Men’s goal when engaging in sexual activity is simple. Men want to enjoy their own arousal by close contact with a lover’s body, enjoy various forms of penile stimulation but ultimately to obtain the sexual satisfaction of penetrative sex by thrusting until ejaculation. Men can enjoy sex regardless of a relationship because they don’t obtain the same emotional benefits that women do from their intimate relationships.
Today most of us hope to die peacefully in old age. It was very different in the past though. Throughout human history men and women have typically faced life and death in very different situations. Men most usually have died and witnessed the death of others in violent situations such as battles, defence, rescue services, sport, adventure, hunting and other activities involving dangerous risks. Women most usually have died and witnessed the death of others in domestic situations such as childbirth and nursing the old and the sick (often children). So men are women have different emotional responses because they are vulnerable in different situations.
Women live in a social world. They are surrounded by people, relationships, weddings, romance and babies. Men live in a world of conflict and eroticism. Depending on the level of their responsiveness, sex related thoughts are never far from their minds. Men assume that women have similar thoughts and similar sexual motivations. They are confused when women seem shocked and even disgusted at the glimpses they get of the adult male mind and men’s sexual motivations.
A man’s challenge is that somehow he has to propose sexual activity against the background of women’s social natures. It isn’t easy. Risk of rejection is high but (depending the level of his sex drive) he is still compelled to try. Neither is it easy for a woman to take herself out of her social world and imagine herself to be in the erotic world that men live in. Women are not aroused by nudity, genitals and sexual activity as men are.
Even if a woman is promiscuous (she is a prostitute or engages in casual sex) she feels much the same way. If a woman is responsive (she masturbates to orgasm) she still has the same basic response as every other woman. She cannot fully understand men’s responses (because she does not experience them) but she can empathise to some degree with men’s enjoyment of the sexual world because of her use of sexual fantasy.
A man admires a woman’s docility, her compassion and her emotional sensitivity. In general, the concept of sexual equality much more typically refers to encouraging women to behave more like men than the idea that men might want to emulate female behaviours. Male superiority is often assumed. A man does not want to be judged by a woman. He expects a woman to confirm his sexual prowess. Men talk about ‘giving a woman an orgasm’. They assume that their expertise during lovemaking causes a woman to orgasm. This belief justifies their desire to touch, kiss and penetrate her body. A man’s sexual ego (need for sexual admiration) is much greater than any ability to identify with a woman’s sexual perspective.
Men’s compulsion to believe something that evidently is not true indicates their needs are political not just erotic. Men want women to conform to their view of female sexuality. Men insist that women should enjoy intercourse because, in a civilised world and within a loving relationship, they have to justify their sexual instincts. This is not about an appreciation of shared eroticism but about men’s selfish needs, insecurities and power. Men’s sex drive causes them to want intercourse regardless of a woman’s pain or pleasure. So they often express their sexual urges in terms of pleasuring a woman but primarily by means of the activities they enjoy.
Men do overstep the mark and they know it. But they don’t like to admit it. They know that women will give in and let them get away with it most of the time. Women build up resentments over time. They put up with a man’s view of the world and go along with what a man wants for decades. It either ends in divorce or in a sexless marriage. Man accept that their options are limited but the silence is a barrier that is difficult to break down.
Men sometimes complain that women always want to change them. That women are not happy with men as they are. But it is just as true that men want to make women more sexual and more like men. Men want to believe (despite all the contrary evidence) that women motivated by eroticism.
Women want to improve men’s presentation, their behaviour and their appreciation of the social and emotional aspects of relationships that matter to women. Women do this when they care about someone. If a woman stops trying to improve a man then she has given up on him, which is a bad sign. She also wants him to respect her views and needs.
The frequencies of marital intercourse are two or three times as high as the intercourse of the single male. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)