Sexual Desire: How to Navigate It

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Posted: October 22, 2021

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In This article
How to Navigate Sexual Desire with Josh Spurlock

Rose asks, “How do I identify sexual desire? After thinking sex was dirty for my entire life, and shutting down thoughts of it, how do I recognize it now?” Read more to find out what Licensed Counselor and Sex Therapist Josh Spurlock says about how to navigate sexual desire.


Welcome to MyCounselor Online. I’m Tori, and this is Asking for a Friend. In this video, we’re sitting down with Licensed Counselor Josh Spurlock to talk about the misconceptions that can often happen around sex, especially in the church, and among women. Stay tuned.

Josh Spurlock on Misconceptions about Sex

That’s a great question. As a sex therapist, I frequently have Christian couples coming in from the church who have gotten the message, either explicitly or implicitly through silence, that sex is dirty and bad, and that to feel sexual feelings is lust, and that any sense of arousal or awareness that others might be sexually attractive is sinful. And so, any sign of that has to be shut down.

Sexual Desire Doesn’t Go Away

Having gotten that message over the course of their entire life, they have gotten really good at shutting down their own awareness of their sexual experience, because working to suppress or shut those things down doesn’t actually make them go away. You can’t will away being horny or a sense of attraction or sexual arousal within your body.

Sexual Desire in Marriage

Then as we get married, it’s not like a light switch that flips and suddenly we’re able to fully embrace and engage all of our sexual being and feel comfortable pursuing our spouse. Even though that’s sometimes the message that we get from the church setting, that somehow if we get really good at blocking those things out, that God will show us favor in that, and as soon as we get married the floodgates will burst free and it will just be like bliss. However that’s not the experience for a lot of folks.

God Created Sexual Excitement

So how do we navigate this? The beginning place is to settle in our heart and mind that our sexual arousal and sexual experience is a good thing. It was God’s idea to begin with; experiencing sexual excitement and desire is something that God thought of.

He delights in that you would experience that for yourself and that you would enjoy sharing that with your spouse.

Be Aware of Your Anxiety Around Sex

Being mindful of the anxiety that the topic brings up is a good starting place for beginning to unravel the impact of those things.

Even as I use the word horny in this video, for some that’s going to create some discomfort and anxiety. And so even in the course of watching this video, it would be helpful for you to hit the pause button and grab a notepad and just give yourself some space to notice what it is that you’re experiencing.

We’ve got to tune into their emotional experience around topics of sexuality and allow them to inform us about the things that need to heal and things that need to change.

Next, in terms of self-help, would be to tune into things of a sensual nature, or a sensation nature. Not specifically of a sexual nature, but things are just sensual in nature.

Whether that be scent, and paying attention to what things smell like, like flowers or lotion. And notice what your emotional response is, as you are slowing down in intentionally paying attention to what your body’s experiencing. Because, again, the practice that you’ve been engaging for some time is one of not noticing, or pushing out of conscious awareness, parts of your experience. And so we’re wanting to learn how to look at those different aspects of your experience and lean into an awareness of them and be fully embracing of those experiences.

If you can start doing that around things that are not explicitly sexual in nature, the practice of learning to lean into those sensual experiences will be easier because they don’t have the same baggage, or the same negative emotional association as the sexual subject matter does.

We can strengthen that muscle of attunement, or sensate focus awareness, around easier topics to enjoy. And then we can build on that, to learn to lean into our sexual experience, and to do the same thing with our own sexual experience.

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This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

About the Author
Josh Spurlock
Josh Spurlock

Josh Spurlock MA, LPC, CST, has a BA in Biblical Languages and a Masters in Counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), holding licenses in MissouriColorado, and Florida. He is also a Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Level 2 AEDP Therapist, and an Ordained Minister. He is an Advanced Practice Clinician, with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. He specializes in Marriage Counseling, Sex Therapy, Family Counseling, and works with Executives, Pastors, Business Owners, and Ministry Leaders. Learn more about Josh Spurlock at

Josh is currently unable to take on any new clients.

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