Some men only ever have one lover and many are loyal to one partner. Other men decide to keep their options open. For some men, sex is an opportunity to explore sexual pleasuring with different partners. They are horrified by the idea of limited themselves to one partner. Later in life, men are less responsive and their opportunities for casual sex reduce. They may accept a more stable relationship with one lover.
Men take up sexual opportunities as they arise much more readily than a woman does. An inclination for promiscuity is accepted as a natural and defining characteristic of male sexuality. Men are open in their admiration of women regardless of their relationship status.
Lack of confidence and self-esteem may cause a woman to be promiscuous particularly in a society that condones female promiscuity as in the West today. Some women hope that by providing sex, they will themselves be loved. But women’s emotional drive does not depend on sex itself but on being appreciated and cared for by a lover. Women do not obtain the sexual gratification that causes sex to have a comfort factor for men.
Many fewer women are attracted to having casual sex with multiple partners. Women are more typically looking for a relationship. They enjoy the intimacy and reassurance of knowing someone well. This depends on how much we expect to open up to a lover. It also depends on how superficial our relationships are with others in general. Over time the trust and communication that ideally builds up between lovers, provides the opportunity to explore sex play. This depends to some degree on how much a couple invests in communication.
Some couples like the idea that they are not bound to another person for decades. We are all living longer due to improved health and life-styles. So ‘til death do us part’ is longer than it used to be centuries ago. But for most couples this is not an option and adultery is a guilty secret. Divulging infidelities can be unwise. Many people demand an instant divorce.
It used to be called wife-swapping but today the more unisex term ‘swinging’ is used. People congregate to have intercourse with complete strangers. Some people find this extremely erotic while others find it the reverse because of the lack of emotional context. Even though women do not orgasm from these encounters, they enjoy being admired sexually. The motivation for engaging in the activity comes from their partners.
Intercourse is the default heterosexual activity. The novelty aspect of casual sex means that a man is likely to focus on having intercourse as soon as possible. He does not want to ejaculate before he even gets started. There is unlikely to be much foreplay, which needs more time for trust and communication to develop. So casual sex focuses on intercourse.
Women are initially wary of what a man might do during a sexual encounter. This comes from the natural sexual roles of the man actively following through on his arousal to explore a woman’s body and initiate intercourse. Equally a woman feels her own passivity in approaching sexual activity with no motivation to do anything other than go along with (or to defend herself against) whatever the man wants.
Not every man (particularly if he has a loyal partner) welcomes an approach from an attractive woman. Women so seldom take the social initiative that he may assume her motives are sexual. He may feel pressured by his own assumption that a sexual performance is expected of him.
Men have sex to enjoy the physical and psychological stimuli of sexual activity with a partner. They enjoy the conquest and the self-indulgent pleasure. A man has affairs for fun and variety. He is angry if his wife does the same. He doesn’t accept her objections to his behaviour. But she is insulted that he has chosen another woman over her. She may withhold sex. Why should she make the effort if it is so unimportant to him?
The most promiscuous women are prostitutes. The most promiscuous men are homosexual. Obviously the motivations are different. Men’s motivations are sexual. Gay men have the best source of willing sexual partners (other men). Women’s motivations are usually financial.
Some women enjoy casual sex and are happy to have superficial sexual contacts just for the fun and for the ego. They enjoy the chatting-up and a romantic dinner. Sex is a small price to pay. But they have sex when they feel like it. They can go for weeks without sex and no one notices. A wife does not have this luxury. Women who are in relationships with men, have sex with a much greater frequency and regularity than women who engage in casual sex. This is one of the injustices women face. Women who are promiscuous are considered more sexual than women who are loyal.
Numerous research studies make it very clear that the people who have the best quality and most frequent sex are married couples. That says a lot about the inadequacies of ‘casual sex’. (Les Parrot 2009)