Thursday, August 8, 2019
Home Biological aspects of sexuality Human reproduction How the male and female sexual roles differ

How the male and female sexual roles differ

Primitive life, such as bacteria, reproduce asexually. But most animals and plants reproduce sexually so that offspring inherit genes from both parents. Even in plants, the mechanism for enabling the male gamete to join with the female gamete is engineered by the male reproductive part. There is competition between male gametes because only one fuses with the female gamete. This is essentially the definition of male and female in biology.

Single-sex organisms produce and fertilise their own eggs. The male is a later evolutionary development. Early single-sex organisms evolved a phallus. Then over eons, the development of the phallus varied according to the responsiveness of the individual. The evolution of the two sexes, male and female, involved more active individuals impregnating less active ones.
Those organisms that succeeded in penetrating another individual evolved into more proactive males. Those individuals who were willing to be impregnated evolved into more passive females. This is fundamental to understanding that a person’s sex is related to their general metabolic rate. The more physically active are often more responsive. Orgasm involves a mindset that is intent on being the penetrator in sexual activity. This means psychological arousal relies on identifying with the male role in intercourse. This explains why female masturbation is so rare in the general population.

Responsiveness (the ability to respond to the point of orgasm) is part of male reproductive function. For reproduction to occur, a spermatozoa (from the man) must join with the egg (from the woman). This involves:

  • A man having an erect penis (male arousal);
  • A man being motivated to penetrate a vagina (male sex drive); and
  • A man being motivated to thrust until ejaculation (male orgasm).

The female sexual role is much more passive due to a woman’s lack of responsiveness. Her role is based on conscious behaviours. She is able to choose a mate on more objective criteria such as whether he dedicated to her and willing to provide for her over decades while she raises children.

Heterosexual women’s sexuality involves:

  • A motivation to make themselves attractive to men;
  • A willingness to facilitate male orgasm through intercourse; and
  • A longer-term desire for companionship and family.

None of these involve a woman’s arousal and orgasm. They depend on women’s conscious decisions and sexual behaviours rather than responses. Heterosexuality relies on the symbiotic relationship between men and women.
Sexual differentiation involves more than the anatomy we are born with. There are differences in behaviour between the sexes even in very young children. Various chemicals, including hormones, control emotional and sexual response. The male and female brains respond very differently.

Male and female sexualities are not the same. They complement each other. A man’s reproductive role is to maximise his opportunities for intercourse. Women’s sexual role is to co-operate with the male desire for intercourse and to assist a man with obtaining his sexual release. Many erotic stimuli that men enjoy are repugnant to women. Most men have little interest in the emotional stimuli that women enjoy. A woman’s reproductive focus is to establish an affectionate relationship that can support family life.

Even in male homosexual relationships, one man often assumes a dominant role as penetrator and the other a more submissive role as receiver. So gay men need to use behaviours before they pair up to indicate whether they are dominant or submissive. Fairly naturally a more dominant male is less sensitive to the needs of a partner. A more submissive male is more ready to accept bad behaviour from his partner because he obtains some emotional reassurance from his partner’s stronger drive and personality.
The male sexual role is a proactive one that is driven by a man’s responsiveness over which he has no conscious control. A man must be aroused by his partner so that he can obtain the sexual release he needs. A man’s sexual role involves approaching women until one of them accepts him.

A man is attracted to a woman foremost by his genital response (sexual arousal) to her body, behaviour and personality. When a man is aroused by a woman, he also experiences an urge to penetrate her. He approaches her to obtain intercourse. A woman must choose from those men who present themselves. She is attracted men who show a caring interest in her, who provide the emotional reassurance of confident behaviour or who excite her in an intellectual sense with their personality. Specifically, she does not experience a genital response, either mental or physical arousal, from seeing her lover’s body or from anticipating sexual activity. Her attraction to her lover is based on enjoying his companionship and his affections.

The average male … has a greater need than most females have for a regular and frequent sexual outlet. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)