In the past few weeks, I’ve heard three men (two clients and one friend) comment that “women are hard work” when it comes to sex. Each of these statements was framed as bit of a concern with regard to how much romancing, seduction and stimulation is required for women to experience both sexual desire and orgasm. I think this is an interesting observation shared by a number of men and I have a few thoughts on the topic…
I write (and teach) a lot about all the work that goes into sexual relationships as well as the need to cultivate desire and work for sexual arousal — and though both women and men generally require both physical (body-based) and subjective (mind-based) arousal to enjoy sex, it is possible that my work (and that of others in this field) emphasizes the need to work up and arouse women more so than men. So it follows that people may be left with the impression that women are more “work” than men when it comes to sex.
Now I wouldn’t refer to romance and sex play as “work”, but I understand that it may feel this way for a partner who feels that s/he is disproportionately tasked with initiating sex or bases his/her performance (and sense of sexual self) on a partner’s orgasm. So let’s start here. If you’re in a sexual relationship, the fun task of initiating sex should generally be shared. Initiating sex can be hot and empowering, but if only one person shows interest, s/he may miss out on the awesome experience of feeling desired and may also be in a position to fear rejection more often. So it’s important to talk to your partner, offer reassurance and give some gentle direction so that you share the “task” of getting one another in the mood for sex.
With regard to basing one’s “performance” on the presence or absence of orgasm alone, this can be a huge detractor from the overall sexual experience. Not only do I hear droves of women complaining that hearing “Did you come yet?” is a total mood-killer, but when you’re focused on performance, you’re far less likely to enjoy the ride.
In short, sex shouldn’t feel like “work”, so take the pressure off. I’m not suggesting you be wholly selfish and ignore your partner’s needs, but if something feels like work, it’s probably not working. Reframe your approach to do things you enjoy and take pleasure in your partner’s pleasure and drop the goal-oriented approach.
In terms of women needing lots of romance, seduction and stimulation, this is sometimes the case. And sometimes it’s not. Some women like lots of stimulation, foreplay and romancing while others could care less for it. Some women love penetration, while others prefer to play with their outer-parts. Just like men, many women require physical stimulation to become sexually aroused while others can just hop on and enjoy as soon as the mood strikes. And while some women may reach orgasm after twenty minutes of sex play, there are others who can’t help but orgasm within a New York minute. The bottom line is that every person is different. Period.
One thing that seems to work with many of my clients to improve sexual communication and experience is learning techniques for subjective as opposed to physical arousal. So start thinking about foreplay as an ongoing game as opposed to the obligatory ten minutes you spend making out and going down before intercourse.
Until next time, have steamy fun, experiment and always practice safer sex.