method in nature, would be a rooster jumping on a hen so as to fertilize her eggs, before laying them. Alternatively, the “advertise to acquire” method involves the body releasing specific signals so as to attract the five previously described elements needed for reproduction. This method is rather passive because the body typically relies on being discovered by another body. An example of this method in nature, would be a cow releasing pheromones so as to attract any nearby bulls that are ready to mate.

lion copulating with lioness

Photo-figure 6.1: The lion “searches” for “and seizes” the lioness, for copulation, so as to produce offspring by uniting the five elements of reproduction.

peacock and peahen

Photo-figure 6.2: The peacock “advertises” himself so as “to acquire” the peahen, for copulation, so as to produce offspring by uniting the five elements of reproduction.

Now let’s just stop for a second. Remember what we set out to understand earlier in this post – it was to understand the various causes of sexual arousal, be it: sensing members of the opposite or same gender, masturbation, fetishes, and fear. Thanks to what we have discussed, so far, we are finally able to see these causes of sexual arousal as being a reflection of the method being employed by the body, to attain those five essential reproductive elements. I will expand on this point in my next few posts so that you may better understand why certain people become aroused by certain things but then not other things. See you then and thanks for reading.

C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1860.