When a man walks down the street with a woman on his arm, he is proud that others may assume that he has a sexual relationship with her. His role is one of command and supremacy. He has obtained her approval as a lover and is the happy recipient of her sexual favours. Other men envy him when his lover is attractive, sexually provocative and demonstrably affectionate.
When a woman walks down the street with a man on her arm, her feelings are quite different. She is happy because she feels emotionally close to her lover. She enjoys her feeling of security at having his protection. She may be proud of his achievements, of his earning ability or just the car he drives. Other women envy her when her lover is handsome, rich and affectionate.
A man’s sex drive means that he pays little attention to his general appearance. His sex drive focuses his mind on the need to ejaculate through intercourse. He hopes that a lover will stimulate his penis. But a woman has a social (rather than an erotic) focus. She hopes a lover will keep in shape, particularly as he ages, and that he will wear attractive (not functional) clothes. This is a key misunderstanding between the sexes. Each sex hopes the other will provide what they want but fails to give what their lover wants.
Men need to be aroused by a sexual opportunity. From adolescence onwards many men have their heads full of sexual fantasies on a daily basis. Men have the benefit of both a hormonal arousal and an ability to be aroused by many triggers in their daily lives. Men are consciously aware of their arousal and have a strong sense of wanting to resolve that arousal as orgasm. They imagine opportunities for penetration and anticipate the pleasure they will enjoy as a penetrator. They imagine that a lover approaches sexual scenarios with exactly the same degree of anticipation.
A boy’s masturbatory activities are a natural precursor to his adult sexual activity. During masturbation, he imagines a real-world situation that later he is able to realise to some degree. His sex drive focuses his mind on sociable activity with a real-world partner and penetrative sex that can be accounted for on reproductive grounds. Even for male homosexuals, their focus on anal sex is a clear parallel to the reproductive heterosexual act. All male sociable activity centres on stimulation of the penis. Fellatio, anal and vaginal intercourse all involve using the penis to penetrate an orifice.
A woman’s masturbatory activities do not relate to sociable activity in the same way. They are quite standalone because she does not experience a sex drive to engage in sociable activity nor is she aroused by real world stimuli. A woman is not normally conscious of her physical arousal. Women can engage in intercourse without being in the least aroused. A responsive woman consciously decides to achieve arousal by using erotic fantasies. Female masturbation is a very private and personal experience that a woman cannot account for in terms of reproductive activity. Her discovery of orgasm is instinctive but it doesn’t make sense. She may be disturbed by the nature of the fantasies that cause her erotic arsousal. This is very different to the emotional sensations that she experiences with a lover.
One of the major differences between the way men and women respond in sexual scenarios is that being touched by a lover, is emotionally and sexually significant to men. A man takes pleasure in stimulating his penis when alone because he is aroused. But his pleasure with a lover is much greater because of the emotional acceptance of having a lover touch his genitals. He may assume that a woman is aroused by the sight of his erect penis. He may assume that a woman shares his pride in being able to achieve an erection.
A woman is not aroused by a lover’s genitals. Neither is being touched by a lover sexually significant to a woman but there may be sensual and emotional pleasure. Having a man suck on her nipples can be embarrassing because of the parallel with suckling a baby. Any manual manipulation of the clitoral glans can be painful or uncomfortable if not well lubricated. Cunnilingus provides very little sensation as does vaginal intercourse. A woman’s lack of arousal means any stimulation by a lover has little effect.
Men are much more flexible in terms of how and when they can orgasm: either alone through masturbation or with a lover through oral sex or intercourse. Men use a variety of positions for masturbation and for sex. They can also orgasm from different forms of penile stimulation such as oral, manual and penetrative sex. Women are not nearly as flexible as men are in the circumstances in which they can orgasm. Women are not aroused nearly as easily as men or by as many erotic stimuli. Women’s sexual psychology is largely subconscious. When masturbating alone, a responsive woman is much more limited in the position and stimulation she needs to use to orgasm. She needs to consciously focus on erotic fantasies to orgasm.
Men and women experience orgasm differently. A man has the turn-on of penetration and domination. A man is very conscious of his need for release. He has the sensation of ejaculating and release from sexual frustration. Even for a woman a release feels best when some time has elapsed since the last orgasm. The focus on eroticism is a fantasy scenario for a woman but could be a turn-on for a man such as a new sexual partner.
The male is aroused at observing his potential sexual partner, as most females are not. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)