Men and Women are Different

Tips from a Sex Therapist…

For most people, sexual function is often an issue associated with anxiety and performance. We all aspire to be a good lover and to please both our partners and ourselves. Unfortunately for many of us, however, sexual skills seem to be defined by physical abilities. Although men may define sex in a physical way, this is not the case for the majority of women. What sexually arouses a man is very different from what arouses a woman. Too often, such an obvious fact gets ignored!

I’d like to highlight a few of the subtle differences between men and women and how paying attention to these differences can make a man a better lover. Sometimes, paying attention to these simple differences can make a significant change in the quality of a sexual encounter.

Men show their love differently than women. Men tend to believe that they are showing their love by doing things for and with their partners. These include financially supporting a woman, spending time with her, going for a walk, watching TV, going to a restaurant, getting the car fixed and having sex. This kind of love is called. “shared activity”. A man shows his love by spending time with his partner and doing things with her. Words are not necessary.

Women, on the other hand, show their love by discussion and personal sharing. This is the kind of thing women do with each other. There is a heavy emphasis on verbal communication. Emotional intimacy is the main theme. Love is demonstrated by being honest about feelings, being open and talking about the relationship.

Women appreciate men who can, on occasion, talk about their feelings and be open and vulnerable. If you’re feeling anxious about sex or concerned about an erection, why not say so? If you appreciate her in some special way, why not say that too?

Women also want a man who can say, “Honey, I love you”. No chronic illnesses prevent a man from pleasing their partner in this important way. Men simply don’t realize how important it is to say these words.

Men relate physically and women relate emotionally. Stop and think for a moment how society has taught men to relate to each other. They shake hands, slap each other on the back and hug one another. Men give “bear hugs” to each other on important occasions. A father and son relate by wrestling. Men and boys do things together. They play ball, tackle each other and play soccer on Saturday mornings. For men, words have nothing to do with relating. Action is the name of the game. This is one reason why a sexual problem can be so difficult for guys. Society hasn’t taught men how to talk about these issues. Embarrassment often prevents verbal communication.

Not surprisingly, women have been socialized to relate with words. Women feel that there is hope for a relationship to the extent that the couple can talk about problems. Most women don’t enjoy talking about cars, sports or the things that interest a guy. They feel cared about if they are complimented, appreciated and romanced in soft, loving kinds of ways. Women like to be told that they look nice or that their assistance is appreciated. Men often take these things for granted and see little need to go into such details. They feel that women should just “know” these things and that saying them is not necessary. Why waste words?

In summary, men and women are different in more ways than the obvious. Women want a man who can be genuine, open, honest and considerate. This doesn’t necessarily come easily for most men. It takes real effort to stay present, be emotionally available and sensitive to the needs of one’s partner. By focusing less on the physical issues however, a couple can often achieve a new level of closeness and intimacy.

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of BU School of Medicine