There are three key aspects to responsiveness. These are biological, emotional and intellectual. The biological element is the most vital because it is the basic physiological response that enables a person to orgasm. The vast majority of women do not have the capability to experience orgasm. This is very clear from women’s dislike of eroticism, their ignorance about the role of the clitoris and their acceptance of intercourse as a lovemaking act. This is completely normal and necessary for reproduction.
The emotional component relates to the significance of orgasm to the individual. It is important to appreciate that we are not talking about the emotional aspects of intercourse that women tend to appreciate especially in a romantic situation in a new relationship. We are talking about how important orgasm itself is to a person.
Orgasm (or ejaculation) is much more emotionally significant to men. For men, orgasm is linked to ejaculation, which is an experience only men have. Ejaculation is part of the male territorial instincts. Men are much more reliant than women on having a partner to enjoy the best kind of erotic satisfaction. Women may enjoy emotional benefits with a lover but orgasm is achieved only through the use of fantasies when masturbating alone.
The intellectual component of responsiveness is about the degree to which a person enjoys eroticism, fantasies and the sensations of arousal in their mind. Only a minority of people focus on this aspect of orgasm. Women need to appreciate this form of mental engagement on fantasy if they are to experience orgasm as a full sexual release.
Although the evidence of arousal (especially for men) can be observed as a physical phenomenon, arousal itself is psychological. Arousal is response in the mind to erotic stimuli. But men and women respond quite differently in sexual scenarios so it is even more impossible for each sex to understand how the other responds because we lack the personal experience.
Only a matter of a few hundred years ago people watched public hangings. People were burned alive. This reflects the difficulty we have in identifying with the plight of others. This inability to empathise is evident even when we try to imagine how another person must feel. A man’s sex drive has little to do with a relationship and this dis-connect leads a woman to conclude that his ardour is impersonal.
Men’s sex drive can be triggered by a complete stranger. This is quite natural because turn-ons are objects or concepts. They are events that cause arousal irrespective of any emotional feelings. Men, much more than women, can view people as objects. This helps when they need to kill but it also helps in sexual situations.
Arousal relies on seeing a person, at least to some degree, as an object of desire. Men are able to love a partner and still view them as a ‘sex object’ with sexual attributes. But even men are not usually aroused by a relative because of the emotional significance of the relationship. Women accuse men of being sexist for heckling them in the street. Men are also accused of being chauvinists for treating women like sex objects. But this is simply how male sexual psychology works. Men may suppress their comments if they learn that women are offended but they cannot change their innate response.
Arousal mechanisms (turn-ons) involve objects, physical attributes, the psychology of a sexual scenario or a lover. Women are more likely to find this concept insulting and impersonal. Women are generally looking for some emotional connection before they will engage in sex with a lover. Men, who have evolved as hunters (killers) and the initiators of the mating act, cannot necessarily afford to have an emotional connection with their victims or their sexual partners.
We can differentiate between general turn-ons and the mental focus on eroticism involved in achieving orgasm. For example, women’s breasts may cause male arousal but not male orgasm. Otherwise a woman could just show a man her breasts instead of offering intercourse.
The paedophile is clearly attracted to a child as an object. A child does not remain a child for ever. Children grow up and become adults. Once the child is mature a paedophile is no longer attracted. So a paedophile is not attracted to the individual but to the body and psychology of a child.
When women grow fat, ugly or old, some men no longer find their wives attractive and this causes problems for their arousal. Other men find that their wife’s behaviour of refusing to have regular intercourse becomes a turn-off. Other men are aroused (biologically) regardless of the attractiveness or enthusiasm of their partner.
On the other hand, since there are marked differences between females and males in their response to psychological stimuli, it seems apparent that those responses must depend upon some mechanism which functions differently in the two sexes. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)