Sex & Relationships: Advice For Men and Women
1 The Orgasm Gap Between Men and Women
Research has demonstrated that women do not reach orgasm during intercourse from vaginal thrusting alone – or, to put it more accurately, a very small minority able to do this. By "small minority", we mean around 10% of women – and the tragedy of this is that their sisters, the other 90%, are deprived of female sexual pleasure and satisfaction which they so richly deserve. Read about the orgasm gap here.
This is not an era in which gender equality has penetrated to the bedroom, it would seem, because on the whole men seem to be blithely unaware, or at least uninterested, in giving women sexual pleasure! Now you may think these are harsh words, but the reality seems to be that men do not make much of an effort to pleasure their women in bed.
And what does pleasure really mean? First, it undoubtedly involves bringing a woman to orgasm, and probably involves bringing her to orgasm in the way she enjoys most. Interestingly enough, a large proportion of women say that reaching orgasm during intercourse is not the main objective of sex for them – its more about connection, pleasure and intimacy.
On the face of it, this is a plausible claim but there's an interesting twist here which I think we need to examine. Would women say the same thing if an orgasm during intercourse could be guaranteed for them? In other words, if men were capable of bringing women to orgasm during lovemaking, would women then say that intercourse was simply a means of establishing intimacy and feelings of connection with their partner, or would they freely admit that the reason they engaged in intercourse is for the enjoyment of orgasm?
There's no real way of knowing, because the statistics show that very few women do reach orgasm during intercourse. But let's take a guess. If you were a woman faced with the choice between simply experiencing intimacy, love, connection and the satisfaction of feeling your partner inside you, or the same things with an orgasm as well, what would you choose?
I think you can take my point, which is that women obviously would prefer to reach orgasm during intercourse if possible. And that inconveniently brings us on to the next question which is all about ...
Why women don't reach orgasm during intercourse.
There are several possible reasons. The first is that men are incapable of lasting long enough before they ejaculate – in other words, most men's stamina or endurance in bed is simply inadequate to bring a woman to orgasm. Men would have to last longer for this to come about.
Two points arise here, of course: first, it implies that if men could last longer in bed a woman would be able to reach orgasm. The second point is that men ejaculate within 4 or 5 minutes on average, and a very large number ejaculate much sooner than that. Set that against the contrasting fact that women, when asked, say that 10 to 13 minutes of intercourse is their ideal duration, and you see what problems there are in this difficult arena of sexual satisfaction!
Let's look at the first point first. Could women reach orgasm if men were capable of lasting longer during lovemaking? There seems to be no doubt at all that this is true. A very large proportion of women enjoy G spot stimulation and can reach orgasm with it if a man uses a finger to stimulate the G spot – a situation where obviously there is no danger of him ejaculating and sex ending. (You are aware of the dynamic between men and women which determines that sex usually comes to an end when the man has ejaculated.)
There are certainly a number of women whose G spot is not sensitized or does not respond to stimulation, but this is a phenomenon this been repeatedly emphasized in Tantric and sexual development workshops. In other words, for a woman to be fully sexual expressive, it may be that her G spot needs to be sensitized, or if you prefer, opened up to the power of sexual stimulation.
As this is a completely different subject to the one that we are talking about here, I'm just going to give you a quick link where you can go away and look at it if you are interested in finding out more about this.
So the second point is that the length of intercourse which we average in this country is so much shorter than women actually want to experience – and bear in mind, the figure of 10 to 13 minutes of intercourse which is defined by women as their ideal length of intercourse, isn't even taking into account the possibility of reaching orgasm!
From work in various centres and forums with men and women in couple relationships, it emerges that:
From all of this you can see very clearly the discrepancies and difficulties that men and women face in a sexual relationship – and this is no small thing.
The very foundation of every male-female relationship is sexuality – whether its implicit or explicit. It is sexuality that keeps a couple together; it is sexuality that gives the pleasure of orgasms to the woman. The benefits of orgasm spread through a relationship in every way, in terms of an increased sense of love and connection, increased harmony, and a much greater sense of cooperation as a couple.
And as you may well imagine, if a couple are also raising children, then this mutuality is far more important than it is generally given credit for. A good sex life is the foundation of great relationship, and if you look at the statistics for how many people say they have a great sex life, well it's not really very impressive.
In terms of reaching sexual satisfaction, there's only one answer to this dilemma: and that is for the man to pleasure the woman before he himself has an orgasm. As mentioned already, the man's orgasm is generally the end of sex! And of course, a man should ensure that his partner is really pleasured in a way that she enjoys.
Only when men are sufficiently enlightened to put their partner's sexual needs before their own, will the dynamic between the two partners in a sexual relationship begin to change.
What women want in a relationship
2 What Women Want: A Sexual & Loving Relationship
So many women tend to drive men crazy with their need for attention! Men complain all the time about why women need so much attention! And yet the truth of the matter is that what women want is actually quality time, and when men give women quality time, it will really help the relationship in all ways.
The fact is of course that women want attention because they’re afraid of losing men, they’re afraid of men’s interest waning. So that’s why constant small connections are so important for women; her fear of him leaving can be equivalent to a man’s fear of losing his job.
For a woman, her man may be her achievement, and if you leave, her life
may seem lost. And while women may accept that in theory a man can’t be a
woman’s whole life, she certainly wants him to make her his top priority!
A relationship needs to be deeply connected for both partners to feel satisfaction. And there are plenty of simple ways in which a couple can connect and feel that they are working together towards harmony and expression of mutual love. So for example, when a man works long hours out of a sense of responsibility of being the provider, he can kill a relationship just because he’s not actually paying much attention to his partner.
And the truth is, I’ve met many many men who think that work is much more important than their partner! These men are warriors in archetypal terms. Their women are lovers. That’s a fact about male psychology (as you can see form the archetype information here), and while it’s unfair for a woman to expect a man to put everything aside, certainly compromise is necessary. Boundaries around what he needs to do to make himself feel happy about the amount of work and his achievements may be balanced with the need to show a woman that he loves her, that he cherishes her, and that he wants to spend time with her.
And I suspect the truth is that deep down most men know this, and they use a lot of justification of their own behaviour even when they know fundamentally that it is unacceptable in the face of a woman’s feelings.
One of the interesting things about women of course is that they may "crash”, emotionally, without constant reassurance. Men don’t understand this, because they think that one reassuring word, a few reassuring hugs, will satisfy a woman’s insecurity. The truth is nothing like this in reality: women are not brought up to feel confident or secure about themselves.
In general they are not brought up to have good self-esteem, they’re not brought up to feel unconditional self approval. Low self-esteem (which is the shadow* of the King archetype in both men and women) is an epidemic among society at large, but it’s certainly an even bigger epidemic amongst women. For example, very few women are completely happy with their looks. Very few women are happy with their weight, their attractiveness, their confidence…. you name it, women are not content with themselves and need constant reassurance from their man.
Again, this might be genetically determined, it’s so widespread. And no, of course that doesn’t really make sense. But constantly asking for reassurance is one way in which a woman can keep her self-esteem higher than it otherwise would be. And while they reach out for reassurance, a sense of self-esteem, shame or doubt will prevent them believing the honest answers that many men give them.
And here we have a fundamental example of the difference between men and women. Women will just ask for reassurance: “Does my behind look big in this?” And men will say “No”. But what a woman wants is a bigger description, one that means something to her emotional nature. She doesn’t want to be patronised, and she wants to hear her man use nice words to explain what he feels, and to say what he likes.
The unspoken message coming across here from a woman is something like “if you really loved me …” but the catch for the man is that he could never possibly know what the end of that sentence is, he can never really know what a woman truly wants him to say! So women need to be clearer about communicating their needs, for although building self-esteem is a long process, it’s something that men need to be aware of and ready to join in for the long haul.
It’s very necessary for a man to help a woman relax and let go of such concerns, not just during sex, but at all times. He needs to constantly reassure her, and if, say, he finds her unattractive because she’s put on weight, he needs to find a way to work with her to ensure that she is not undermined psychologically. Telling her that she needs to lose weight, and nagging her to lose weight, will only destroy her confidence about herself and cause bad feelings that might even make her want to eat more!
And so on the ground like this, the tenuous connection that exists in relationship between people, and the possibility of causing wounds at every step, means that making a relationship work is challenging.
When a man treats a woman as though he thinks highly of her, the chances are that she will in fact then actually tend to live up to his expectations. Conversely of course, if he treats her in a way that suggests that he’s focusing on shortcomings, it’s likely that she’s going to become better at living up to those negative expectations.
There are plenty of theories about the genetic make-up of men and women being different, but it’s probable that women are more emotional because they are conditioned to use emotions in childhood to get what they want. While boys are not rewarded for being emotional, girls often are: if a girl cries she tends to get either approval or a cookie. If a boy cries he gets rejection — take it like a man, his parents might say.
So why can’t we, men and women alike, break the habit of using emotions to get what we want? It’s actually very hard to stop lifelong programs: tough little boys grow up into self-sufficient and unemotional men. Little whining girls grow up into emotional, whining women. And while we know well that neither of these patterns works for either men or women, none of us seem to know what to do about it.
The truth is of course that if we do psychological work on ourselves about our relationships, and in particular our sexual relationships, we can soon discover where these emotions come from. Shadow work is a good way to deal with problems like this, and why men can have action oriented outlets like anger, breaking things, punching a wall, yelling and screaming and shouting, these responses are considered unladylike and unsuitable for women. That’s why women often tend to cry rather than get angry.
And yet none of this needs to be a double bind for the two genders, a situation in which we find we can’t escape from that genetic inheritance we have all been given in our upbringing – instead we need to do is find a way to become more emotionally intelligent.
* shadow work can be helpful in overcoming such problems.
3 Communication Is Essential
For men, the big deal about keeping feelings “in” is that they don’t want to see their emotional problems, and they certainly don’t want to discuss their baggage. They just want to get on and do things. And even when men know they’ve been hurt and talk openly about it, they’ll still claim they are “all right” about the emotional problems are not affecting them.
Women talk with their friends about their emotions, and about their emotional wounds, they then share their emotions and they cry, and so this helps release the emotional pressure on them. But men, who keep their emotions to themselves, find that they surface in unexpected ways — anger being the most obvious. It causes loss of temper, it causes explosions, causes fury, and those explosions damage men women and children alike.
The refusal to express things that are bothering you, as a man, will
ensure that you invoke stress in your body. You could talk about problems
with a male support group of people that you trust, or you could go and
see a therapist.
Bad feelings affect your judgement, they make you unreliable and unsafe to be around, as far as a woman is concerned. And “your” woman may want to play therapist, but that is inappropriate: she’s not your therapist, she is a relationship partner. The people who need to be supporting you in your wounds are your friends, your therapist, and your male support group if you have one.
Fear, the product of the magician archetype, is another negative emotion, an emotion that very often makes people try and control the world around them. And although it can be talked away, as a logical process, men are deeply in the grip of fears that they may not even be conscious about. Fear of losing their jobs, fear of not being valued, or worthwhile, fear of being irrelevant or inappropriate in a society that is becoming more and more feminized, and where men individually have so much less influence over their own lives and society around them. A society, where, in short, men are disempowered.