For most people, sexual activity both alone or with a lover is a private affair. We rarely see other people engaging in sexual activity. We rely on fictional accounts from books or movies. Most of this fictional activity involves sociable situations. Masturbatory activities are less commonly portrayed. Men’s key focus is penetrative sex. Male turn-ons include a lover’s sexual anatomy and observing their response to stimulation especially penetration. Men do not like it when another man finds their partner attractive because they understand the strength of male sex drive. They know exactly what is going through a man’s mind when he looks at an attractive woman.
Leading up to intercourse, a man becomes increasingly aroused:
- He has regular erections and masturbates;
- He is aroused by seeing a lover and thinking about sex;
- He is aroused by close body contact and kissing;
- He is aroused by touching and watching a lover undress;
- He is aroused by stimulating a lover and by being stimulated.
A man responds sexually to people in the real world. But masturbation alone depends on using memory alone to conjure up fantasies, which puts a man in a similar position to a woman. A woman does not respond to real-world stimuli but she can use surreal fantasies to achieve orgasm alone.
For men, even the smallest hint of a sexual attribute, such as cleavage and camel toe, is cause for speculation. Women do not have the same fascination for men’s bodies. If women were aroused by a lover’s genitals, more men would display their bodies provocatively as a female turn-on. Equally, women would pay for lap-dancing and pole-dancing bars as men do. Women go to see male strippers for a laugh not for erotic arousal.
Women are offended by men who whistle at them on the street because instead of the romantic admiration women enjoy, men refer to crude and impersonal sexual urges. Unlike women, men do not need an emotional context to enjoy sexual activity. If women were aroused in a similar way, they would understand the male response. Women cannot understand how men can want sex with a random unknown woman they pass in the street.
Women have little interest in visual portrayals of any kind of sexual activity. Not only are women not aroused by the idea of male masturbation, they are typically disgusted by it. So men tend to keep their masturbatory activities private. Some men are more motivated to masturbate than others. Masturbation depends on a person having a creative imagination. Educated men are more inclined to masturbate as a source of release and pleasure.
A heterosexual woman offers a man an opportunity for penetration. She may enjoy the emotional reward of giving pleasure. Men’s insistence that women should enjoy the same pleasure that they do is like saying men don’t want just dinner. They want dinner with a show. This emotional reassurance men want (that they are not being selfish), lies at the heart of the dishonesty over sex. Providing turn-ons means women have to make more effort.
At the most basic instinctive level a man needs to think that what he is doing to a woman is producing some kind of response. He doesn’t necessarily need her to enjoy what he is doing. This reflects the primitive penetrative act. A woman screams when she is unwilling such as in the flasher situation.
Women don’t always appreciate that men need assistance with their arousal. Men are typically too embarrassed to ask. Men’s fantasies lead them to believe that a woman should be aroused by what they do to her sexually. Some men need the emotional reassurance of an apparently engaged partner. This is difficult for women to understand. A woman assumes that a man only needs the physical stimulation he can obtain from her body.
Many women never appreciate that arousal depends on erotic turn-ons. Other women are not necessarily comfortable with the deceit involved in play-acting. No one explains this explicitly because it involves admitting that women are not naturally motivated to offer sex play. A woman may feel guilty because she assumes that she is supposed to enjoy sex. A woman thinks she is supposed to make effort but she doesn’t see why she should.
A man may say he wants intercourse to last for ever but a woman notices that a man loses confidence if he is taking too long. Perhaps he realises that the woman is waiting for him to finish. A woman knows that he will not be satisfied until he has ejaculated. So she helps him by moving her hips to stimulate his penis or makes encouraging noises in time with his thrusting. Many men expect a woman to fake so that they can feel fully satisfied.
It is, at once, an interesting reflection of man’s absorbing interest in sex, and his astounding ignorance of it; his desire to know and his unwillingness to face the facts; his respect for an objective, scientific approach to the problems involved and his overwhelming urge to be poetic, pornographic, literary, philosophic, traditional, and moral. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)