Human beings are sociable animals. Most of us want to be accepted in our social group. We want to share experiences. We often enjoy the company of others. We are reassured by the support of family, friends and a lover. It is also a survival strategy because humans tend to attack those who are different. We often feel under pressure to conform to the expectations of the society we live in. Women particularly try to avoid conflict. Many people have enough challenges in life without trying to tackle unsolvable problems.
Men are aroused by women’s bodies and obtain their greatest satisfaction from ejaculating into a vagina. But they don’t thank a woman for giving them an orgasm. A man usually obtains his own stimulation through thrusting. In his eyes, a man makes his own orgasm. For much the same reasons, women never boast about their lover’s orgasms. Male orgasm tends to occur reliably but a man’s implicit or explicit gratitude may cause a woman to feel loved.
A man’s own performance (ability to get an erection and thrust until ejaculation) is critically important to him. Many men also want to feel that their efforts to stimulate a lover (through intercourse or other activity with a lover) also pleases a woman. When it comes to sex, a woman’s desire to be considered sexually normal is equally as strong as a man’s desire to perform in such a way as to please a woman. Men interpret women’s amenability to intercourse as an erotic response. This concept was cemented with the discovery that women were capable of orgasm. The term orgasm was ascribed to the pleasure men assumed women must experience from sex.
Heterosexual men are confused by references to the clitoris. Their sex drive (to engage in penetrative sex) focuses them on the vagina. Why does a woman agree to have sex with a man if she wants clitoral stimulation? She can get that by herself or with another woman. A man assumes that a woman is focused on the same act that he is. He overlooks the fact that a woman only needs to be amenable to intercourse rather being driven to obtain it.
Consent is not a natural concept for many men. They only see their side of sexual attraction. As long as they are aroused by a woman, they can guarantee their ability to stimulate her through intercourse and thus (in their eyes) provide women with sensational pleasure. Just as a man doesn’t want to miss the opportunity a hard-on provides so he assumes a woman would not want to miss the opportunity provided by his erection. That opportunity is intercourse. He is oblivious to any reproductive risks or social issues.
The most basic consent a husband has from his wife allows him to take the initiative and make all the effort involved in penetrating her and thrusting until he ejaculates. Many wives offer nothing more than making themselves available. Prostitutes offer intercourse by default but for a higher price may also provide fellatio. If a man is rich, he may maintain a mistress in addition to his own family, who may engage more explicitly on a man’s specific sexual needs and fantasies. Some societies or religions allow a man to have more than one wife, which increases his chances of finding a more proactive lover.
Given the background of the anti-social pursuits of others of their sex (rape, sexual harassment, etc.), men equate talk of female orgasm to a green light. When a woman says that she has an orgasm a man accepts her account no matter how unconvincing it may be. Even so there are complicated conditions that don’t apply when men want sex. A woman needs to feel loved and respected. She wants the right to rescind her consent at any time.
Men assume that a woman enjoys sex unless her behaviour indicates otherwise. As long as a woman does nothing to challenge a man’s belief in her supposed sexual pleasure (orgasm during intercourse or other activity with him) he feels reassured. The fact that she never talks about sexual pleasure and that she never initiates sexual contact, does not concern him. This is an emotional belief that does not stand up to scientific questioning.
Men’s foremost concern is their own sexual opportunities. They don’t want anyone saying that women get less from sex in case it puts women off sex. The idea that a woman orgasms every time, allows men to assume a woman wants intercourse whenever they do. Men don’t think about female orgasm in logical terms. Female orgasm represents their chance of getting sex.
Women’s behaviour of claiming to orgasm with a lover is just another way that women avoid engaging proactively on the eroticism that men enjoy. A man never challenges because he has what he wants: a woman’s implicit consent. Men don’t appreciate how easily they can be exploited women telling them what they want to hear. Who is exploiting who? It probably depends on how clever you are about getting more than you are giving.
Most people never comment on sexual issues. Those who do (a tiny minority) have political motivations and they are rarely interested in facts and logic. Men insist that women love sex as much as they do. In order to attract men, women suggest they are always sexually willing. Most of the silent majority ignores this bravado but many others feel they have missed something. They have the impression that others have better experiences.
Rather than having sex, many women simply want to LOOK like they are having sex. (Bella Ellwood-Clayton 2013)