Men and women are different sexually

August 13, 2011

in Sexuality, Understanding Her

Sex starts in the ... © Andrijamarkovic | Dreamstime.com

Sex starts in the …

Yes, I know the title is a huge surprise, but science says it’s so:

“But scientists do seem to agree on a few things. One is that gender stereotypes seem to hold. When it comes to desire, men have more of it, both in frequency and intensity. Among women, levels of desire vary much more than among men. They also vary more within individual women, depending on time of the month and across the lifespan. Sexual desire in women is less directly tied to physical arousal than it is in men; in fact, it often follows arousal, rather than precedes it. In women, desire is much more a matter of mind than mechanics and seems to be more affected by partner relationships, what’s going on around them and, perhaps most important, how they feel about themselves. Female sexual desire is not just more complex but more fragile, too. But it may be something that women can learn to feel.” [Emphasis mine – source below]

I have commented on the bolded part before – for men arousal leads to sex, but for many women sex leads to arousal. It seems that some, possibly most, women often don’t feel desire until they start to be sexual. By trying to fit them into the common male sexual pattern, we do them, and ourselves, a great disservice.

I understand that we all want our bride to be wildly horny for us, desperate to get into bed with us, so crazed with lust nothing can stop her. However, few women feel that way most of the time and many never feel that way. Their “failure” to feel that way is not because there is something wrong with their minds or their bodies: it seems to be how God made most women to be most of the time. (I don’t know why, it’s high on my list of questions for God.) Apparently, woman were designed to get horny when they start to have sex.

If you expect her to be desperate for it before you start, you are seeking something which  may not be there. If she expects to feel desire before she starts, she is going to miss out on a lot of good sex. If you can both accept that she is different from you, that she can become aroused and enjoy sex but usually won’t feel much desire before sex starts, the two of you can have a much better sex life. Can you accept this is how God made her and not ask or expect her to be something she is not or feel something she can’t feel? Can you let her figure out who she is sexually, and learn to enjoy that rather than trying to make her something that makes you feel good?

Yes, there are exceptions to this, but they are that, exceptions. A small percentage of women usually function more like men – feel desire and seek sex because of that. A larger group of women occasionally function this way (especially near ovulation) but it’s not their primary sexual pattern.

Resource: Learning to Lust – please be aware this article has a non-nude but rather sensual picture of a woman, and some of the other story links may be distasteful.

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9 comments
GodisaG
GodisaG

I've been reading and researching for a while now. I struggled with an addiction to pornography for most of my childhood and young adult life, and God has been breaking that off of my life and has been using my wife to help me work through it, but now we are both struggling with what sex is SUPPOSED to be. My wife feels self conscious because she imagines that I only desire the type of body that I've seen in porn videos, and she fears that she may have some unforgiveness in her heart from all of the times that I have looked at or lusted after another woman. She fears that all of my desires in bed are stemming from lustful thoughts and images of other women.

I, on the other hand, am struggling with how I SHOULD interact with an attractive lady. I am struggling with the feeling of guilt that I have automatically associated with arousal for years. I am wondering how sexual arousal can be anything but ultimately self-pleasing. My wife and I have both acknowledged that sex should be an intimate piece of any healthy marriage, but we are both somewhat afraid of it. We feel like a couple who has lost their home to a house fire trying to enjoy a romantic wood-burning fireplace. There is fear, pain, grief, guilt, pleasure and romance, all mixed together. Only God can sort it all out.

During the time when I looked at porn, sexual arousal bestowed upon me some level of crazed energy that allowed me to alter my behavior to seek sexual gratification. I would stay up into the early morning hours watching videos and masturbating. I would waste hours and huge amounts of energy pursuing my next sexual high. While I know in my mind that sexual arousal is perfectly healthy, I still feel guilt in association because it feels self serving. There has always been negative connotations associated with the elevated drive, focus, and energy of arousal, because it was ultimately the driving force behind my cyclical, selfish addiction.

As I have learned, many times when women don't wish to have sex it is due to a lack of support that they feel from their husbands; a lack of love and security. Or they suffer from depressed self image. It's a biblical concept that God wishes the man to be a strong voice for positive change. Men feel desire and they seek sexual fulfillment with unbridled urgency and energy. But what if, in a very literal sense, the same energy that used to be devoted to late night porn and masturbation sessions was instead directed to ceaseless and energetic service to my wife? Maybe the husband is specially equipped to be a leader by this smoldering, energy-giving, drive for sexual fulfillment. And as they use this energy as God intended, to serve, then it stirs up arousal in the wife. The wife's interest then refuels the husband's desire which he devotes to service again...

It is the same cycle of addiction that drove me to ruin in previous years, only, directed as God intended, it produces something beautiful. So smoothly functioning in so many ways! 

-Affirms husband's sexual desire (check)

-Affirms wife's emotional needs (check)

-Affirm's husband's leadership calling (check)

-Affirm's husband's service calling (check)

-Affirm's husband and wife's biological makeup (check)

-Affirm's partnership and communication (check)

-Affirm's biblical concept of sex being central to healthy marriage (check)

-Affirm's sexual activity being only directed toward spouse (check)

etc.

Please comment and fill in any holes I may have missed or correct as needed.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Joseph - I suspect it's not her body, but her mind. It is not uncommon for the mind to not register what is happening to the body. The body can be aroused, but the mind does not register that fact. The foreplay is pleasurable, but the mind does not feel it. It's like the communication lines are down - it' happening, but news of it is not getting back to the brain. I would also suggest you keep track of when it does seem to work for her. Odds are it is related to her cycle, probably happening just before ovulation. This is when she is most horny naturally, and that may be enough for her body to get what is happening to her brain. Another possible part of this is that many women don't feel horny until there has been some physical stimulation. Such a woman can choose to be sexual knowing that it will happen as she does it. I appreciate your commitment to your bride, even if your marriage becomes sexless, but you are right that it's not something to choose. Sex is not just a physical act, and the relationship results of sex are deep and far ranging. Keep working at it!

Joseph
Joseph

When my wife and i first started dating, and i will admit living in sin with eachother, she had such a fire within her. It was very taboo and very good. As time progressed, that drive started to fade, We got married and have been happily married for nearely 3 years now. The drive thing comes and goes, mostly goes anymore. She says she loves sex with me and i believe that she does. I know that she does. Our problem is finding balance with me. She says "my body won't let me" and "I want to want it, i just don't know how!" Honestly i feel like part of this is my fault because I sometimes pushed for sex when she didn't want it, and she ended up either getting frustrated or giving in, and still enjoyed it but not as much as she would have i think. The last year or so i've been trying really hard to prepare my mind mentally to not push, if i want sex then i ask for it, or show that i'm interested and if she says no, then i try to stop. Now it's to the point where it's rarely happening, maybe once a month if we're lucky. I try to be romantic to her, and be intimate in the way she wants, but every time she pulls away making me feel guilty because She thinks my end result is to have sex with her when it's simply, I want to be intimate with her in the way that she wants. Foreplay, anything sexual, her body will not let her do it. When she does give in she enjoys it a lot. And when she is horny, it's the greatest thing. Not too long ago we had a streak of a week long sex, and it was fantastic. It's one of those things where she feels bad because like i said she wants to want it, and i feel bad because i'm trying not to want it... maybe the balance between us isn't able to get there, or there's something she's not telling me. I want her to take control, tell me what she wants, but she doesn't know what she wants. Before she was afraid that i might go find what we're lacking elsewhere, but that's just dummy talk, i would never leave my wife, especially over something as little as sex... Now i'm afraid she thinks that if we don't find that balance that our marriage will end up fading away, and not be happy anymore. While there is some truth to that. for me being an italian and a romantic, it does bring a special kind of joy to myself and our marriage when we can be intimate and try new things, and be together in romantic ways. It's not the end of the world for us. If she chooses a sexless marriage, then i will walk right along side her as her husband and do what I can... but honestly every time we've brought that up between us, it's felt wrong... and we look at eachother and know that we can't go that long without sex with eachother... maybe i'm crazy but like it's said there's three flames, the Ahava(song of songs 8:7), The Raya(song of songs 4:7), and The Dod(song of songs 1:2), flames, And i know there's supposed to be a balance between them, to make one major fire of love (i'll bring the marshmellows), but sometimes finding that balance is difficult, especially in a new marriage!

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Andrew - Interesting question! I have long thought that sex is too importnat to the health of marriage to be left to the whims and desires of a couple. If those things have them making lover regularly, find, if not, then I think the couple needs to plan sex. I know folks hate that, but like anything else that is good for us, or good for our marriage, shouldn't we care enough to do it even when we may not feel like it? That's sure to bring on some comments!

Andrew
Andrew

And then there are those of us who don't have the self confidence to initiate with our wives, but I guess that's an issue for another thread. So if your wife is one that doesn't seem to be very interested in sex unless she is already in the act, are we denying them by not initiating more? For me, I have always felt rejected because she never seems very interested.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@James Poteet - I agree with you, and see nothing vulgar about it. God does arouse our passion for Him - we can't do it ourselves.

James Poteet
James Poteet

If you think about it, this really makes a whole lot of sense...for two reasons, one natural, one spiritual. The Natural reason is that God designed how this relationship would work. The man woos the woman, courts her, seduces her (in a good way). The man initiates lovemaking and wins the woman's heart, affection and desire even. If you're waiting for your wife to initiate, it may be fun once in a while, but it's not the natural pattern of how it's supposed to work. The Spiritual explanation is that marriage is a type of our relationship with God. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ did not wait for us to feel desire for Him, He woo'd us, courted us, seduced us. He initiated our relationship and won our heart, affection, our desire. If He waited on us to desire Him, it would not have happened. This pattern in women of feeling desire after their husband has aroused them perfectly typifies our relationship with Christ. (Sorry if it seems vulgar to compare our relationship with Christ to lovemaking, but our marriage relationship--all of it--is our image here on earth of our relationship with Christ.)

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