Sexuality is about our motivation to explore our fantasies both during masturbation alone and during sex play with a lover. Our ability to reach orgasm ultimately depends on what happens in the brain. Yet we rarely acknowledge the psychological aspects of sex.
Other primates have higher rates of responsiveness than humans. Social restrictions limit the human male’s activity. Propriety, loyalty and responsibility are all issues. Most people hide behind the respectability of wanting to be viewed as sexual (to a degree that is considered healthy) but without being too sexual (and risk being labelled perverted). This contradiction exists because most people (including many women) are not nearly as sexually motivated as those selling sex would like to imply. The references adults make to sex in everyday life are just superficial bravado.
When we are sexually motivated we see the world in sexual terms and assume that everyone responds positively to eroticism. This is far from the truth. Even men may interpret their biological responsiveness in emotional rather than erotic terms. Most people are not comfortable with an erotic interpretation of human sexuality. Perhaps the connotation of shame is too strong and the desire to conform is too attractive. Or perhaps they’re just not that responsive or motivated by sexual scenarios.
The intellectual aspects of our sexuality depend on our creative imagination. It is the ability to use our imagination that allows us to enjoy arousal and orgasm outside the reproductive scenario of intercourse. Some people find this easier to do than others. Our cultural environment, religious beliefs, attitudes in the society in which we live and our own personal values also affect our enjoyment of the intellectual aspects of sex.
There is a difference between responsiveness and being interested in eroticism. Responsiveness relates to orgasm frequency and indicates how sexually active a person is (either alone or with a lover). Some men are highly responsive and only interested in intercourse. They may rarely masturbate. They may not seek out sources of eroticism. They focus solely on sexual activity with a lover.
Other men are interested in eroticism. Eroticism is the portrayal of sexual activity or genitals. A man may enjoy fantasies, masturbation alone and other sexual activity (besides intercourse) with a lover. Of course he also enjoys intercourse but his sexual interests are much wider that intercourse. Alfred Kinsey found that such men tend to be more common among the more educated classes. He concluded that a creative imagination helps men enjoy sex beyond the core reproductive act of intercourse.
An erotically responsive person may not understand that others may not always be as interested in fantasies. Even men who are responsive are not necessarily interested in abstract eroticism, concepts and portrayals. Neither can you assume that another person has the same appreciation of eroticism. The male and female view of what is erotic are very different.
Mental turn-ons (both fantasies and fetishes) are abstract concepts and objects. They are not personalised or restricted to one individual. So if a man finds the female breast to be an ‘object of desire’ then potentially he can be aroused by the breasts of any woman (not just those of his lover). Likewise, if a woman was aroused (to the point of orgasm) by her lover’s penis then she would be aroused by the penises of other attractive men. Women would be just as tempted by promiscuity (the opportunity to enjoy sexual activity and genital stimulation with a lover) as men often are.
Eroticism is primarily a male concept. Eroticism is defined in terms of male turn-ons. A woman (or a man) is the object or focus of erotic scenarios as seen through a man’s eyes. Women don’t have turn-ons as such. They may use fantasy when masturbating alone. But there are no naturally occurring triggers for female arousal such as nudity, genitals or sexual activity. Women may borrow male turn-ons and suggest that the same stimuli cause them to become aroused but this is a behaviour not a response. Women also use the male experience to explain their own because they have little experience of how true female arousal works.
Men look at porn in the absence of the real thing but why would a woman ever need porn? A man uses porn because he cannot easily get the variety of partners and sex play he would like. Women don’t need porn because for them sex is not a scarce resource (as it is for heterosexual men). Many men want casual sex. But many fewer women are willing to have sex outside a relationship so men cannot have sex nearly as easily as women can. If women were truly interested in intercourse, they would go into prostitution and make money as well. Men can’t do this because there isn’t a demand from women. The demand for male prostitutes comes from men.
The male nude has never had the same popularity as the female nude. This is down to the relatively small number of homosexual men compared with heterosexual men. Women do not worship or admire male nudity.
Fetishism is an almost exclusively male phenomenon. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)