Women's Sexual Experiences
Individual Interpretations of the Sexual Experience
As one reads the descriptions the women give of their intercourse experiences, it becomes apparent that each tells a different story with its own special dramatic quality and significance. The events of sex which give a woman an orgasm within the context of her own unique problems and expectations. Although no attempt is made to analyze quantitatively the nature of the "self-presentations" in the intercourse descriptions, an impressionistic summary is offered of what seem to be the most common themes.
1. Some women present sex and intercourse primarily as a great adventure in which there are new experiences and sensations to be sampled. Emphasis is placed upon the range of sexual positions used, the novelty of some of the sensations aroused, and the potential for unlimited exploration by each spouse of the other spouse's body. Some women like to be loved by men, and find this the way to access sexual desire.
Others have a higher sex drive and find sex with men whom they are not in relationship with to be fully satisfying. But at the end of the day, love conquers all - and most men and most women, probably more women than men, want to be in a loving relationship where they can enjoy great sex. How men and women love each other is not simple, as you can see here.
The importance of a man ejaculating inside the woman's body as the climax of sex was not investigated but would be an interesting subject for future research. In other words, would delayed ejaculation reduce a woman's satisfaction and sexual pleasure on a psychic level as well as a physical level? One wonders if erectile dysfunction, to whatever degree, could affect a woman's view of sex in the same way.
2. Related to this first theme is the perception of sex and intercourse as a means of attaining ecstasy or going on a "trip" in which there are strange sensations and loss of identity. Included in this category are those who wish to ascribe a religious or mystical quality to sexual arousal.
3. For some women sex and intercourse is an opportunity to prove their superior prowess in an activity that is highly valued. They dwell on their responsiveness, their ability to attain multiple orgasms, and the fact that they exceed their husbands in sexual capacity. The giving of sexual pleasure seems similar, and is certainly important for many women.
4. Another theme found in the intercourse descriptions portrays penetration and thrusting primarily as an opportunity for intimacy and blending oneself with a sex partner. Much is said about closeness, skin contact, cuddling, and feeling unbelievably united to another human being. The process of joining sexually with someone is depicted as comforting and anxiety allaying.
5. A troubled martyred stance appears in some. The women in this category see intercourse as either painful or unpleasant. They picture themselves as victims of an inability to respond adequately to sexual stimulation. They dwell on their irritability during intercourse and their anticipation of ultimate frustration.
6. One interesting group characterizes sexual excitement as almost too intense to tolerate. They refer to their state of sexual arousal as painfully intense and suggest that they can barely control the sexual tension that builds up during ways for a woman to reach orgasm during sexual intercourse. Illustratively, one woman said that when she became highly aroused sexually she was "ready to climb the walls." Reference is also made to excited body areas feeling "sore" and oversensitive, especially the clitoris and the vagina after thrusting (vaginal yeast infections being a particular problem, although men get yeast infections too - check out yeast infection in men advice here). Sexual excitement seems to be regarded as a force greater than self, which has potential overwhelming and disorganizing properties.
7. There are also those who adopt a no-nonsense "businesslike" attitude. They describe sexual intercourse as a routine, well-practiced procedure that provides adequate sexual gratification, but which is simply one of a number of other important life activities. Several of the women who conveyed this idea indicated that shortly after intercourse they often resume some household task or work that needs to be done. This does not seem to suggest that they were fully engaged with the experience, and certainly not lying in the after-glow of sexual pleasure. The clear implication is that sex was being undertaken for the simple act of gratifying their male partners.
This work was conducted some years ago: for a modern interpretation of reasons why women have sex, try this: in essence, there are hundreds of reasons. In their new book, Why Women Have Sex, University of Texas psychologists Cindy Meston and David Buss aimed to cast light on women's sexual motivations through five years of research among 1,000 women. Women's motivation for sex includes altruism ("I felt sorry for the guy"), vengeance ("I wanted to get back at my partner") and a desire to feel good ("I had a migraine").
Women also have sex to boost their confidence, even if it's with a partner they find unappealing; they have sex as a form of barter, to get something they want; they use sex to evoke jealousy in the ones they love; they have sex to protect themselves from getting hurt. Some have sex to boost their self-esteem; most have had sex simply to "keep the peace" at home. "I think the stereotype tends to be that women have sex for love and men have sex for pleasure," says Meston, of the Sexual Psychophysiology Lab at University of Texas at Austin. "But in reality, women's sexual motivations are vastly complex."
8. Those who experience sexual intercourse as a reaffirmation of feminine identity should also be mentioned. They speak of how "womanly" they feel during and after sexual arousal. They experience sexual arousal as a demonstration that a man has accepted them in the role of "real" woman.
This brief review of the patterns discerned in the intercourse descriptions is not in any sense offered as a definitive classification scheme. It merely reflects an impressionistic summary of the relatively small number of responses in the sample. These categories are obviously not mutually exclusive and more than one pattern could easily characterize any particular woman.
How unified are the various dimensions or aspects of a woman's sexual behavior? If she consistently achieves orgasm, does this mean that she prefers a high intercourse rate? If she has intercourse frequently does she also get a high amount of sexual satisfaction from it? Does the relative degree to which she prefers clitoral versus vaginal stimulation correlate with her ability to attain orgasm? Do a woman's feelings during orgasm predict how she will feel after orgasm has occurred?
Is a woman's masturbatory behavior related to other aspects of her sexual behavior? It is possible, on the basis of the data collected, to offer answers to such specific questions as well as the more general one of whether various aspects of a woman's sexual behavior can be consistently predicted from other aspects. This involves looking at the interrelationships of the primary measures of sexual behavior and response that were obtained.
What does one find when the correlations of orgasm response consistency with other sexual indices are examined? Does the consistency with which a woman experiences orgasm during intercourse correlate with other aspects of her sexual behavior? To answer this question the correlations of the orgasm consistency index with the range of other sexual indices were analyzed across seven different samples.
The arbitrary convention is adopted here and in other data analyses that follow in this chapter of considering that noteworthy correlations exist only when they are statistically significant (.05 level) or borderline so (namely, .10 level) in at least 50 percent of the women studied. The positive findings pertaining to orgasm capacity may be summarized as follows.
The greater a woman's orgasm consistency the more likely she is:
To rate herself as being high in sexual responsiveness.
To indicate that she feels satisfied after orgasm.
To describe her orgasms as being of high strength.
To experience more than one orgasm in an
The rather limited nature of the relationships of orgasm consistency with other indices of sexual response is also interesting. Note that it is not correlated with time to attain orgasm, amount of pain during intercourse, amount of vaginal pulsation, presence of imagery, or fantasy during intercourse, the degree to which foreplay excitement focalizes in any of a series of specific body regions, and so forth. Most of these women relied on their partner's knowledge of how to make a woman reach orgasm and achieve sexual pleasure.