Few women provide explicit erotic turn-ons. But most, at least initially, are affectionate. Demonstrating affection involves close physical intimacy and causes male arousal. When a man is overwhelmed by sensations of arousal, he assumes that a woman feels exactly the same responses. He can interpret her affection as a turn-on because, to him, it appears to be a sexual invitation.
For many people penetration is the ultimate turn-on because it is the most intimate act we can engage in with another person. Different positions for intercourse are popular because they allow men to observe their penis thrusting into their lover’s body. Different positions also bring women some welcome variety to what is, for women, a very basic and repetitive mating act.
A woman can sit astride a man’s erect penis (woman-on-top), using her arms to lift her weight and simulate thrusting in reverse. The position allows a man to enjoy seeing a woman’s breasts. He may interpret his lover’s proactiveness as a sign of her own arousal. But sadly, women are not aroused with a lover. Women tend to tire of this position which involves considerable effort. It is suggested that being on top allows a woman to obtain the clitoral stimulation she needs for orgasm. This is incorrect. Stimulation of the clitoral glans does not cause orgasm. Doggy style can also feel highly erotic. Rear entry by the male is typical for mammals. Many women object to the position because it accentuates the crude eroticism of intercourse. By highlighting a man’s focus on ejaculating into an orifice, a woman may feel like a receptacle for semen.
More proactive couples change the venue for sex on an ad hoc basis. Some people enjoy the risk of being caught or observed in venues such as on public transport or in the cinema. Some men fantasize about having intercourse outdoors or in unusual places. Some people like to watch and others like to be watched. Dogging is popular in the UK, which involves couples having sex (often in the car) in woods that are designated for the purpose so that others (primarily men) can watch. Others may prefer the privacy and seclusion of venues such as a private garden or a remote rural location. Up against a tree (something to lean on) or behind a large bush both work well.
Quickies can be erotic when used in different venues. Quickies often involve a standing position, for example rear entry with the woman bent over a table or in the shower. The woman can support herself against an object (a tree, a table or the side of the shower) or lean over at 90 degrees and rest face down. If a woman usually moves her hips during intercourse (to provide the turn-on of assisting with penile stimulation and have a more proactive role) it can be a pleasant change to have the excuse to contribute no effort whatsoever.
A man can tell a woman what he is thinking as he stimulates her from behind. A man should talk in terms of desire, domination and possession rather than the explicit and graphic sexual urges that men enjoy. A man can stroke the area between a woman’s thighs (from clitoris through to anus). He can hold her butt cheeks apart before and as he penetrates her. He can use a hand to hold a woman firmly down as he dominates her (only with her permission!).
A man should change his rhythm of thrusting and depth of penetration by alternating between teasing the glans of his penis in the entrance of his lover’s vagina (the most sensitive part) and using longer deeper thrusts. A man can use his body weight to provide a sense of domination. When a man thrusts deeply into the vagina, the base of his penis thumps against her vulva and perineum (towards the anus). The woman may enjoy mild sensations of arousal, especially when her partner’s groin grinds into her labia and clitoris.
A woman may appreciate the eroticism of being dominated (from the whole-body contact and his weight) and the psychological satisfaction of being penetrated (from knowing that his penis is deep inside her body). Intercourse provides little internal sensation but a woman can feel external pressure. A man can demonstrate affection by kissing and caressing her.
BDSM involves the use of physical restraints that limit a person’s range of motion and the play-acting of submissive and dominant roles by consenting adults. To increase safety, couples use a safe word so that the person in the submissive role can stop all activity. They also discuss in advance what they agree to be the limits on permitted activities. A less risky version involves using light bondage and a blindfold to make sex slightly more mysterious and heighten the sensations of being penetrated and touched by a lover.
For women, sex is a sensual rather than an erotic experience. The rewards of sex are emotional rather than based on physical gratification. Women may enjoy sensual teasing, sexual anticipation and feeling desired. This all takes time, which is difficult for a younger man. Older men, who are less acutely aroused, have more time to spend pleasuring a lover and enjoying their own arousal. Some couples enjoy dressing up or using fantasy role play to play act sexual scenarios. Some couples enjoy spanking and other kink activities. What appeals depends on our personality, our responsiveness (because a person needs to be responsive to appreciate eroticism) and our fantasies.
Women often conclude that men lack imagination when it comes to sex. This is because intercourse is a relatively mundane repetitive act for a woman whereas for a man, penetrating the vagina (with the ultimate goal of ejaculating into it) represents the most erotic situation imaginable. This is natural given men’s biological sex drive. Many men have no need for fantasies of any kind because intercourse is sufficient for their sexual needs.
Just as in the human species, it is the male among practically all of the mammals which initiates the ultimate genital union. (Alfred Kinsey)