Without sex, there may be friendship between adults but there is little physical intimacy. Heterosexual women are dependent on men to provide this sense of connection with another adult. Platonic love is caring and affectionate. Sexual love (or reciprocating sexual love) can be more intensely emotional in the beginning. Women experience this emotional reward initially from a man’s evident but typically unspoken post-coital gratitude.
A woman is not amenable to intercourse on first meeting a man. Her amenability grows as she gains confidence that a man’s devotion may last beyond a one-off opportunity for intercourse. Women indicate their amenability by accepting male advances and by not contradicting male fantasies. A woman likes having a man’s attention. A woman expects a man to show her the same respect he shows his boss. She hopes he will want to impress her as much as he wants to impress his colleagues. She hopes he will be as motivated to spend time with her as he does with his male friends.
In a new relationship a woman enjoys the novelty of being admired through sex. Women naturally respond with affection (hugging and kissing) when they love someone. A woman in love enjoys the emotional sensations of dancing with a lover. But men are easily aroused when in close physical contact with an attractive partner. The intense sensations of their arousal prevent men from appreciating these more platonic aspects of attraction.
A mother responds to her child’s need for her by developing an emotional attachment. This motivates her to care for the child. Men do not experience the same bonding mechanism. A woman responds to a man’s devotion (based on his sexual needs) in a similar way. A woman feels loved because of the pleasure a man enjoys from her body. These emotions are not sexual (involving arousal and orgasm) but they are just as vital to a woman feeling emotionally connected to a lover as the sexual emotions that a man feels.
It would be strange indeed if the negative aspects of sex that men never (or rarely) experience had no impact on how women view sex: the trade in child brides and sex slaves, abortion, prostitution, sexual assault and rape. If women are assumed to enjoy the same pleasure from sex that men do, nothing makes sense. Women are just as keen on romance and marriage as they ever were, despite their supposed sexual liberation. Yet men have never needed emotional factors to enjoy their sex lives. The issue of consent is a nonsense if we say both sexes want the same thing. It’s as if the world has gone mad in a drive to promote sexual equality regardless of common sense.
Men judge women primarily on their attractiveness and amenability to intercourse. Women cannot base their relationships with the opposite sex purely on sexual criteria as men can. So they must be less sexually driven. Women have to be much more careful about assessing a partner’s character. Unless she is trading sex for money, most women need some lead-in to sex. It is not just a question of attraction. Women need to feel safe so that they can trust a man enough to be intimate. This is because there are some very dangerous men who prey on women. Some men will attack, rape and even kill a woman. Men don’t have this contradiction in their dealings with women. In order to survive, women must be more socially mature than men. Women take longer than men to choose a lover because they hope for more than good looks. Men need an attractive lover who is amenable to regular intercourse but women hope for a decent, caring and companionable lover.
The secret of male courage is to act and not think too much, otherwise doubt and fear set in. It doesn’t help men be good defenders, if they are always empathising with the enemy. However this instinct doesn’t help men when it comes to their relationships with women. A woman wants to understand a man’s motivations, his values and morals. This is self-defence. A woman wants a lover who is loving, interesting and has a sense of humour. Throughout a relationship a woman needs a man to communicate his motivations so that she can trust that he doesn’t take advantage of her love.
Most women need to feel an emotional connection before sex feels appropriate. This emotional connection arises when a woman is attracted to a man who she can see is motivated to care for her. Women do not experience sexual arousal as men do. They have a different mechanism that generates a sense of intimacy. Women are attracted to men who take an interest in them. This is not a conscious trade. It is a subconscious response to feeling admired, which reassures a woman that a man will protect her.
A man’s interest in a woman arises primarily from his sex drive, at least in the first instance. Young women may assume that male admiration is evidence of a man’s eternal love. This is not always true. A more astute or experienced woman may delay showing her approval to find out if a man’s intentions are for the longer term. Men seem to value sex more if they have to work for it. It seems as if sex that is obtained after a struggle feels more like a conquest to a man than if a woman just lays herself out before him.
A woman looks for the attention and caring behaviours in a man that she hopes reflect his dedicated sexual devotion to her. She accepts compliments silently. She is not gushing with gratitude because she knows that a man enjoys the arousal he obtains from her body. She reserves her gratitude for the times when she wants something from him. The test of a man’s devotion is his amenability to providing the things that she wants from the relationship.
Tell her she’s important to you. For a woman to feel the desire for sex, she needs to feel loved, adored and significant. (Allan and Barbara Pease)
Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)