Men’s sexual arousal is usually easy whereas women’s sexual arousal and orgasm are not automatic so unsurprisingly sex tends to focus on male sexual arousal.
A man’s orgasm (since it is usually co-incident with ejaculation) is critical to reproduction and so it makes sense that men are motivated by eroticism and able to reach orgasm easily.
Female orgasm, on the other hand, is not required for a woman to conceive. Even the wonders of modern contraception cannot change women’s sexuality from what Nature intended it to be.
“…men and women are manifestly not the same. And nor are their responses to one another.” (p6 The Bluffer’s Guide to Men 1998)
The fact that women masturbate less frequently than men (if at all) is rarely acknowledged. Even when it is, women are reluctant to accept that this fact indicates men’s higher sex drive.
Despite the contrast with male sexuality, where boys learn to masturbate in their pre-teens and where men orgasm easily (most of the time) with a partner, many women cannot accept that men’s sex drive might be stronger. The male and female experiences are so different that it makes it very difficult for men and women to understand the other gender’s perspective.
“We have pointed out that … the incidences of responding males, and the frequencies of response to the point of orgasm, reach their peak within three or four years after the onset of adolescence. On the other hand, … the maximum incidences of sexually responding females are not approached until some time in the late twenties and in the thirties, although some individuals become fully responsive at an earlier age.” (p714-715 Sexual behavior in the human female 1953)
Male sexual arousal is much more automatic
Unlike boys, girls do not experience spontaneous sexual arousal and so they have no similar natural motivation to investigate how their genitals might respond to stimulation. If she is to discover how her sexual arousal works, a girl has to make a much more CONSCIOUS decision to explore her enjoyment of eroticism and develop her fantasies.
So while most young men are quite naturally motivated to explore their own sexual arousal and to reach orgasm through an appreciation of eroticism and genital stimulation, most young women are, just as naturally, more focused on exploring their emotions and relationships with others. As a consequence, men and women approach sex from very different perspectives.
“…many boys, and nearly all girls, are taught that masturbation is evil, … This is nonsense, of course; masturbation has several very positive values, especially for women.… In childhood and adolescence it teaches a girl to explore her body and not to be ashamed of its shape, its texture, and its surfaces. It teaches her, especially, not to be ashamed of touching and playing with her genitals. It does more. It helps a girl become aware of her response to sexual stimuli and to recognize the stages of sexual arousal. And it enables a girl to develop her own sexuality – to know what she enjoys and what she dislikes – which is important if she is to be fulfilled sexually later.” (p107 EveryMan 1980)
Relatively few women masturbate and even fewer learn how to apply their orgasm techniques to sex. A woman who does not masturbate cannot know that she reaches orgasm with a partner because she has no way of knowing what orgasm is.
This probably also explains multiple orgasms. Unless a woman knows what orgasm feels like (from masturbation) she can easily confuse sensations of sexual arousal (or thrills of muscle spasms) with orgasm. My body’s reaction after orgasm is similar to a man’s. I feel completely relaxed and I do not have the ability to arouse myself immediately due to clitoral sensitivity.
If a couple has some understanding of the different rewards that men and women obtain from sex, they can make sure that there is a balance of giving and receiving in their sex life. If we understand how our partner’s responses differ to our own, the modern couple can aspire to ‘quality’ sex within the context of a positive and mutually supportive relationship.
Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)