Men attribute sexual phenomenon to female anatomy as part of their arousal process. They need to believe that the women they are attracted to are different to their female relatives. But they can be embarrassed by these images of sexual women from pornography, recognising on some level that real women are offended by such a crude portrayal of their sexuality.
Leading up to intercourse, a man becomes increasingly aroused:
• He has regular erections and masturbates;
• He is aroused by seeing a lover and thinking about sex;
• He is aroused by close body contact and kissing;
• He is aroused by touching and watching a lover undress;
• He is aroused by stimulating a lover and by being stimulated.
Men may say that they want intercourse to last for ever. But a woman notices that a man seems to lose confidence if he is ‘taking too long’. Perhaps he realises that the woman is waiting for intercourse to end. A woman learns that a man is not satisfied until he has ejaculated. So she may help him find a way out. She may move her hips to increase the stimulation of his penis or she may make encouraging noises in time with his thrusting.
Male expectations for a proactive lover come from porn. But few women watch porn so they never realise they could offer more than intercourse. No one explains this explicitly because it would involve admitting that women are not naturally motivated to offer sex play. A woman may feel guilty because she assumes that she is supposed to enjoy sex. A woman thinks she is supposed to make effort but she doesn’t see why she should.
A man responds sexually to people in the real world. But masturbation alone depends on using memory alone to conjure up fantasies, which puts a man in a similar position to a woman. A woman does not respond to real-world stimuli but she can use surreal fantasies to achieve orgasm alone.
A woman reacts very little when her lover reveals his erect penis. She doesn’t scream but neither does she vocalise her pleasure. A woman screams when she is unwilling. The flasher situation is clearer when we remember that the mating act is imposed on the female by the male. A man likes to think that what he is doing sexually to woman is producing a ‘response’. He’s not necessarily looking for her to enjoy what he is doing.
A woman is not naturally inclined to move or make any noise during intercourse because she feels very little. In pornography, the portrayal of female arousal is based on the rape scenario. There is an inherent turn-on in the screams, the body straining to escape and the shocked expression of someone being penetrated against their will. The fear communicated by a victim can be a turn-on. This is the taboo of sex. Porn actresses’ faces express surprise as if she can feel the thrusting penis, which she cannot.
Women are offended by men who whistle at them on the street because instead of the romantic admiration women enjoy, men refer to crude and impersonal sexual urges. Unlike women, men do not need an emotional context to enjoy engaging in sexual activity. If women were aroused in a similar way, they would understand the male response. Women cannot understand how men can be attracted to a random passing woman.
For men, even the smallest hint of a sexual attribute, such as cleavage and camel toe, is cause for speculation. Women do not have the same fascination for men’s bodies. If women were aroused by a lover’s genitals, more men would display their bodies provocatively as a female turn-on. Equally, women would pay for lap-dancing and pole-dancing bars as men do. Women go to see male strippers for a laugh not for erotic arousal.
Men’s sexual fulfilment ultimately comes from their sex life, not from fantasies. But their fantasies lead them to believe that a woman should be aroused by what they do to her sexually. Some men need the emotional reassurance of an apparently engaged partner. This is difficult for women to understand. From a woman’s perspective if a man is hassling for sex, she assumes he should be able to satisfy his needs without her engagement. She assumes that a man only needs physical stimulation to enjoy sex.
It is, at once, an interesting reflection of man’s absorbing interest in sex, and his astounding ignorance of it; his desire to know and his unwillingness to face the facts; his respect for an objective, scientific approach to the problems involved and his overwhelming urge to be poetic, pornographic, literary, philosophic, traditional, and moral. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)