Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality27 Oct 2007 05:58 pm

In the last few posts I’ve focused on the beneficial role pleasure can have in intimate relationships, and how it can often be the bridge between men and women with different sexual appetites. Let’s take a quick inventory of the sexual motives of both men and women to see how they compare and contrast.

With men the most dominant sexual motivation is usually the sex drive itself or as I often refer to it “the biological imperative”. Adolescent boys are often unprepared for the hormonal onslaught they are engulfed in where thinking of sex and being sexually aroused are events experienced many times each day. The urge to have an orgasm to experience a sexual release is more often then not the number one sexual motivation of men.

Now the idea of orgasm and the momentary rush of ecstasy upon ejaculation are common experiences in male sexuality. Pleasure, is therefore, a typical component of the male sex drive. Yet, many men find the orgasm to be too fleeting and expand and prolong their enjoyment by making the pleasures of foreplay, touch and stimulating their partner intricate components of their sex life. This makes pleasure the second motive for most men.

The third motive for sex is built on the other two. The biological imperative and pleasure together lead many men to feel and seek a sense of connection with their sexual mate. This bond, this sense of closeness and intimacy often becomes the most rewarding aspect of their sex life. In this realm comes a sense of gratitude to their lover for what they share together, and a sense of devotion to the person who is such an intimate part of their pleasure and joy.

A fourth motive for some men is a desire to sire a child. For some men sex is a means of gaining immortality by securing a lineage and a link to the future. Yet, in the men who I have known that have seen procreation as a sexual motive, it has been more a secondary motive. The desire to procreate seemed to lead them to marriage, while the biological imperative remained the primary reason they wanted frequent sex. I have not known any men who declined having sex because their partner was not ovulating, and therefore, the sex act would not be procreative.

There have been some studies that suggest that men “unconsciously” choose a woman who is ovulating over woman who are not. One such study had men interact with females in an intimate environment and then asked each man which woman they most desired. The study found that a majority of men picked a woman who was ovulating at the time of the experiment.

Some concluded from this study that this showed that men wanted to have children. Though this is a possible conclusion, there are others. If the men were truly “unconsciously” choosing women who are ovulating there could be another practical reason, and that is that a woman’s sex drive is usually higher during ovulation. A man could be responding to the woman’s willingness or eagerness for sex rather than a desire to procreate.

I personally am not surprised that men are “unconsciously” aware of when a woman is ovulating. I have known men who have claimed to be able to know when a woman is ovulating by the scent an ovulating woman secretes. Though I’ve never been able to do this with women I don’t know well, I have been able to do this with women I have been intimate with for a period of time.

When it comes to the sexual motives of women few would state that many woman experience a true biological imperative for sexual intercourse. Women’s sexual inventory seems to start at the back end of the male sexual world. Many young women’s urge for sexual intercourse seems to be in feeling loved and feeling in love. One could make a strong case that the dominant female sexual motivation is in the realm of intimacy and the desire to be in a relationship.

The desire to procreate, to have a child, is another strong sexual motivation in females. Even before their sexual awakening many females play with dolls, fantasize being a mommy and dream of getting married. It is not unusual for young adolescent females to openly admit a desire to be a mom. The familiar cry of women that “their biological clock is ticking” is another example of how important the drive to procreate is in women.

While sexual enjoyment, even if fleeting, seems to be indigenous to male sexuality, sexual pleasure in females does not seem to be so automatic. Yet, as we mentioned before, the female orgasm and potential for sexual pleasure more than match their male counterpart.

While a woman’s desire to procreate can lead to sexual activity, it is limited. First, as we mentioned in the male desire to procreate, this desire could be limited to when a woman is ovulating and therefore, not to be relied upon to match the average male’s sex drive. When intimacy is the motive, once again many woman are offended when men equate frequent sexual intercourse with intimacy. Therefore, intimacy is limited as a way to bridge the difference between male and female sex drives because most men want sexual frequency to be an integral component of intimacy.

In the previous post I mentioned how important verbal communication and dialogue is to many women. Not many women would feel intimate with a man who talked to them only a few minutes a week, even though it is theoretically possible for two people to be intimate with almost no verbal communication. A couple that quietly did all their activities together and spent their days watching each other could become quite close. Yet, it is hard to believe that they could be as intimate with each other as a couple that openly communicated all their thoughts and feelings. Likewise, though a man and woman could be intimate with just conversation, it cannot compare to the kind of intimacy available to a couple through the realms of sexual pleasure.

In my life I have found a distinct connection between the experience of sexual pleasure and the potential of intimacy I have with a person. I find it hard to imagine me forming the depth of devotion and intimacy I have with my wife through a platonic relationship, or if I would have made my sex life with another as or more important than my sex life with her.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I do consider myself to be a sexual being. And though my wife would not claim to be as sexually driven as I, she would also be the first to admit that the intimacy we cultivated together would have been impossible through an asexual relationship.

Jim Guido

One Response to “Sexual Motives Revisited”

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