In the film ‘True Lies’, as the dowdy housewife turned spy in the role of a prostitute, performs a sexy pole dance for her screen husband .
It seems so natural that a man’s sexual arousal comes from admiring a woman’s body. Yet we never question why a man’s foreplay techniques do not include him using his body to provide a woman’s sexual arousal. For example, a man’s foreplay techniques do not typically include wearing exotic underwear, clothing that accentuates his sexual attributes or moving his body in a provocative manner.
Throughout history, a woman’s priority has been to ensure that she had a man who could protect her (and her children) rather than help her reach orgasm. So a man’s body is not a sexual commodity to women in the way that a woman’s body can be to men.
“The truth is that, just as women have spent centuries being selected by men for their desirability as sex objects. Women have been evaluating men as success objects. By this we mean that women evaluate men both as successful protectors, particularly in violent times, and as successful providers.” (p34 How Men can get more Sex and Women can get more Love 1994)
Women’s sexual arousal is not automatic
Unfortunately, there is nothing either easy or automatic about female orgasm, especially during sex with a partner. Not only do we lack men’s spontaneous sexual arousal, women are also not turned on by the sexual attributes of a lover as men are. This explains why women do not enjoy the male body as pornography, lap-dancing or pole-dancing.
Nevertheless, portrayals of female sexuality imply that we are able to generate the same levels of sexual arousal as a man even though we lack the same natural advantages. We often have difficulty interpreting our sexual experiences and it is easy to confuse women’s own sexual arousal with their ability to arouse men.
Female sexual arousal is often defined in terms of a woman’s attractiveness to men rather than her own true state of sexual arousal. A woman may describe herself as ‘turned on’ or ‘horny’ but this is more likely to indicate that she is amenable to having sex than that she is close to orgasm.
“Many men believe that if a woman excites them sexually and looks sexy, she must be experiencing sexual feelings – in other words, if she looks sexy she must feel sexy; if she’s exciting me, she must be excited, too. The man projects his own excitement onto the woman.” (p85 How Men can get more Sex and Women can get more Love 1994)
Men’s sexual arousal is usually easy and, since men hope a lover will enhance their sexual arousal, women often have sex with men for reasons other than their own orgasm:
Some women might hope for an adventurous sex life (or even for sexual arousal and orgasm during sex) but, luckily for all of us, most women do not approach their relationships with men demanding ‘success’ in their sex life. Since women have lower sexual desire they tend to settle for companionship, love and affection, which depend on knowing and liking a person.
By Jane Thomas founder of the female sexuality forum Ways Women Orgasm.