◆ What Men Need
It is often noted that men and women have different views about sex. In general, men think that love and sex have nothing to do with each other, while women need an emotional exchange before having a physical relationship. Of course this isn't true for every man and woman: some men say they can't have sex without love, and some women admit they can have sex just for pleasure. But on the whole, men tend to separate sex and love.
Men and women also tend to have different views of what romantic behavior may lead to love. Several surveys find that men are more likely than women to think of physical contact as romantic. Women want to hear "I love you" from men, but men rarely mention this. While men say that expressing love during sex is one of the most romantic things they can think of, few women feel the same. Does that prove that men and women come from different worlds? Someone has said that the life-cycles of the genders are terminally out of sync. That's why they need to try harder to understand each other, to synchronize their life-cycles and live happily together.
It is established that male sexual desire is excited mainly by visual stimuli, while women are sensitive to sound and touch. While men are often aroused by pornography, naked bodies, different sexual practices and provocative underwear, women are aroused by romance, communication, intimacy and tenderness. The Kinsey Report found that while 76 percent of the men surveyed wanted to have the lights on during sex, only 36 percent of the women did.
Some say 50 percent of a man's brain is devoted to sex. Men tend to want sex more often with their partners, unless stress and fatigue upset the natural order. What women want in their bedroom is a scene from a romantic movie, while men want a scene from a porn flick.
But men want to be loved too. It is true that male desire is mostly about sex, but men also identify sex with love. Of course, men desperately want the comfort and encouragement that comes from love. They can be as emotional as women, and in some cases more so. After all, women who have been married for a long time know that some men never really grow up. They need to be taken care of, secure in a generous woman's love. And while men do like their sex, they also enjoy a loving touch or gentle kiss as much as women do. Men want intimacy from emotional and physical contact with the one they love and seek encouragement from them just as women do.
◆ What Women Need
Men tend to release tension through sex, which is why they often want sex when they are troubled or have problems to deal with. But women are the exact opposite: they find it difficult to have sex when they have problems and worries. Men show great interest in whether women enjoy sex the same way they do, which is by releasing stress and feeling a sense of achievement. This makes them want to ensure that their partners are satisfied or excited, and that's why many keep their eyes open while making love. They tend to measure their bedroom performance by the degree of satisfaction their partners feel. They look for signs of satisfaction, and when it's satisfying for the partner it's considered "good" sex.
Given these dispositions and the fact that sex is not a one-way street, women need to express their satisfaction and excitement during sex and communicate which acts and positions they like. That will improve not only the sex but also their intimacy with their partners. One thing to remember is that many men are not as good as women at catching non-verbal cues like facial expressions and gestures; these men need to have everything spelled out to them.
Most husbands complain that it is always they who initiate sex. Why don't women make the first move now and then? Conservative upbringings and society's hypocrisy about sex may make it difficult for women to take the initiative, but they shouldn't be ashamed to be active if they are talking to their husband, since sex is the ultimate way of displaying love. Even when going out on a date, a smart woman doesn't let the man pay for everything. Remember that love is give and take. So why would women refuse to do something that makes their husbands happy if they have chosen to spend their lives together? And men want women to be more active and provocative when it comes to sex.
Both men and women want more love in bed. Women want to be touched as much as possible by the men they love, and it is the same for men. Both need to make an effort to have better sex, which will in turn improve their love. Sex, after all, is a medium that reaffirms a couple's love for one another. Having deeper, gentler sex means the same for love. The most important thing in loving someone is to express it in words and deeds in everyday life.
This article is based on a contribution by sex consultant Bae Jeong-won.