Sexuality is about enjoying sexual pleasure with a lover. We experience sensual, emotional and erotic pleasure. People of both sexes regardless of orientation have different sexual appetites. Ideally there’s a match of intellect, curiosity, imagination, sense of humour and concern for hygiene.
There are three main categories of anatomy. The sex organ is involved in orgasm and the internal genital organs in reproduction. The erogenous zones relate to sensual pleasuring and may include any part of the body.
Male and female erogenous zones are similar in anatomical terms. They include the labia or the length of the penis, either side of the labia or the testicles, the entrance to the vagina or the base of the penis, the perineum and the anus. For a man there is also the prostate gland inside the rectum. Both sexes can enjoy being stroked or kissed on the mouth, nipples, ear lobes, neck, back and feet with varying pleasure depending on the person.
When we masturbate, we obviously enjoy orgasm but we don’t usually talk about sexual pleasure in the context of masturbation. This is perhaps because men obtain their sexual satisfaction with a lover rather than alone. Men enjoy the erotic and genital stimuli with a lover that lead to orgasm.
But women are unresponsive with a lover. Lovemaking provides only emotional and sensual pleasures for women. So they need to make more of the sensual pleasures and enjoying the emotional reward of pleasing a lover. Women only enjoy orgasm, and therefore sexual pleasure, alone.
Some people enjoy a variety of sexual activities both alone and with a lover while others limit themselves to intercourse. Some people enjoy a variety of lovers while others prefer to be loyal to one person. Many people (especially women) prefer long-term loving relationships. Others (especially men) find that being attracted to others or sharing their partner with others, keeps their sexual life interesting over decades together.
The focus of marriage has traditionally been social rather than the enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Marriage and romance are associated with love rather than sex itself. A man marries a woman on the assumption that she will offer him regular sexual opportunities. Women can feel pressured to satisfy a man depending on his sex drive. Passion and lust are associated with first encounters and illicit affairs rather than with marital sex.
Men enjoy intercourse as a means of sexual release. Women can enjoy intercourse as a lovemaking act that revolves around sensual pleasuring. We can also enjoy activities other than intercourse, which are sometimes called ‘foreplay’ and more recently ‘sex play’. Some people consider these non-reproductive aspects of our sexuality to be more important than others.
Gay men and women cannot engage in intercourse (which requires a man and a woman) so they are obliged to engage in more explicit genital stimulation. This more explicit approach to sexual pleasuring tends to be taboo among more conservative sections of society. A woman needs a good relationship and a sense of fun to be motivated to pleasure a man. Many women are not motivated to offer explicit sexual pleasuring.
Sexual pleasure can be elusive, particularly for a younger woman. But she can enjoy the novelty of being desired, the ease of arousing a lover (especially if he’s a young man) and the satisfaction of a man’s orgasm.
As she ages, a woman’s body changes and becomes more responsive to sensual caressing. Her clitoris becomes slightly less sensitive. An older woman may experience a greater erotic response if a man invests in exploring different pleasuring techniques. Attitudes in society (driven primarily by women’s dislike of eroticism) can cause others to feel ashamed of their sexual thoughts and curiosity. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sexual pleasure as long as a partner is willing to oblige.
After years together, there may be more trust and communication if a couple invests in discuss different approaches to pleasuring. If a woman has an imaginative partner and she herself is willing, a couple may enjoy exploring sex play beyond intercourse. An older man has more time to spend on sexual pleasuring because his arousal is not so immediate and does not consume his full attention as when he was younger.
… it’s time to talk about what most men could initiate more of, and that is non-sexual intimacy. … It involves any kind of intimacy that isn’t centered around sex. It can include making time to talk, cuddling, engaging in fun activities together, and so on. (Stephan Labossiere 2012)