If you were to order yourself a double vodka, while sitting next to a teetotaller, you might feel like the devil incarnate. But the wonderful thing about sex is that there are no addictive aspects. The key to sex is having an amenable partner. This is the issue of consent. People of both sexes and orientations have different sexual appetites and there’s ideally a match. A match of intellect, imagination, sense of humour and of adventure, sexual curiosity, moral values and concern for hygiene. All of these aspects have to be balanced and it is an interesting cocktail!
Being physically stronger, men can insist on intercourse with a woman if they can catch her alone and without protection. This is why women’s social freedoms have only started to materialise very recently in our history. In the past it was not safe for women to walk around or interact with men without having an escort. Even in Shakespeare’s day, just a few hundred years ago, the female parts in plays were played by men. This was because a woman who dressed herself up and put herself on a stage in front of an audience was seen to be putting herself at risk. Any man could see her and assume that she was offering sex. For a long time, actresses were assumed to be prostitutes and often were.
Research indicates that when men are deprived of female company they experience arousal much less frequently. A man’s arousal is caused by the presence of an attractive women, especially one who dresses or behaves in a way that is intended to attract male attention. A man is aroused by a sexual partner, their body, genitals and behaviour. Most men also stop masturbating before they become impotent with a lover. The turn-ons of a lover and the opportunity for penetrative sex, cause them to be aroused more than by imagining the same during masturbation alone.
Women can have a mismatch between fantasy and real life because there is no need for female orgasm with a lover. The issue for men is that their fantasies relate to real life. So they need their real-life lover to ‘respond’. Men may accept that family members or past generations of women were unresponsive. But in order to enjoy their own arousal, they need to believe that their lovers (specifically women they are attracted to) are capable of sexual feats they would never dream of attributing to their mothers, sisters or grandmothers. This belief is not based on the idea that the women themselves are naturally responsive. It comes from men’s ego and the assumption that female orgasm is caused by the male performance.
Males of all species have a direct instinct to mate that females do not have. A man’s sex drive to engage in intercourse involves both the reproductive event of ejaculation and the pleasure of his own orgasm. There is a biological reason for men to want intercourse regularly. A man can potentially impregnate a (different) woman with every ejaculation (or many hundreds of times in a lifetime). So men are naturally promiscuous.
A woman’s orgasmic capacity is quite separate to her reproductive capability. Female ‘sex drive’ could refer to a woman’s motivation to achieve orgasm (by stimulating her clitoris). But if a woman had a drive to experience orgasm then she would masturbate. There is no reason why a woman should want intercourse more than is needed for reproduction. For a woman to reproduce she only needs to have intercourse a few times in her life. Neither can a woman be impregnated every time she engages in intercourse. Once she is pregnant, there is no reproductive reason why a woman would want intercourse until after she has given birth.
The concept behind a ‘female sex drive’ is the proposal that women want intercourse just as much as men do. But what have women to achieve? Certainly not their own orgasm. Only pregnancy and male pleasure. A sex drive is a compelling urge to engage in intercourse. A woman has no organ to penetrate with and she does not ejaculate. So she gains no reproductive advantage through intercourse. Women (in common with other female mammals) have to be persuaded to accept intercourse.
If women had a sex drive as men have, then they would be just as willing to engage in unprotected sex as men are, and women would be pregnant all the time but by different and unknown men. They would not obtain the support of one loyal man and it would be impossible to raise a family. If women had a sex drive as men have, women would welcome intercourse with any man any time. How would it be possible for rape to exist if women always experience the same pleasure from intercourse that men do?
A woman doesn’t question why a man wants sex more than is required for reproductive purposes. It’s evident that men want sex for their own pleasure as well as the relief they obtain from the sexual frustration that builds up when they are frequently aroused without access to penetrative sex. A woman knows that eventually she may want to have family. So she accepts the need to keep a man interested in her sexually, at least until she has achieved her family goals.
It wasn’t until I actually got married that I realized that, day in day out, this man I was now committed to dating every single day of my life also wanted sex (nearly) every day of his life. (Joan Sewell 2010)