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The sexual politics of women competing over men

If men and women wanted the same thing there would be no sexual politics. Men and women are at odds because they want different things. Marriage comes with its privileges and obligations. A man’s reward is regular sex. A woman’s reward is caring for those she loves. Sexual politics involves men and women using sex to manipulate and exploit each other. Men tell women that they can enjoy sexual pleasure to optimise their sexual opportunities. Women tell men that they love sex to get money or relationship rewards.

Women’s orgasm claims are just simple mantras, totally lacking in erotic detail. They reflect male beliefs that women orgasm from the stimulation that men provide. Women never refer to turn-ons in the appreciative way that men do. They don’t talk about their enjoyment of a lover’s body. If their claims were true, they would be sympathetic towards those less fortunate rather than defensive. Instead, they are superior and condescending, basking in the glory of male admiration and male protection from challenges to the obvious holes in their claims. Men are convinced because they want to be.

Women boast about orgasm to impress others and to bolster their own or a lover’s ego. Some women like the attention they get, or the money they make, by promoting themselves sexually. They are confident that no one will ever be able to assess their willingness to do more than flaunt their bodies and their bravado. A woman impresses less worldly women with her supposed sexual expertise. She can change the political balance by suggesting that men are sex objects she uses for her own satisfaction. When a responsive woman enjoys orgasm alone, none of the above apply. But other women are threatened because her experience calls their own orgasm claims into doubt.

Kinsey warned of sexually inert spinsters who were commonly found in the educational institutions of his time. He remarked that teenage boys have more orgasms than these women have in their whole lives. What he did not appreciate is that these women are not trying to please men. Very few women are willing to be honest about their lack of sexual motivation. Millions of other women either actively support the male view of their sexuality or passively allow it to prevail. Most women desperately want male approval. Women’s most prominent sexual behaviour is their desire to please men.

Men evidently do not get the variety and type of activity they would like from their relationships with women. Otherwise men would not seek out prostitutes and extra-marital affairs as they do. The corollary is that women who are in relationships with men tend to get more sex than they want. This is the eternal dilemma of the heterosexual couple. Women offer sex in return for the emotional reassurance of a man’s willingness to support them.

Men compete with each other but they also collaborate. They often join forces to fight a common foe. Women compete with each other singly over men. Women do not collaborate because other women are a threat. Men have extra-marital affairs, maintain mistresses or visit prostitutes. Wives compete with these women who divert men’s earnings away from the family.

A young man may be disappointed that his female lovers are not as enthusiastic as he had hoped they would be. But he is pleased that his own experience of enjoying sexual pleasure with a lover matches his expectation. However, a young woman is likely to be disappointed that her experience does not match what she has been led to expect. Women rarely admit this fact but if they do, they are told that there is something uniquely wrong with their sexuality. Very few women ever admit to having the same experience.

There is no reliable source of sex information. Women rarely compare notes compare notes honestly over sex because of politics. So women never know what they can realistically expect from their sexual experiences. In addition, different women interpret their experiences in very different ways. The young and inexperienced often reflect the male view that sex is wonderful. Responsive women are devastated to find that sex does little for them. Many other women are disappointed to find that, despite all the hype, sex is just a male pleasure. But only the positive view is actively promoted.

Many women enjoy displaying their bodies, knowing that men admire them. Men enjoy being aroused by women’s bodies but this constant arousal causes sexual frustration. This causes resentment between women because men expect their partners to provide the outlet men need to release their arousal. This is another reason why few women comment on sex. A dress code that is the same for everyone regardless of gender, would respect men’s sex drive.

Men are not interested in whether women are capable of orgasm per se. They don’t care about the orgasms women enjoy alone. Neither have men welcomed the invention of vibrators. Men’s prime interest in female orgasm is as a means of making women more amenable to sexual activity with men. Specifically men want women to respond to intercourse. Men, foremost, want the erotic turn-on of believing that their lover is erotically aroused. Men, who enjoy erotic turn-ons such as breast and clitoral stimulation, may also be motivated to pleasure a woman so that sexual pleasure doesn’t seem so one-sided. Men want to justify their need for intercourse in terms of their desire to pleasure a lover. They don’t want to admit that a woman is just having sex in order to provide for their own sexual and emotional needs.

Thus, we have two problems: First, the male version of sex drive is what women are unjustly measured by. Second, women are trying too hard to please men who need more realistic expectations of women’s sexuality. (Joan Sewell)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)