Men’s goal when engaging in sexual activity is simple. Men want to enjoy their own arousal by close contact with a lover’s body, enjoy various forms of penile stimulation but ultimately to obtain the sexual release of ejaculating into a lover’s body. A man is acutely aware of his sexual needs (and his frustration when those needs are not met). The strength of male sex drive tends to make men selfish in obtaining what they want and often oblivious to women’s perspective. Marriage provides the most reliable source of regular intercourse because most wives know that their husbands need sex.
Women send out mixed signals that are very confusing for a man. They display their bodies in ways that arouse men. But their behaviours are also timid and reluctant. So men often have no idea whether a sexual advance will be accepted or not. If he gets it wrong, he gets a slap across the face. If he gets it right, a woman returns his kiss. So the first kiss is a test. After that, a man has to find out what a woman’s morals are. Some women may be happy to proceed directly to sex. Others may want to spend more time continuing with a platonic but affectionate relationship that falls short of sex.
A dog chases a ball because the ball represents a small animal. Similarly a man is attracted to a woman because of the way she looks or moves. His sex drive (urge to penetrate) motivates him to want to mate with her. But what does a woman want to catch, overpower and dominate? Women are clearly not aroused by nudity or by sexual opportunities as men are.
When a carnivore lines up its prey you can see the tension. A bird flutters and rustles. The cat is mesmerised by the sight and sound of its prey. The predator sways on its haunches as it stares with fixed concentration at its prey. It’s thinking about how it can succeed in catching the bird. Then the cat tenses in anticipation. It sets off and pounces on the prey holding it down until it has subdued the victim by fear or physically paralysed it.
Mothers have difficulty controlling their sons from a young age. Boys grow up knowing that women can be persuaded and coerced. A man admires a woman’s docility, her sensitivity and her compassion. Even though heterosexual activity is clearly motivated by male arousal, men ensure that sex is always promoted as a universal and mutual pleasure. Men don’t want to admit that sex is one-sided in case they lose out on sexual opportunities.
It’s not that men are incapable of platonic love. But men’s sex drive puts sex at the centre of their adult life. A man feels loved when his sexual needs are satisfied. Their sex drive causes men to prey on women. A man is attracted by a specific woman who catches his attention. His other senses shut down as his mind focuses on the intense arousal he feels from observing her. He imagines her naked and what intercourse would feel like. He decides on a strategy to approach her and try to charm her into bed.
A man has to initiate his sexual advances against the background of women’s social natures. It isn’t easy. Risk of rejection is high but (depending on his sex drive) a man is compelled to try. Most men need some kind of invitation before they risk rejection. A man may wait for a woman to indicate her amenability or he may hint and wait for a reaction. Men mistakenly assume that women use the same criteria as men for their relationships. Men assume women are looking for sexual satisfaction. For a woman, sex is a social experience that can be (at its best) sensual and emotional. For these factors to operate, a woman needs a lover who appreciates the romantic aspects of sex. A woman hopes for a lover who is companionable and charming. Foremost, women are looking for men who are good providers.
The male dilemma is how to negotiate sexual opportunities. This relies on a partner’s amenability. Women have the opposite dilemma. They know a man wants regular sex and they feel under pressure to provide it. Marriage involves a man agreeing to limit his sexual opportunities in exchange for his wife offering him regular sex. Relationships are primarily for a woman’s benefit since they are often considered to be a requirement for family life.
Men are rarely motivated to take on the daily care of the children that result from their desire for intercourse. Men prefer to engage in active pursuits rather than care for others. Marriage is a legal contract that exists in every human society to ensure that men support women who care for their children. A woman can reward a man for his commitment to the relationship by offering intercourse. A woman’s key sexual role is to facilitate male orgasm, which also minimises the times she needs to spend.
The frequencies of marital intercourse are two or three times as high as the intercourse of the single male. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)