Our sexuality depends, not only on our responsiveness, but also on our personality. Understanding sexuality involves differentiating between responsiveness and conscious behaviours. We have no control over the level of our sex drive, the erotic stimuli that cause our arousal and the frequency with which we orgasm. Our responsiveness cannot be changed.
We employ different behaviours according to our personality. Sexual behaviours are conscious but also instinctive to some degree. We consciously choose to engage in fantasy, masturbation and erotic sex play with a lover. Some people view sex as a series of conquests. Some people enjoy fantasy and masturbation. Others explore sex play with a lover.
There are different motivations for our conscious sexual behaviours. Some behaviours are motivated by a person’s responsiveness. This is true of men. Men’s behaviours result from their sex drive that focuses them on opportunities for penetrative sex. Others are motivated by a desire to please a lover. This is true of women. A woman has an instinctive drive to be desirable and sexually amenable in order to obtain a man’s protection.
Men hope for a lover who contributes enthusiastically to the couple’s intimate time together: sharing fantasies, adventurous sex play and affection. As far as men are concerned, sex is just one of the simple pleasures of life. Men are much more interested in the variations in a lover’s genitals and sexual attributes. They also enjoy experiencing a variety of approaches and sexual techniques. None of these aspects of sex hold any interest for women because they do not cause female arousal.
Women enhance their looks, dress provocatively and behave in a sexually provocative way to make themselves attractive to men in general. But they are not intent on intercourse. Women are not necessarily fully conscious of the effect that their behaviour has on a man because women do not have a sex drive. Men do not use the provocative or teasing behaviours that women use because they are actively looking for sexual opportunities.
If a woman behaves in a sexually provocative way, a man concludes that she is ‘asking for it’. She has taken deliberate steps to arouse a man sexually. He assumes that she knowingly engages in this behaviour to attract him and that she happy with the consequences of her actions. If women wanted intercourse as men do, they could 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. There are a few women who obtain personal satisfaction from servicing men’s sexual needs. But like any job, ultimately prostitutes only offer sex for the money.
Men almost always see a sexual opportunity as a positive situation. So how can women enjoy sex as much as men do if they also try to avoid having sex? Often there are different women involved in these two scenarios. Typically, the women suggesting that they are sexually willing are not necessarily available. Other women pick up the tab for this theoretical amenability. This is another reason why few women comment on sex.
A woman uses intercourse to keep a man dedicated to her. This female behaviour together with male responsiveness are crucial to human reproduction. Men have always assumed that women must enjoy intercourse as an erotic pleasure. This male fantasy allows women to provide faked evidence of the ‘responsiveness’ that is so important to men.
Levels of responsiveness vary. Some individuals are more responsive than others throughout their lives. If women’s behaviours were determined by responsiveness, there would be no difference between the behaviours of younger and older women. Women like a man for his experience. Women value the security he can provide. Men prefer girls for their inexperience.
Young women are looking for a mate and so are more amenable to pleasing men. Some women offer to stimulate a man’s penis manually or orally, not because it is arousing for them, but because men admire sexually adventurous women. Some women provide male turn-ons as a means of obtaining the male approval that makes them feel appreciated. But women become exasperated with men’s apparently insatiable sexual needs. Over time they tire of providing male pleasure even through intercourse.
The problem I’ve heard most about over the years … is the problem of mismatched desire … which is the issue of sex-starved men and reluctant women … (Bettina Arndt 2009)