Home Social aspects of sexuality Sexual pleasuring Sexual pleasure need not always focus on orgasm

Sexual pleasure need not always focus on orgasm

Alfred Kinsey concluded that any research based on the emotional aspects of sex would be too subjective and open to personal interpretation. He chose to use responsiveness as an objective measure of sexual activity. Measuring physical phenomenon is a very natural male perspective on sexual function. Kinsey acknowledged that this quantitative approach meant that his research did not include a more qualitative assessment of sexuality.

When we suggest that a couple spends some sexy time together, the inference is that they engage in genitally focused activity. We tend to define sex and sexy in the way that men understand these words, in terms of eroticism. But women can find spending time with a lover cuddled up on the sofa watching a sentimental film, very sexy. They may also find it sexy spending time having a romantic dinner. A woman does not get the same emotional fulfilment from sex that men do. But that does not mean that a woman cannot enjoy sex. A woman can appreciate many aspects of sensual pleasuring because she does not have men’s pressing need for orgasm.

Sexual activity is any behaviour that is directed towards achieving orgasm. But if we consider the person giving oral sex and the person receiving (vaginal or anal) intercourse, even though they are not aiming to orgasm themselves, their behaviour is still sexual. So the role of facilitating another person’s orgasm is just as sexual as being the person who has an orgasm.

There is an aspect of sexual pleasure that is uniquely defined by orgasm. It is the satisfaction of obtaining a sexual release, together with the muscle spasms and relaxing aftermath that go with a good orgasm. Men have a natural advantage because they experience orgasm more commonly than women do. But men lose out in other ways that only women can appreciate.

Because of their sex drive, men naturally assume that the function of sexual activity is to focus on the genital stimulation that leads to orgasm. They assume that women respond as they do and that women seek genital stimulation above all else. But genital stimulation is only pleasurable if you are aroused and women are not aroused (enough to orgasm) with a lover.

Men think they’re sexual because they have an arousal cycle that ends with grunts and ejaculation of semen. But they miss the enjoyment of sensuality, the emotional pleasure, the needing and the loving, touching and feeling. It’s all over in a flash; until the next time. Women’s sexuality involves a desire to spend time with a lover enjoying affectionate companionship.

When a woman loves another person, she is typically motivated to demonstrate her affection by kissing and caressing a lover’s body. She is not aroused by and so not motivated to stimulate a lover’s genitals as a man is. But if she knows that genital stimulation pleases a lover, she may offer it.

Sexual activity (alone or with a partner) can include psychological (emotional and erotic) and physical (sensual and genital) stimuli that may be delightful but that do not necessarily result in orgasm. This issue is vital in appreciating the confusion over female orgasm. Men’s responsiveness means that male sexual release is a priority but women don’t need orgasm.

Men approach sexual activity (alone or with a lover) already aroused and so stimulation leads to orgasm. Women are not spontaneously aroused and so stimulation does not guarantee orgasm. Therefore, women often engage in sex without ever having an orgasm. A woman accepts that she does not orgasm so she hopes to enjoy more general sensual pleasuring with a lover.

Two things need to happen. First a man has to work out what keeps a woman happy outside the bedroom. This involves non-sexual intimacy and caring behaviours, including sympathetic listening, taking an interest in her concerns, demonstrating affection giving support, admiration and respect.

Secondly a couple needs to invest time and effort in their sexual pleasuring. They should plan a sex session once in a while. A man should invest in some accessories such as sex toys and porno movies. A woman needs to give some directions on what she thinks might work. Movies need to have some story content to be interesting for women. Women are embarrassed about such things so a man needs to be patient and willing to experiment. On an ad hoc basis couples could also plan some quickies for variety by changing the venue for intercourse to the shower or outdoors, for example.

The key reason women (even lesbians) do not orgasm by any means with a lover is that there are no naturally occurring erotic turn-ons that arouse women. This situation must be almost impossible for a man to imagine because he is extremely aroused by sexual opportunities with a lover. Her lack of arousal, makes it exceedingly difficult for a woman to contribute to the erotic scenario. Even if she knows that conscious behaviours are called for, she runs out of imagination. A man can help by suggesting the activities that he would enjoy. Any partner who is motivated by sexual activity needs to make it easy for a lover by taking the initiative and driving the action.

Women, more often than men, report that they find sex to be pleasurable even if they do not orgasm. … many women enjoy the intimacy that sex provides, the kissing, touching, closeness, etc. (Debby Herbenick 2015)