It is true!. Biology as well as experience and learning have shaped us so that each sex talks, acts, argues and makes love somewhat differently.
Some say it’s because we’re brought up in distinctly different ways, almost as though we live in separate cultures – sometimes almost separate planets.
In my experience, men and women often speak in negative generalizations about each other. Men often say that women are engulfing, sexually unresponsive, too sensitive, moody, and very absorbed in personal appearance. And women often say that men are unemotional, condescending, and thoughtless of other people’s needs.
Sex is the ultimate expression of the body and every woman has the right to a satisfying, electric, passion-filled sex life. I mean everything you have always dreamed of and more.
You just have to believe it to make it happen. And the beginning of the solution is our bodies. Learning about your body, and awakening and relishing in its potential, is every woman’s starting point for a healthy, confident sexuality. Too many women are strangers in their own bodies and it is not surprising.
I see it in the women I work with all the time. Communication about sex is missing or even discouraged in many women’s lives, making their foundation more than a little flimsy for the bumpy journey that sex inevitable is.
Some parents try to do their best during our formative years, but whether it is because they felt uncomfortable or uninformed themselves, they often fail to give us the information we needed and craved for at the time. When it is given, it is sometimes laced with negative judgments.
The messages from the media and the society are labeled good girls don’t, but sex is power. My hope here is to bring awareness and a rediscovering to you women on the part to sexual wholeness.
Then the focus can turn to exploring and finding ways to bridge the fundamental difference in the ways that men and women approach sex. In the end, it’s the coming together that makes sex the sweetest.
Like many parts of life, women need to feel their way through it. There will be pain and ecstasy along the way, soul-mating and heartbreaking. But the journey is what makes the woman – in life and in love. The thought of sex stirs up all kinds of feelings; desire and need excitement and anxiety, nostalgia and fantasy.
A woman’s sexuality is ultimately a combination of the experiences she’s already had, along with the untapped potential that still lies within her. Past relationships, childhood messages, and her own unique personality – all conspire to create the female sexual identity. Since the beat of our lives is always changing, our sexual needs are constantly in flux as well.
Hormones play a vital role in your sexual response and are critical in sexual function. Without them, not much would be happening in either your brain or your genitals. From a physiological standpoint, there are two essentials for great sex: balanced hormones and good blood flow.
All depend upon good health in general. While your sexual anatomy and response play the leading role, the rest of your body acts as the supporting cast. Many health conditions and medications that have nothing to do with sex can have a noticeable impact on your sex life nonetheless.
Women must learn to recognize and treat the health challenges that crop up over the course of a lifetime to keep their sexual response functioning smoothly, too.
The sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone – affect sexual desire and arousal throughout the course of a woman’s lifetime. Testosterone is a fundamental source of sexual energy for women and men alike (yes women have testosterone too but not as much as the men).
Estrogen helps keep the vaginal lubricated and flexible, which is essential for comfortable sex. It also increases serotonin activity in the brain, which is associated with better mood, more energy, and improved memory. When your estrogen levels are too low, the vaginal tissues begin to thin and weaken and you may experience vaginal dryness. The most common result is painful sex.
This is a time to get a lubricant to do the job for you, they are handy and available in flavors now and on the counter in the drug stores (call me if you don’t understand what this is)
For men, the process is fairly simple. They have a fairly consistent level of testosterone, which affects their sex drive, as well as their sperm production, hair growth, muscle mass, and aggressiveness.
While estrogen levels will return to normal in women who have recently given birth after they stop breast feeding, menopausal women undergo a permanent reduction when the ovaries stop functioning.
The ebb and flow of hormones affect a woman’s moods, vascular system, breast, bone health, skin, hair, vaginal mucosa – and sexual receptivity.
No wonder women are so fascinating – and so difficult to predict. In my own words, if you have stopped child-bearing, you are not thinking of a career and are between the ages of 35 and 50, you only live once (your prime years is the time to enjoy sex the most), you don’t want to look back and say I wish I’d had more sex. Have a great sex life!
Good sex doesn’t just happen, but you can make it happen by listening to your body. You are the authority on what your body needs and wants. Society isn’t your authority, neither are magazines or even books. Medical doctors can help, if you know you have a medical problem but they can’t know what your body is telling you.
Neither can your husband. You can discover with your husband what you enjoy and communicate that to him. Don’t expect him to know how long or how hard or where or in what order you like to be touched. Take responsibility to know and tell how you would like to make love, he can’t read your mind!
How do you learn to listen to your body? You begin to pay attention to the messages it gives. You respect the signals and take them seriously. You may notice your desire as an urge for closeness and touch. You might feel edgy as an indication of your need for release, or you may experience genital sensations.
Listen to your body during the sexual experience too. And be aware that listening and paying attention to your body’s signal isn’t the same as watching. Monitoring how you’re doing will get in the way of your body’s experience.
Sex works best when you get lost in enjoying each other and satisfying the hunger inside you – not when you keep close track of your body or your husband’s responses. Watching creates self-consciousness and interrupts pleasure, become an active player. You can’t watch and play at the same time!
Conflicting expectations are the source of most unhappiness in marriage. Marriage is more than a honeymoon, it’s a lifetime contract. Through sickness and health, for richer and for poorer, marriage requires devotion and a mature ability to commit when it’s the last thing you want to do.
Marriage is the act of two incompatible people learning to become compatible via compassionate compromise. Instead of constantly trying to change your spouse, celebrate your differences and use them to bring excitement and diversity into your marriage. A lasting and joyous marriage relationship doesn’t just happen; you create and sustain it with continuous effort.
Love, like a tree, grows stronger when it is planted in good soil, nurtured with clean water, fertilized often, and pruned. Sexual frustration can cause a great deal of hostility in an unfulfilled partner. And when sex is used to express hostility or to manipulate a partner it has stopped being beneficial. It may be destructive.
Dear Dr. B,
My husband is really gentle and loving, but he also thinks he understands exactly what I want in lovemaking. It’s like he doesn’t believe me when I say something else would feel better or arouse me more. What do you rec
You have taken a great first step in communicating your sexual likes and dislikes to your husband. But you may need to try new ways of communicating. You know your husband better than anyone, so listen to the way he talks, and try to use ideas that he’s most familiar with. Keeping the discussion light, you might try a direct challenge.
You say your husband is loving and gentle, then go ahead and tell him what turns you on. He will want to listen and please you.
Men and women have different approaches, expectations, and hormonal drives for sex. Men usually want more frequent sex and greater variety in sexual play. Women usually want more emotional connection through conversation and tender touch. They also prefer more consistent lovemaking techniques.
These difficulties can lead to tension over positions for intercourse, frequency of sex, and experimentation with different sources of stimulation. But differences can also provide a great opportunity to develop mutual submissiveness as each partner looks for ways to show love to other.
If a sexual activity doesn’t bring both of you enjoyment, repeating it eventually causes resentment. Self-focused sex often involves power or control. Sex becomes an invasive, dominating behavior that violates the personal dignity of another person. God wants us to enjoy the passion and pleasure of lovemaking. Some boundaries were established to protect and enhance the maximum enjoyment of the gift.
One is that both of you agree on what you do to find enjoyment and pleasure in lovemaking. When you assume that you know what the other is thinking, feeling, or wanting, you might be wrong.
And don’t assume that the other knows what you want either, you can do much and better when you talk about it. For a healthy sex life, tell each other what you like or don’t like in sex. Whatever you do, don’t assume anything.
Essential to a satisfactory sexual relationship is an atmosphere of mutual caring, friendliness, openness, sharing of feelings, and commitment. There must be mutual tolerance for shortcomings, a spirit of forgiveness, mutual concern, trust, and freedom from fear.
In short, there must be love. Without love, sex has the potential to become a monster. Good sex gives us something to look forward to in the daily grind of our lives. It matters for our minds, our bodies, and our relationships. By carving out a space for it when life seems overwhelming, we make sexual pleasure a priority again. Sometimes, women simply need to learn that it’s ok to put themselves first. The bedroom is a great place to start!
Dr Olubusola Ijaduola is the founder of FEMFIS Inner-healing Professional Counseling & Family Services in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and also an Assistant Professor of Christian Counseling. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org