When a man and a woman embark on sexual activity, the man’s arousal is very evident. A man’s erection gives visual evidence, not only that he is aroused, but that he wants to obtain penile stimulation. He demonstrates this by massaging his erection. He is very appreciative when a partner offers to stimulate his penis by hand. He is even more overjoyed if a partner offers to stimulate his penis by mouth because fellatio mirrors intercourse much more accurately than masturbation by hand. Fellatio offers a similar warm and wet environment that a man enjoys when he penetrates a vagina.
A man may make love to a partner because of his joy over having an amenable lover who he assumes is willing to offer him an opportunity for intercourse. He admires his lover’s body that causes his arousal and ultimately provides his sexual release. He may be aroused by every aspect of his lover’s nudity because of the associations that he has with past or imagined activity that cause him to anticipate the pleasure of penetrative sex.
A woman does not have such obvious visual evidence of her presumed arousal. Nor does her behaviour reflect her possible arousal in the way that a man’s behaviour does. She does not indicate the anatomy that she would like to have stimulated by a partner nor does she massage her internal tumescence that she may be assumed to be experiencing. Moreover, she does not respond with the same kind of appreciation that a man shows when her lover stimulates every body part in an attempt to provoke a response. So eventually, any man tires of providing random stimulation and focuses on stimulating the anatomy that interests him. This is, of course, Nature’s intent. Intercourse dominates our sex lives because it provides men’s most rewarding sexual release and it is fairly effortless for a woman to provide.
Women focus on the upper body action of intercourse. They are oblivious to the genital action because intercourse provides no physical sensation and no erotic arousal. Hence women’s sexual passivity. A woman allows a man to explore and stimulate her body as he decides. Women never give directions and only rarely do they provide any feedback. Women refer to lovemaking because they interpret intercourse as a sign of male devotion. Women feel loved and reassured by this male need. For women, sexual activity with a lover is purely sensual. For a man, the opportunity for penetration means that touching equates to sexual arousal. This is because men associate intimacy with sexual opportunities. This causes confusion if we equate the male and female experiences of sex and intimacy with a lover. [i]
[i] Sex is important because when there is a feeling of … appreciation between two people – sex can make life together something special. It shows ‘you mean more to me than others do’. (Shere Hite)
Excerpt from ‘Understanding Sexual Response’ (to be published 2023)