The present research aims to outline the components of woman’s sexual desire, especially the psychological, emotional, situational and adaptive factors influencing the sexual response in women. Fifteen focus groups involving 114 women (M age = 30 years; range 18-76 years), were conducted. Participants described sexual arousal through physical (as vaginal lubrication), emotional, psychological, and behavioural factors. The relationship between sexual desire and arousal is complex: according to some women the sexual desire precedes the arousal, while for others sexual desire and arousal are simultaneous. According to the findings, there are a large selection of factors that enhance and inhibit sexual arousal, some of them are connected to the self (as feelings about one’s body or feelings of shame), or related to the partner (like the lack of complicity or his appearance), and associated to the situation. These results improve the understanding of desire; furthermore they may be used in order to develop of questionnaires to assess women sexuality.
Keywords: Women sexuality, arousal, inhibition, desire, focus groups, adaptive factors.