Two of the most common questions men have are how to last longer in bed and how to make their partners want more sex. The assumption has always been that women have a lower libido than men, so they just generally want sex less often. Anecdotes suggest that men feel a need for sex every 72 hours, while women only feel a strong urge twice a month – when they’re ovulating and just before their periods.
On both these occasions, the sex drive is mostly hormonal. However, psychiatry professor Rosemary Basson MD has a slightly different take. Men are largely visual creatures, so they will see an attractive woman and desire sex with her. In the same way, they might see their partner in a sexy outfit, or maybe spot an inadvertent glimpse of her curves, and feel instantly libidinous. Women, however, have to be ‘in the mood’ before they agree to sex.
Basson suggests we’ve all been looking at it the wrong way. Studies suggest that most of the time, women agree to sex before they ‘get into the mood’. At the start of their sexual encounters, many women are neutral. Once things heat up, then they can become aroused and actively want sex. In other words, for many women, sex precedes desire. They have to start the sex before they’re in a frame to actively pursue it.
This is important, because the brain is the largest sex organ for both men and women, and this theory suggests women’s bodies have to be engaged in sex before their brains (and vaginas) catch up. They start out passive, then if they enjoy the sex, then they really get into it. This becomes a problem for many couples because by the time the woman is interested, her partner experiences premature ejaculation and it’s all over.
Perhaps the issue here is the definition of sex. For men, sex is defined as penetration, but for women, foreplay is a big part of the process – it may be the most important part. Without it, she doesn’t get aroused enough to enjoy the experience. It might even hurt. And if she doesn’t like sex, then the next time her partner is interested, she won’t be.
It’s long been said that women need more time to warm up, but how they warm up matters as well. Most men focus on a woman’s breasts and genitals, even during foreplay. However, many women prefer light, playful lovemaking, where her partner will rub, tickle, touch, and massage other parts of her body for at least half an hour before he touches her erogenous zones. If her partner spends half an hour or 45 minutes teasing her neck, fingers, toes, arms legs, hair, ears, or waist, she will be much more responsive when he finally gets to her chest.
When a couple hasn’t had sex in a while and it’s building up resentment, sex therapists advise them to schedule sex – at least for a month or two. During these scheduled sessions, the man should make an effort to kiss and cuddle her for a minimum of 30 minutes before he goes anywhere near her breasts or clitoris. Beginning with prolonged non-sexual touching is the best way to get her in the mood, and once she feels valued, admired, and loved, she’ll be more open to sex in the future, both pre-arranged and unplanned.