Home Social aspects of sexuality Sexual pleasuring Sexual pleasure is defined by sociable activity

Sexual pleasure is defined by sociable activity

Mammals use grooming to connect socially with others. They also snuggle up together for warmth and comfort. Regardless of responsiveness, it can be reassuring to feel the proximity of another person’s body: the gentle rise and fall of their abdomen, the warmth and feel of their skin are comforting. The pleasures a woman enjoys from sex, depend very much on the woman. Some women never enjoy sex. Women have little direct motivation to do so, since they are not erotically aroused with a lover. Women of both orientations can enjoy emotional sensations from physical intimacy with a person they love.

Sexual pleasure is defined in male terms as the pleasure obtained from sexual activity with a lover. Men can enjoy both erotic and emotional pleasure with a lover. But the emotional pleasure derives from (is a direct result of) erotic pleasure. Men feel loved because of the pleasure a lover allows them to enjoy (by offering an opportunity for penetrative sex). Men enjoy a tension that comes from arousal that women never experience. Men enjoy the feel, the smells and body secretions of a lover. Women are not aroused with a lover. So emotional factors are much more vital to a woman.

Most people assume a woman should orgasm with lover even though the research findings indicated that most women do not orgasm from sociable activities. The assumption was that women could be helped to orgasm if a lover knew the correct anatomy to stimulate. No one asked why women did not know this for themselves. Today the clitoris remains as obscure as it ever was. Very few women ever masturbate to orgasm but, even for those who do, there are no easy explanations for why they do not orgasm with a lover.

If we are sufficiently aroused (so that orgasm is possible) then it does not matter who provides the necessary stimulation: ourselves or a lover. There may be a turn-on associated with knowing that a lover is stimulating us but the stimulation itself is just that: physical. So if a woman cannot stimulate herself to orgasm then it will be impossible for a lover to achieve the same.

Men find almost any stimulation by a lover to be emotionally significant. Whereas women experience only social and emotional feelings with a lover. The receiving partner (male or female) may enjoy the emotional satisfaction of offering this pleasure to the penetrator (a male partner). Given women are not aroused with a lover, their sexual role is one of pleasuring men. Men come to expect women to provide the sexual come-ons and turn-ons that assist with male orgasm. Women need to use conscious behaviours (such as faking orgasm) if they want to emulate the arousal men expect them to feel.

Once a woman has got a man interested in having sex with her, it’s over to him. What happens after that is totally up to him. He wouldn’t be there if he wasn’t aroused by her body. All that a man needs for orgasm is the stimulation that can be provided by intercourse. So women don’t ask about male orgasm or what men need to enjoy sexual pleasure. Ejaculation and post-coital gratitude usually provide enough evidence of male satisfaction. But a man wants some reassurance that his lover has enjoyed his lovemaking.

Women’s experience of orgasm does not fall within men’s definition of sexual. Almost all male sexual activity focuses on the idea of penetration. Sexual pleasure is assumed to involve interactive activity focused on penetrative sex. Even a woman who masturbates, thinks of masturbation as separate to her sexual relationship. Female masturbation to orgasm (not the genital display of porn) is not erotic from a male perspective. There are no male turn-ons. There is no chase, no interaction and no genital display.

Because of the male experience, it is incorrectly assumed that women should orgasm more easily with a lover than when alone. Masturbation provides women with an opportunity to enjoy arousal and orgasm without the life-threatening risks involved in intercourse (pregnancy and childbirth). Men and women enjoy sexual arousal and orgasm under different circumstances. Women are not aroused by real-world triggers such as the body of a lover or opportunities for penetration. In order to enjoy orgasm, they need to consciously focus on sexual fantasies, which is only possible when alone.

Women masturbate to enjoy the sensations of orgasm and sometimes to help them sleep or relax. A woman cannot share this pleasure with a lover. This is not her conscious choice. It is how female sexual psychology works. The erotic fantasies a responsive woman uses for orgasm alone do not work with a lover. They are quite different to the romantic fantasies some women refer to. They typically involve BDSM and rape. Specifically, they do not relate to a real-life relationship and certainly not activities a woman wants to engage in for real. A woman needs 100% concentration for a fantasy to be effective. The presence of a lover interferes with this fragile arousal process.

Many lesbians have relationships that never include genital activity. A woman may enjoy greater sensual pleasures with a female partner. Men’s bodies are firm and muscular. Women’s bodies are usually softer and more sensual than men’s because of the body fat that their bodies naturally have. Women look after themselves more than men in general so they often both look and smell better. Women often enjoy looking at other women for this reason. But no woman, even if she is lesbian, is sexually aroused purely by sexual anatomy as men are. Women (especially lesbians) engage in relationships to enjoy affectionate companionship. Many lesbians never have sex at all.

A woman’s basic energy is usually channelled into ‘nurturing spirit’, while a man’s is usually channelled into ‘warrior spirit’. (Kramer & Dunaway)