Sexuality is about responsiveness and orientation, both of which are determined before we are born. Among the genes we inherit from our parents are those that determine responsiveness and orientation. Any child can potentially be born homosexual. Likewise, we are all born with varying degrees of responsiveness. Responsiveness is a measure of the frequency with which a person’s mind responds positively to eroticism in such a way that causes arousal (blood to flow to the sex organ). When we have an opportunity to focus on our mental arousal, this tension gradually builds up until it peaks and is released as nervous energy, that is called orgasm.
There are three key aspects to responsiveness: biological, emotional and intellectual. The most important aspect is biological since this is the physiological response. All men orgasm (with varying frequencies) because male orgasm is the physiological trigger for ejaculation of sperm. Ejaculation is a male glandular emission related to men’s territorial instincts to dominate and fight for possession of resources. Male mammals mark out their territory by spraying glandular emissions over land marks to deter competitors. Female mammals are not territorial in the same way. Women do not have male glands so women cannot ejaculate as men do.
Most men engage in regular sexual activity throughout their active lives. Most (but not all) men enjoy masturbation and fantasies. But men usually need a partner to enjoy the best erotic satisfaction. The need for regular penetrative sex with a lover is emotionally significant to men (important to their state of well-being). The term ‘emotionally significant’ has nothing to do with the emotional aspects of intercourse women may enjoy. Even if a woman is responsive, her enjoyment of orgasm is an occasional pleasure.
Responsiveness reflects a person’s total orgasm frequency both alone and with a lover. Men are much more responsive than women ever are. Even responsive women only ever orgasm by masturbating alone. Being unresponsive (rarely or never having an orgasm) is completely normal for women. Research indicates that around 10% of women openly admit they have never had an orgasm in their whole lives. Another 20% (30% in total) are essentially unresponsive: they readily admit that they never orgasm.
No one teaches us how to orgasm. We discover orgasm because we have the capability. Orgasm is a significant pleasure that we definitely realise we have had. Naturally we are naturally pleased when we have our first orgasm but we don’t tell our parents or our friends about it. Our instincts tell us (if the general embarrassment over sex doesn’t) that orgasm is personal. Even later on, orgasm is a pleasure that we keep private. Those who truly orgasm (men for example) don’t typically boast about it.
Our orientation is defined by who we are attracted to: for example, the same sex or the opposite sex. Most people are heterosexual, which means that they are attracted to people of the opposite sex. Some people are attracted to their own sex. When this is exclusive (they are never attracted to the opposite sex) we say that they are ‘homosexual’. A person who engages in sexual activity with someone of either sex is called ‘bisexual’. Orientations are completely normal and accepted in most societies today.
We have no choice over our orientation. It is just the way we are. Orientation is not a life-style choice. We do not become gay because of the people we associate with or because our parents raised us in a certain way. Our sexual orientation (whether we are aroused by or amenable to sex with a lover of the same or opposite sex) is innate (we are born that way).
There is a biological precedent for heterosexuality because intercourse between a man and a woman is the basis of reproduction. But human sexuality is much broader than a purely reproductive function. Although it is usual for people to be heterosexual, it is not abnormal for someone to be attracted to a person of the same sex either exclusively or just occasionally.
Sexual orientation is just one aspect of ourselves. Orientation does not change how we are as human beings, our personalities and talents. Men are more likely to identify their orientation because men are responsive. Most men deduce their orientation during puberty because of the fantasies they have. Orientation is less significant to women because of their lack of responsiveness. Many women never have sexual fantasies. Lesbians often marry and have children before realising much later that they are lesbian.
Far from being a disorder, low libido is just the natural state of affairs for many women. (Bella Ellwood-Clayton 2013)