HomeIntellectual aspects of sexualityHow orgasm is achievedDifferences between men and women’s responses

Differences between men and women’s responses

One of the major differences between the way men and women respond in sexual scenarios is that being touched by a lover, is emotionally 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. Men look for signs that a lover is amenable to sex. A woman’s lack of arousal means that any stimulation by a lover has little effect. Being touched by a lover may provide some sensual and emotional pleasure for a woman but primarily when she is first in love. She is likely to be embarrassed by some men’s desire to suck on her nipples because of the parallel with suckling a baby. Any manual manipulation of the clitoral glans can be painful or even uncomfortable if not well lubricated. Cunnilingus provides little sensation as does intercourse.

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.

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 hormonal arousal and the ability to be aroused by many triggers in their daily lives. Highly responsive men are conscious 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 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.

A boy’s masturbatory activities are a natural precursor to his adult sexual activity. During masturbation, he imagines a real-world situation that later on 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 penetrating a body orifice with an erect penis.

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. Men are highly sensitised because of their genital and whole-body tumescence. A woman undoubtedly enjoys a fraction of the physical and emotional sensations of a man’s orgasm. Female masturbation is a 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.

Most men (especially when younger) are easily aroused and can achieve orgasm in almost any position with a lover. They enjoy different forms of penile stimulation such as oral sex, manual stimulation and penetrative sex. Although male masturbation depends on a manual technique that varies little between individuals, it does not depend on a fixed body position. Some men have had partners but find the erotic pleasures of masturbation, such as in voyeur bars, or using a prostitute can substitute for sexual activity with a lover without having to incur the emotional and financial overhead of a relationship. Even responsive women are not aroused nearly as easily as men or by as many erotic stimuli. Most women are unresponsive. They never masturbate to orgasm because they never discover how to achieve arousal.

Women are not nearly as flexible as men are in the circumstances in which they can orgasm. The position a responsive woman uses for masturbation (to orgasm) is fixed for two main reasons. Firstly, she needs to block out the real world to focus on her fantasy. By lying face down and shutting her eyes, she assumes what feels like a comfort position. It probably feels that way because it is an instinctive position. Secondly, she massages the internal clitoral organ by pressing down into the tissue alongside and slightly below her labia. At the same time, she pushes her hips forward and clenches her buttock muscles. This is almost impossible to achieve in any other position.

The male is aroused at observing his potential sexual partner, as most females are not. (Alfred Kinsey)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)