Girls from the age of 15 or so start to talk of the man they might marry one day and the children they hope to have. This interest in a prospective family is not focused on a particular male. But once she has a boyfriend, a girl may contemplate the longer term. This contrasts with boys who are much more short-term in their thinking and who often want to keep their options open.
During adolescence girls start to enjoy the attention they get from men. A girl first becomes aware of herself as a sexual being when men start commenting on her breasts. The breasts develop from around 12.4 years. Beast development signals a woman’s reproductive maturity. A girl can wear a supportive bra to avoid getting stretch marks. It is perfectly normal for a woman’s breasts to be different sizes. The nipple stands erect when cold. Otherwise the nipple may be inverted, particularly in young women.
Most men are not aroused by pre-adolescent girls who have figures similar to boys. Breast development is a clear sign that a girl has become a woman. Women have wider hips than men and their buttocks are larger. A woman’s pelvis is wider than a man’s as it is adapted for childbirth. One consequence of a wider pelvis is that women’s hips may sway as they walk. Women wear high heels in part to accentuate this movement, which men find attractive.
Men sexualise women as part of their arousal process. Breasts, for example, take on a sexual significance. Girls react to male lust for their bodies with embarrassment and even shame. Women think their genitals are dirty because of the crude urges they evoke in men. Some girls develop a negative view of themselves. Anorexia and bulimia are nervous disorders that occur because a girl has a distorted view of her body. A woman’s body naturally lays down fat (for breastfeeding) so girls may be reacting to these changes.
Young women may be excited by the prospect of intercourse. This excitement is based on a social anticipation rather than arousal. They do not masturbate by imagining opportunities for intercourse. Women think of sex in terms of love rather than genital activity. Having a lover (and later children) provides increased personal confidence and emotional security.
Sex seems like an adult activity to a girl because of the risk she takes of becoming pregnant. A woman is held solely responsible for ensuring that she is not impregnated by intercourse. A woman needs the social maturity to understand men’s self interest in enjoying their own physical gratification. By offering sex, women have an opportunity to gain in other ways from men’s interest in them. Men are typically very easily satisfied. A woman wants a man who is competent, able to protect her and provide for a family.
A girl is not aroused by male nudity or by anticipating sexual activity as boys are. Without romantic love, any sexual activity seems crude and impersonal. But as she matures, a girl comes to appreciate a more romantic view of sex. When in love, a woman responds to a man’s admiration and his desire to possess her. A woman doesn’t want a man to dominate or patronise her. She wants a strong man (both in character and competence), who is good company, to protect, admire and support her. A woman assumes that a man is attracted to her because she is pretty and has a good figure. Women see the world from a social, rather than erotic, perspective.
Even a responsive woman has very similar responses to other women. She cannot fully understand men’s responses (because she does not experience them) but she can empathise with men’s enjoyment of eroticism because she uses her own form of eroticism when masturbating to orgasm. But sex is a male pleasure. It does absolutely nothing for her. Sex involves a woman allowing a man to touch and penetrate her most private anatomy in an act that she considers taboo. To offer sex, a woman needs to love and trust a man. Sex involves a serious emotional commitment for most women.
Women are disgusted the genitals and body fluids that men enjoy. Even kissing can be unpleasant for a woman if she feels no emotional connection.
A woman is offended if man shows any interest in her genitals. She cannot understand why anyone would like such smelly and ugly anatomy. Women expect men to respect their sensitivities by refraining from making sexual references. These cause a woman to feel like an object of sexual gratification rather than a respected person (like a man). Women don’t ogle men in the same way so men can always present themselves as people to be taken seriously. Many women feel undermined by the sexual images of women that are freely promoted in heterosexual society. When people avoid being linked to sex-related topics, it is women’s approval they are looking for.
Some women enjoy the reassurance of being admired by men. They may interpret this emotional neediness as a sex drive. Some women use the advantage their bodies give them (in gaining favour with men) to obtain an advantage at work or elsewhere. Women associate sex with a relationship because they typically rely on a man’s motivation to initiate sexual activity. As they age men worry about impotence. Women worry about looking old.
Thus, between adolescence and fifteen years of age there were 78 per cent, and among other teenage girls there were 53 per cent who were not reaching orgasm in any type of sexual activity. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)