In an earlier section, we had
distinguished between 3 basic factors in human sexual behavior -
capacity, motivation, and performance.
We had also explained that these factors are not fixed entities of equal force, and that their balance and significance shift over time (see
Indeed, human sexual behavior, in its capacity, motivation, and performance, undergoes a continuing development from birth to death. This development is sometimes slow and barely noticeable (for example in childhood), at other times it is fast and dramatic (for example during puberty). However, even in adulthood and old age there continue to be changes, and some of these can also be subtle and gradual, others sudden and striking. In short, a person’s sexual capacity, motivation, and performance change at different paces in different phases of life.
These changes have two kinds of causes:
Biological, natural causes: The growth and decline of the body.
Psychosocial causes: The learning and unlearning of sexual scripts.
The following sections will discuss the changes and their causes in greater detail.