Much of the sexual activity between heterosexuals is carried on without communication. Once intimacy has been established, by kissing for example, a man assumes that he has been accepted as a lover. He increases his exploration of a woman’s body. A woman responds by allowing him access to her body. There is no explicit discussion. A man knows what he wants and a woman cooperates because she has no agenda of her own.
Most of us are insecure about pleasing or performing for a lover. We want to know how we can be good in bed. But men ask much more than women do about how they can pleasure a lover. Men believe that they would get more sex if they were able to provide the stimulation a woman needs for orgasm. Men assume women are aroused as men are. But if women were aroused, then they would know what stimulation they need for orgasm.
A man is likely to be cautious. He doesn’t want to challenge because he wants to risk losing a woman’s sexual amenability. He is happy to accept a woman talking of arousal and orgasm regardless of the lack of evidence. Even if a woman is not as sexually proactive as a man would like, talk of orgasm indicates a willingness at least to cooperate with intercourse.
Many women find that losing their virginity is a severe disappointment because there is almost no sensation from intercourse. Instead of being sympathetic, men find it impossible to accept that the female experience could be so different. A man imagines that women’s lack of responsiveness is easily solved. A woman knows that she is nowhere near being aroused by either the prospect or the reality of intercourse. The fact that a man cannot comprehend this, makes the subject impossible to discuss.
There is an advantage in having silent acquiescence. If a person’s objection is explicitly acknowledged then it becomes more difficult to ignore. All men want intercourse regardless of whether a woman experiences pleasure, so men prefer to assume that issues with female arousal are a woman’s problem rather than men’s. Some men enjoy foreplay as a means of feeling that sex is not so one way. But many others do not want to waste time on peripheral activities. They want to get on with obtaining their own release.
Another reason couples don’t discuss female arousal is because nothing works. Many couples are unadventurous in bed but even those who try everything do not solve the problem of how a woman can orgasm with a lover. This again is natural because sex is about male arousal and orgasm by design. A woman must be willing to continue sexual activity until the man ejaculates. She wouldn’t do this if she had an orgasm before him. She can’t have an orgasm after him that relies on stimulating the vagina with an erect penis because, after his orgasm, a man loses his erection.
Men and women have complementary rewards of sex. Men’s need for sexual release through intercourse, provides women with the emotional reward of being needed by a partner. But the sexual revolution set false expectations. By suggesting that women could enjoy the same erotic rewards from sex that men have always enjoyed, men also came to expect the emotional reward of providing a lover with sexual pleasure.
Men assume that women who are selling sex do so because they want sex. But women can find sexual partners easily enough. A woman’s challenge is to find a man who is willing to offer a supportive relationship in return for sex. Apart from ego, emotional problems and a desire make money, women have no need to go looking for sex. Men have to seek women out.
Women need to feel in the right mood for sex. Men don’t understand because they are aroused by sex. Confusingly for men, all the suggestions for arousing a woman relate to relationship issues. A woman wants a man who is respectful, loving and companionable. Men don’t appreciate that women only need to be amenable to intercourse rather than aroused by it.
True arousal comes from appreciating eroticism. A woman alone has the benefit of using her mind to focus on aspects she finds arousing enough for orgasm. With a lover this technique does not work because a woman needs total privacy to generate the focus required. A man can offer to stimulate a woman but he cannot provide the psychological turn-ons she needs.
Male arousal is very evident. One minute a man is unaroused and the next he is aroused. His penis changes from small and flaccid to rigid and erect. A man’s erection is highly visible and identifiable. He is also acutely aware of the sensation of increased blood-flow to his penis. Finally, his mind is highly focused on an opportunity for sexual activity. A woman does not experience arousal in the same way. Female arousal is buried deep in a woman’s subconscious mind. A woman experiences tumescence as a vague and dream-like sensation. This is felt only if she is alone and consciously focusing on erotic fantasies. Even a responsive woman may assume that she is aroused with a lover even if she never achieves orgasm. This is because the sensations of anticipating intercourse, are equally diffuse. But there is no mental arousal with a lover and no real-world erotic female turn-ons.
The average female is not aroused by nearly so many stimuli as is the male. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)