Some boys and young men can be so highly aroused that they orgasm spontaneously or with little time needed to become aroused. But most adults (and certainly women) need a period of time to build the kind of arousal that leads to orgasm. Arousal arises as an instinctive response to turn-ons, which are objects or concepts that cause arousal, regardless of any relationship or emotional connection. So men can be erotically aroused by a total stranger.
Women tend to find this concept impersonal. Most women want to know a man well and have a sense of emotional connection before they offer a man intercourse. Women are attracted to a lover by emotional factors such as the sound of their voice or their personality rather than their sexual attributes. Women are attracted to men who exude charm and emotional warmth.
Turn-ons work unconditionally. A woman’s physical presence represents a sexual opportunity for man even if the woman is not emotionally amenable to sex. This is because men respond to women as objects (body parts) rather than individuals with feelings and choices. Intercourse is a simple pleasure for a man who can insist on taking his pleasure simply by using brute force. A woman cannot. A woman is not aroused by the physical presence of a man because intercourse represents, not a pleasure, but a potential risk. A woman offers intercourse under her own conditions. Most women want to feel confident that a man cares about her personally before offering intercourse.
Each generation of men thinks that women of their generation are more sexual than any previous generation of women. This is because young men are aroused by young women’s bodies. But our responsiveness does not depend on how we look. Responsiveness depends on what happens in the mind. Arousal occurs when the mind responds positively to eroticism. Young women are no more enthusiastic about eroticism than older women.
The turn-ons that trigger male arousal are many and varied. Male turn-ons include women’s legs, buttocks or breasts. Such stimuli cause arousal rather than orgasm. Otherwise a woman could just show a man her breasts instead of needing to offer intercourse. Orgasm triggers must be much more explicit. Men orgasm from the reality of being a penetrator in penetrative sex. To orgasm alone, both sexes need to focus on highly explicit erotic concepts.
A person needs to be able to block out other distractions in order to obtain the focus necessary to achieve orgasm. The precise thoughts that cause orgasm are highly explicit, personal and often taboo. The concept or the reality of penetrating a lover is the kind of specific turn-on that can cause orgasm. Responsive women use fantasy to focus on the concept of penetrating a lover. Women masturbate to orgasm alone by using surreal fantasies, which are independent of a lover or any relationships in real life.
Many men are turned on by objects that they associate with sex, such as women’s underwear. Men talk about women’s panties because of the association with genitals and, therefore, with sexual activity. Other men are aroused by sucking on a woman’s nipple. Women are bemused by this male fascination with a partner’s sexual anatomy and underwear, which they evidently do not share. Men’s minds are much more varied in how they use real life scenarios for erotic arousal. Traditionally men have enjoyed “wine, women and song” but there is no female equivalent. Women enjoy relaxing with a book, a non-sexual massage, chatting with friends or clothes shopping.
Some men need a woman to dress up and act out a role in order to obtain their sexual and emotional satisfaction. Popular outfits include house maids, nurses and air stewardesses. Women who work in these lower earning jobs may be more amenable to sexual advances because of the social advantage of obtaining a rich benefactor. Women are not aroused in the same way by the idea of a man acting out different roles or wearing a costume. Some women will provide for a man’s unusual needs especially if they are paid.
Some men develop an association between arousal and objects or activities. These result from the way the brain develops and responds to erotic stimuli. As with any arousal mechanism, we have no choice over what arouses us. A fetish is an object that is not directly associated with sexual activity. Men who have fetishes need to have the object on hand or be fantasizing about it, whether they are alone or with a partner, to reach orgasm. A man might masturbate while he holds, smells, rubs or tastes the object. He might ask a partner to wear it or use it during sexual activity. The most common fetish is feet, followed by clothing (often leather or rubber). A fetish, like porn addiction, is not a disorder unless it causes intense, lasting distress. In an attempt to imply equality, some sources suggest some women’s willingness to engage in kink and BDSM activities is equivalent to having a male fetish.
Women associate sex with a loving act because of their desire for affection. For men, sex can be compatible with violence and aggressive behaviour. A few men even enjoy torture and killing. Men share photographs or live footage (in confidential rings) of real victims (typically women or children) being raped or beaten. There is an adrenaline rush that comes from contemplating an act of aggression and a unique gratification that arises from observing an act of cruelty or violation. The helplessness of the victim causes feelings akin to (but different to) arousal (even in women). Few people are willing to acknowledge such feelings, which contribute to the taboo of sex. They arise from our primitive fascination with observing the gruesome fate of another person. In the past, people watched public hangings or prisoners being butchered. Today, they can watch violent or blood-thirsty movies.
Fetishism is an almost exclusively male phenomenon. (Alfred Kinsey)