Home Intellectual aspects of sexuality How orgasm is achieved Arousal is psychological and arises in the mind

Arousal is psychological and arises in the mind

Men think about sex much more frequently and explicitly than women do for hormonal reasons. There are many erotic triggers that cause male arousal in the course of a day: from women in the street to advertising billboards for women’s underwear. Men are also aroused by kissing and caressing a lover. There are no similar triggers for female arousal. When sex is mentioned, women are embarrassed or offended rather than aroused.

The idea that a man has an orgasm with his head full of non-sexual thoughts (such as his current work schedule or a recent sporting event) is unthinkable. Of course, his mind is fully occupied by the erotic sights, sounds and sensations of sexual activity with a lover. During masturbation his mind is focused on a fantasy or visual stimulus such as pornography. A man is motivated to masturbate because of the sexual thoughts he enjoys.

As we know from the male experience (a man needs an erection before he can achieve orgasm), there is no point in trying to orgasm with an unaroused sex organ. When a man is mentally aroused, he has an erection so male arousal is very evident. The male brain responds to an erotic thought or a sight (a trigger). This mental arousal causes blood to flow to the penis, which is trapped thus causing an erection. A man is easily aroused by many stimuli. Anticipating sexual activity with a lover is sufficient to cause male arousal.

The mechanism for male orgasm is also fairly evident even without scientific understanding. Orgasm is a response of the nervous system, which means the brain controls it. Once it is tumescent, the sex organ becomes sensitive in a unique way (only the sex organ responds in this way) to stimulation. But the penis becomes many times more sensitive than the clitoris ever does. The clitoris is an internal organ and does not have the same mechanism (the penis has) for trapping blood. The stimulation that leads to orgasm involves massaging the corpora cavernosa within the tumescent sex organ.

Women engage in sex hoping that one day something will magically happen. But arousal doesn’t work this way. Ideally arousal is the initial trigger for engaging in sexual activity. But even a responsive woman is rarely conscious of her own arousal. When a partner is present, emotional and social factors dominate so a woman is never consciously aware of being aroused. A woman engages in sexual activity because of a partner’s initiative. Lesbians have sex because they think they are supposed to or because they enjoy the sense of emotional bonding that comes from sensual pleasuring.

Women enjoy abstract erotic concepts rather than images of genitals and penetration. A woman has to be anti-social to obtain the focus on eroticism she needs for orgasm. A woman keeps her eyes closed when alone, to be able to focus properly on the fantasy in her mind. Women do not experience arousal (during masturbation alone) as a distinct state of excitement as men do (that inevitably leads to orgasm). Female arousal is a mental state that directly precedes orgasm and is of short duration.

Women can only achieve such a state when they concentrate intensely on a fantasy during masturbation alone. With a lover, there is no chance of a woman obtaining the necessary focus. A male lover would never give her time a woman needs to orgasm because he wants to thrust to his own. Women have to make conscious effort to become aroused by using fantasies that have nothing to do with their real-life sexual experiences.

Much prejudice is based on the belief that people can make conscious choices over how they behave sexually. It is understandable that women might think this way because women rarely experience responsiveness. Men should know better. No one has a choice over what causes their arousal. Yet in the past, men have suggested homosexuals should be able to force themselves to have intercourse with women. It obviously doesn’t occur to men that the means by which they become aroused is not a conscious choice. We cannot change our subconscious responses. This equates to telling someone to teach themselves not to feel tired, hungry or thirsty.

It is not possible for two people to orgasm as the exact same moment. Orgasm is private and personal to us. It is a selfish pleasure. But men need to ideally ejaculate into a lover’s body so their orgasm is typically observed. Whereas a woman experiences orgasm when alone. Women enjoy eroticism through a more subtle mechanism that involves focusing on concepts rather than physical reality. A man expects his lover to assist with and share his experience of achieving orgasm. Sexual phenomena are much more vital to men than they are to a woman. A woman may be pleased that a man has been able to use her body to obtain his sexual release but she is not aroused by his ejaculation in the way that a male lover might be.

Aspects of control and domination, as well as the way a man might negotiate his own pleasure, are all core to arousal. We use BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) for arousal because it involves revelling in the control of others (of doing something to someone else). BDSM may be useful for arousal but it does not cause orgasm. A much more explicit focus on penetration is required for orgasm.

Similar situations are recognized in anger, in fear, and in epilepsy – all of which are physiologically related to sexual response. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)