HomeWomen's sexualityEmotional bondingOur Biological Motivation to Engage in Loving Relationships

Our Biological Motivation to Engage in Loving Relationships

Research shows that, when they are alone or with another woman, women take longer to orgasm than men do. Women are only assumed to match male speeds to orgasm (two minutes on average) during intercourse.

Misconception #7: Because of the male experience, it is incorrectly assumed that women should orgasm more easily with a lover than when alone. Women are able to offer intercourse until a man ejaculates because they are unresponsive (they are not erotically aroused with a lover).

Although men prefer intercourse over masturbating alone (especially once their hormone levels fall), they orgasm more quickly (on average within one to two minutes) through the more specific stimulation of masturbation. Kinsey found women need 4 minutes on average to masturbate to orgasm. So, like men, women are likely to need longer with a lover than alone. Men, who offer foreplay, stimulate different female anatomy but this is not how orgasm is achieved. Stimulation must be continuous up until orgasm.

Male responsiveness declines in line with hormone levels from puberty onwards. But even by the age of 60, male orgasm frequencies have not fallen to female levels. Men orgasm within an average of two minutes through intercourse but even they would struggle to perform under pressure. Responsiveness is sporadic. No one orgasms according to a schedule. Some days (if we are mentally distracted or stressed) we are less responsive. At other times, our minds are more readily tuned into erotic stimuli.

It is certainly possible to orgasm more frequently if we are exposed to additional erotic turn-ons but, eventually, we reach the limit of our capacity. This is why men are unsupportive of female masturbation. They assume that a woman uses up her orgasm quota by herself instead of with them. We cannot increase (or decrease) our innate orgasm capacity. If we do succeed in increasing it for a time then a rest period is likely to follow to allow the mind and the body to catch up with our natural arousal cycle.

When we talk about a person being sexual, we often talk in terms of orgasm. But orgasm only lasts a few seconds. A woman’s sexuality involves her willingness to give a man pleasure through intercourse in exchange for a loving relationship. [i] Men’s ability to engage in sex is limited by their responsiveness. Women’s sexuality allows them to focus on sexual behaviours (male turn-ons) that facilitate emotional bonding. Orgasm is a relatively small (and completely optional) part of some women’s sexuality.

[i] We have arrived at a point in our thinking as a society where it has become acceptable for women to enjoy sex, as long as we are fulfilling our roles as women – that is, giving pleasure to men… (Shere Hite)

Excerpt from Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (ISBN 978-0956-894717)


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