Sexual Desire: Scholarly Journal and Popular Media Source Investigations

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Loss of sexual desire more and more often becomes a common problem for many couples usually after 2 years of dating (Greenberg et al., 2011). Therefore, the issue of maintaining the sexual desire of the partners is quite timely. Two articles were chosen to investigate this problem carefully. The topic of both articles was connected with human sexual desire as it is very important for the long term intimate relations between all couples. The articles chosen for the comparison were a scholarly article “Maintain sexual desire in intimate relationships: The importance of approach goals” by Impet et al. (2007) and “Bridges to sexual desire” by McCarty (2011). The aim of this research paper was to find out the differences between presenting the information in the peer-reviewed articles and articles from non-scientific mass media resources, and find out if the scholarly articles are better sources for the academic researches.

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The scholarly article chosen for the research studied the decline of the sexual frequency over the relationship course. The hypothesis of the article was that the approach relationship goals can predict the strength of sexual desire, and hence can be used to trace the decline of sexual desire over time. In order to test this assumption, Impet et al. (2007) has presented in his work three different studies. The studies were held during 6 month and had daily regularity. In such way, the long term impact of human’s goals on sexual desire was analyzed. The evidences of Study 1 proved that the interest in pursuing development and positive outcome in the relationship results in high level of sexual desire; and vice versa, the decrease of interest in pursuing fun and growth in their relationship negatively affects the level of sexual desire. Study 2 provided the reader with the information that, according to the research, orientation towards the positive outcome in the relations makes people regard the sexual interaction as a way to become closer. Consequently, such people have a greater desire during sexual interactions. Study 3 showed that positive daily events and pursuing one’s own sexual pleasure are some other factors that influence positively the level of sexual desire. Therefore, the reader can see that the above mentioned study contributes to the researches in the sphere of intimate relationship, sexual desire and its motivation. The field of the close relationship is very sensitive to numerous factors. According to the studies, daily pleasant events and the positive relationship orientation can be regarded as the key factors for the level of sexual desire decrease (Impet et al., 2007). Nevertheless, as it was mentioned by Impet (2007) in the discussion part of the  article, the further investigations in the following direction should research the reactions and goals of both members of the couple, not only one, as it was done in the given studies. To sum it up, the research described in the article highlights how important the interpersonal aspects are for both – men and women.  One should take it into consideration when dealing with problems of low sexual desire.

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In his article “Bridges to sexual desire” McCarthy (2011) also dealt with the problem of the level of sexual desire among the couples. In his article, he stated that the level of intercourse frequency among the couples decreases with time. He highlighted the importance of the sexual desire, pleasure, and eroticism for all couples as it brings its members to satisfaction. McCarthy (2011) stated that sexuality contributes 15-20% of energy and satisfaction to the healthy relationship. Consequently, in his article he described “the bridges to sexual desire”. Among such bridges he marked out as influential for the level of the sexual desire: sensual, erotic, playful touches and positive anticipation. The sensual touch is considered to be cuddling, back rubs. Erotic touch means genital stimulation, which brings partners or one of them to orgasm. Playful touch is taking a shower together, erotic dancing. At the same time, McCarthy (2011) believes that freedom of choice and ability to fulfill the fantasies is important. Another idea described in the article is denying the idea about the spontaneous sexual desire to be more genuine than the one based on the “bridges” described above. According to the given article, the best way to keep the high level of sexual desire for a couple is to spend a pleasant time together, fill the days with positive emotions and afterwards use different kind of touches, which were described earlier.  Consequently, McCarthy (2011) in his article highlights both – physical and emotional connection, as influential for the healthy sexual relations of the partners.

Though two above mentioned articles have much in common, they have many different features. Comparing the topic of both articles it is almost the same – sexual desire in long-term relationship. It is obvious that both authors came to a conclusion that pursuing positive outcomes and positive emotions is one of the best ways to keep the sexual desire of both members on the same level. Moreover, both articles regard the issue without differentiating the male and female members of the couples, but offer a general result. One more common feature is that both articles have the same aim: to help the couples to maintain healthy sexual relations. However, there is a number of differences between the articles, which are predetermined by their spheres of publication. The first article “Maintain sexual desire in intimate relationships: The importance of approach goals” by Impet et al. (2007) is a scientific journal publication; the second one, “Bridges to sexual desire” by McCarthy (2011), was found in the internet on the site of a media journal Psychology Today. Firstly, it is essential to pay attention to the external design of the articles: the first one looks serious, it is text-based and filled with charts and graphs presenting the results of the research; the second one looks more attractive and is filled with various multicolored photos and illustrations. No graphs, tables or diagrams are included in the text of the second article. The wordage of the scholarly article is another of its distinguishing characteristics. “Bridges to sexual desire” is much shorter (probably, 10 times shorter). The next distinctive feature of the scientific article is its structure. The abstract, introduction, method, measures, results, discussion are all separate parts of the article. The media article does not have such strict structural peculiarities; its introduction, body, and conclusion are separated from each other only as different paragraphs. The scholarly article had a hypothesis, which was written in the abstract and needed to be proven in the further work. There was no clear hypothesis in the second article. An important issue is that the researches and their findings, which lead the author to the conclusion that the approach relationship goals can increase or decrease the level of the sexual desire, were described in the scholarly article in details. In the media article, no research was held or described by the author (McCarty, 2011). All the data and numbers were not evidenced by any written investigations or scientific works. Consequently, it is important to mark out the next differentiating feature – the references and footnotes. Impet’s article included numerous footnotes and references: therefore, all the assumptions were based on the previous researches. McCarty’s article included no footnotes and did refer on any of the previous scientific researches. In addition, the reference list of the first article included numerous peer-reviewed articles and scientific works; the article written by McCarty referenced only on several other internet researches. It is necessary to mark out that the language of two articles is also different. The language in the second article is simple, clear to a general audience while the language in the first article is filled with terminology and is obviously geared to those, who have some special knowledge in the field of Human Sexuality and Psychology studies. There is a great amount of numbers in the measure and result chapters of “Maintain sexual desire in intimate relationships: The importance of approach goals”; the second article has only several precise data, which is not supported by pointing the sources. Consequently, it is impossible for a reader to check the facts provided by McCarty. The last and, probably, the main difference about the two articles chosen for the research is its authorship: the first article is written by scholars and it is peer-reviewed by the other scientific experts in the field of Psychology, Sociology, and Human Sexuality. Therefore, its information is relevant and credible. These characteristics do not refer to the media journal article as it is written by a journalist and checked by the editor, who is not likely to be an expert in the same sphere.

To sum it up, both articles are interesting and bring the interesting information to the reader. Nevertheless the first one, which is a peer-reviewed article, can be characterized as credible, relevant, having good conclusion and including terminology on the fields. The second article, which is not scientific, provides less relevant and less credible information. Consequently, it can give the background information, give an idea for some research or preparing a presentation, entertain. However, if one needs to get the in-depth information and reliable data for the research paper or academic perspective only scholarly peer-reviewed articles can be used.     

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