We cannot start to understand sexuality unless we differentiate between responsiveness and conscious behaviours. For the most part, our minds and bodies function in similar ways regardless of sex or orientation. We cannot control the level of our sex drive, the erotic stimuli that cause our arousal and the frequency with which we orgasm. Our responsiveness cannot be changed. But sexuality depends, not only on our responsiveness, but also on our personality. Different people employ a range of behaviours according to their personality. Some people view sex as a series of conquests. Some enjoy fantasy and masturbation. Others enjoy exploring sex play with a lover. We consciously choose to engage in fantasy, masturbation and erotic sex play.
Men enjoy talking about the turn-on of a lover’s sexual attributes, the sexual pleasure they enjoy with a lover and the satisfaction of obtaining their sexual release. Women do not talk about a partner in the same way. Women talk of love and companionable activities they share with someone they love.
There are different motivations for our conscious sexual behaviours. Some behaviours are motivated by a person’s responsiveness. For many men, sex involves enjoying sexual release and the physical gratification obtained from penetrative sex. The most responsive men are more proactive than average in seeking out a partner. Most men, especially the more responsive, are looking for opportunities to be the penetrator in any sexual situation. A woman’s physical presence signals a potential sexual opportunity. Men are initially attracted by a person’s looks but their goal is obtaining intercourse.
We are all different in the sense that we have a unique set of genes. But saying that every woman responds sexually in a different way is just the result of sexual ignorance. Much of women’s sexuality is defined by conscious behaviours, which cause the apparent variations between women. If women were aroused with a lover, they would use consistent stimulation on the same anatomy. In heterosexual relationships, the man is the proactive partner who stimulates the anatomy, such as the breasts and vagina, that arouse him. Even responsive women (who are capable of orgasm) are not aroused with a lover. So women have no reason to stimulate themselves with a sexual partner.
On average men are much more promiscuous than women. Homosexual men demonstrate similar behaviours to heterosexual men. Regardless of orientation, men have a drive to engage in penetrative sex and to enjoy the eroticism of being physically intimate with a lover. Lesbian women are rarely promiscuous. Lesbians have long-term relationships based on emotional attachments. Lesbians enjoy companionable activities and engage in affectionate sex play, such as kissing and whole-body caressing. Orientation determines turn-ons (whether we are aroused by the same sex or opposite sex). It cannot affect the anatomy involved in orgasm. Lesbians stimulate the clitoris during their sex play but this does not mean that they achieve orgasm.
Women’s behaviours are determined by their personality and attitudes. This includes their amenability to offering a male lover an opportunity for penetration as well as their willingness to pleasure and be pleasured by a lover. Women might admire an attractive man but if he displayed his erect penis, they would run a mile. Men do not use the teasing behaviours women employ because men are actively looking to engage in sexual opportunities.
If a woman behaves in a sexually provocative way, a man concludes that she has taken deliberate steps to arouse him. He assumes that she knowingly behaves in this way to obtain the intercourse that his erection can provide. He assumes she is happy with the consequences of her actions. Women instinctively want to be admired by men because it is a means of obtaining male protection. Women are often quite unaware of how their provocative behaviour affects a man because women do not have a sex drive. They come to accept that men want intercourse in exchange for offering protection.
When a man stops getting the sex he wants, he stops feeling loved. A woman offers sex initially out of love. But she expects to obtain some benefit in return for offering sex. This benefit is essentially emotional control. She assumes that a man will feel gratitude towards her for providing sex. She expects him to offer gifts, pay the bills or just be considerate of her wishes. If he repeatedly ignores her requests, she feels disrespected. He has taken the sex that he wants from the relationship but he has not been willing to give back what a woman wants. As a result the woman stops feeling loved.
Women’s reproductive role makes them dependent on a man’s support. So women have to be more amenable than men in general. A woman’s behaviour of offering sex is not just generosity on her part. It is also a selfish behaviour because she knows that by offering sex, she will gain more control in the relationship. There is a chance (at least to begin with) that a man will be more willing to please her as a lover. Unfortunately male post-coital gratitude tends to diminish over the years as a man takes sex for granted.
Women’s sexual passivity means that they are more likely to focus on pleasing a lover. Most of the time this is not about being sexually proactive. It simply means offering men an opportunity for penetrative sex. Perhaps women’s apparent generosity as lovers has nothing to do with them being nice people but is purely a result of a selfish behaviour to ensure their own survival and the achievement of their goal of raising children to maturity.
The problem I’ve heard most about over the years … is the problem of mismatched desire … which is the issue of sex-starved men and reluctant women … (Bettina Arndt)
Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)