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Women have more reason to invest in a relationship

Young women cannot possibly imagine the challenge of a sexual relationship spanning decades. They experience sex through spontaneous and romantic interludes. Long-term relationships take effort on both sides. They are not a whirlwind of sexual passion from beginning to end.

Men are easily tempted by promiscuity. The male is driven to engage in penetrative sex and if his mate does not oblige him[i] he is likely to be tempted to seek intercourse elsewhere. This is why women work so hard to be attractive to men. When she has a family a woman offers a man intercourse so he is not tempted to divert his resources to another woman.

Female orgasm has no vital role but male responsiveness is doubly useful. Not only is male orgasm linked to reproduction but also male sex drive (which is higher than needed for reproduction) drives the emotional bonding that motivates men to support a family. Male sex drive plus men’s need for a loving response creates the durability of relationships.

A man enjoys sexual activity most with a lover who assumes a proactive role in sex because of the fantasy that a woman pleasures a lover when she is herself aroused. But prostitutes (and women who invest in their sex life) have to make conscious effort to offer explicit genital stimulation.

Women respond affectionately to intercourse when they feel emotionally content but they have to make much more effort to ‘respond’ erotically. For men sex is effortless because they are easily aroused. Men mistakenly assume that women are driven by the same sexual urges as they are.

Consequently, men rarely acknowledge the conscious effort a woman makes: to present herself attractively, to play along with male sexual fantasies and to respond lovingly and erotically to intercourse. Women complement men’s sexuality not by having a similar focus on their own arousal but by appealing to male fantasies that assist with male arousal.

Other mammals use rear entry (man penetrates from behind) but humans use the missionary position, which creates a sense of lovemaking. A couple can combine intercourse with sensual interaction, such as caressing and kissing, to demonstrate their affection for each other. The position also causes the woman’s mental engagement (or lack of engagement) to be more evident to her partner. The resulting need for a woman to appear to be aroused by intercourse contributes to the more sophisticated emotional bonding humans have evolved over time.

[i]it is probable that few males would marry if they did not anticipate that they would have an opportunity to have coitus regularly with their wives. (p684 Kinsey 1953)

Excerpt from Jane’s book Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (2013)

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