Sexual arousal is a mental state that arises when the mind responds to PSYCHOLOGICAL stimuli (of an erotic or sexual nature). Sexual arousal is evidenced by PHYSICAL phenomena such as increased blood flow to the erectile organ (penis/clitoris).
Both sexes can express their sexuality through sexual arousal and orgasm but since men’s arousal happens spontaneously (beyond their conscious control), the progression from sexual arousal to genital stimulation and orgasm is much easier for boys to discover.
“Men and women are mismatched in this respect because a man is much more easily and quickly aroused, and reaches orgasm in a very short time in almost any situation.” (p70 Healthy Sex 1998)
Men’s physical arousal is very evident because a man’s erection is difficult to miss. Likewise a man’s orgasm is easy to identify because it usually coincides with ejaculation. Women’s sexual anatomy and physiology do not allow for the same kind of irrefutable evidence.
This makes it easier for women to fake but also for everyone to be less sure about how women’s arousal is achieved. Another reason that men are confident about male orgasm is because they are familiar with orgasm from masturbation. Since relatively few women ever learn how to masturbate to orgasm, there is much less clarity and certainty over how women reach orgasm.
Andrew Stanway lists male turn-on’s, which include most parts of a woman’s body. He notes that women can be attracted to assertive or competent men but no one is suggesting that these attributes assist with female sexual arousal. He concludes: “It is less easy to assess psycho-sexual triggers for women than for men.” (p127 Loving Touch 1993)
How do women become sexually aroused enough to reach orgasm?
Anyone who is familiar with orgasm will know that, despite all the fuss made about physical stimulation, this aspect of sex can be a complete red herring. In other words, knowing which body part to stimulate is useful but not the whole story.
Clitoral stimulation is not everything. After all, our ability to reach orgasm ultimately depends on what happens in the brain. Yet we rarely acknowledge the PSYCHOLOGICAL aspects of sex. If she is ever to reach orgasm, a woman first needs to know how to become sexually aroused enough (both mentally and physically) for clitoral stimulation to lead to orgasm.
We often talk about sexual arousal as if an erection or orgasm, for that matter, is caused purely by physical stimulation. This is partly because men’s psychological sexual arousal is usually a given. Women who masturbate know that they have to take a vastly different approach in order to CONSCIOUSLY generate sexual arousal and orgasm.
Men think about sex much more than women but they only use fantasy to enhance arousal when they are engaged in activities such as masturbation alone, unimaginative sex or sex with an uninspiring partner. Under more ideal circumstances (e.g. adventurous sex with a stunning partner) men don’t need to use fantasy. Fantasy is more critical to female sexual arousal.
“Women fantasize more than men, and their fantasies are extremely explicit” (p177 Satisfaction Guaranteed 1996)
True sexual arousal follows as a response to our senses (sight, smell and touch) as well as our imagination (fantasy). A lover’s body does not cause female sexual arousal any more than images of naked men (porn) during masturbation. So if sight is less effective in arousing women it makes sense that they need to use other means, such as imagination, to substitute.
Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)