Unlike emotional attachments, arousal is not caused by a specific person or by a relationship. Arousal relies on being able to see a person, to some degree, as an object. Arousal is achieved when the mind focuses on objects or concepts that a person finds arousing. Arousal mechanisms (erotic turn-ons) involve physical attributes and the psychology of a scenario or a lover.
Straight men naturally see attractive women as an object of arousal. Women may accuse men of being sexist but this is just how male sexual psychology works. Men may suppress their comments, if they accept that women are offended by them, but they cannot change their innate responses. Men can love a partner and still see them as a sex object. Men are not usually aroused by blood relatives because of the emotional significance of the relationship.
Women’s nurturing and caring instincts mean that they can empathise with others. Men are more emotionally detached, which helps when they need to use violence against others (hunting or killing) as well as in sexual scenarios. Their sex drive causes men to respond to erotic rather than emotional stimuli. Men, who are natural hunters and have a strong sex drive, cannot afford to empathise with their victims, or with their lovers, as women do.
In the early days of the profession, all the actors were men. Acting was not a safe occupation for women because any woman who put herself on display (no nudity implied) was a target for male advances. Later actresses were associated with prostitution. Women’s activities have often been limited due to men viewing them as sex objects. Men have not suffered in the same way. Women do not see men as sex objects but equally women don’t want sex in the way a man does. While there are few men who turn down sexual opportunities, the vast majority of women avoid sex outside a relationship.
A woman lacks this male ability to view a lover as a sex object. Women tend to see people purely in a social and relationship context. In a real-life sexual situation, a woman is aware of her lover as a social person she cares about. When masturbating, a woman is aroused by scenarios unconnected with her real-life lover and her sexual relationship. A woman has to envisage imaginary men to consciously generate the equivalent mental arousal a man needs for orgasm. This mechanism does not work in a sociable context.
Women’s fantasies are surreal because, in the absence of any sex drive, women need to focus on the more indirect consequences for women that arise from men’s sex drive. They are artificial scenarios that put a woman in control of the action. In fantasy a woman can simultaneously imagine herself being the person who is penetrated as well as the penetrator. She can focus on male ejaculation as a means of producing her own release. This role of being a penetrator does not mean she wants to be a man. She retains her female identity but she focuses on the intimacy and eroticism of penetration by a phallus. Likewise, the climax of the fantasy comes from the satisfaction of being in the proactive sexual role and the concept of male ejaculation.
Fantasy is a mechanism a woman uses to focus on a more psychological view of sex by being the object of male sex drive. A woman fantasises about a man doing things to her because men naturally initiate and drive penetrative sex. A woman needs to see herself as sexually attractive and she needs to take pleasure in the knowledge that a man wants her sexually. A woman may enjoy imagining a man’s desire to penetrate her body. In her mind she can also be the male who is driving the action and experiencing the pleasure.
Men enjoy sharing their fantasies because they hope a lover will participate in activity that they fantasise about. Women’s fantasies are not based on reality. They focus on impossible and unreal situations and people. A fantasy involves imagining impossible or improbable things. Women’s sexual fantasies are purely a mechanism for enjoying orgasm. They lack all the practicalities of real life and the crude visual eroticism that men enjoy.
Responsive women discover orgasm because their minds respond positively to eroticism of a highly specific kind. A responsive woman enjoys eroticism through surreal fantasies that do not involve real people or real situations. In her fantasies, a responsive woman focuses on the concept of penetration rather than visual images. She focuses on a man’s sex drive to penetrate her body. This is much more explicitly erotic than a romance novel. A sexual fantasy culminates with male ejaculation as a sexual release rather than the graphic images of semen that gay men revel in. A responsive woman enjoys the concept that a man’s mind is focused on his need to penetrate her body.
A responsive woman dislikes pornography as much as any other woman. She isn’t motivated to see or touch a penis by hand or mouth to enjoy male responsiveness as a gay man does. She is horrified if it is suggested that she might want to participate in one of her fantasy scenarios for real even though such scenarios enable her to achieve arousal and orgasm alone. No doubt from a male perspective, there is no logic to this explanation. Men need to consider how enthusiastic they would be about intercourse if every single time, they potentially risked having to carry a foetus in their belly for nine months as well as being held responsible for the child’s daily care for decades. Masturbation is a risk-free way for women to enjoy their own arousal and orgasm. A fundamental characteristic of enjoying sexual pleasure (arousal and orgasm) is that it does not involve being impregnated.
On the other hand, since there are marked differences between females and males in their response to psychological stimuli, it seems apparent that those responses must depend upon some mechanism which functions differently in the two sexes. (Alfred Kinsey)
Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)