The difference between male and female sexual arousal
“Love is a matter of chemistry, but sex is a matter of physics.”
Men tell me that almost anything can turn them on—a simple brush of their partner’s hand across their penis, a flirtatious look or seeing their partner in the nude. What they don’t always realize is that sexual arousal works differently for women.
Sex researchers Masters and Johnson were the first to outline the four stages of sexual response in human beings: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Although men and women go through the same four stages, their respective journeys can vary in time and physicality.
The Stages of Male Sexual Arousal
If you’re a man, you can’t understand the female cycle of sexual arousal unless you first understand your own. You may think orgasm is simply a matter of getting aroused and getting off, but believe me, there’s a lot more to it than that!
- Excitement: The physical signs of male sexual arousal are easy to spot. Your testes begin to elevate, the skin around your scrotum becomes thicker, and your penis becomes increasingly erect. If you don’t proceed to Stage 2, your excitement will pass fairly quickly.
- Plateau: At this point, your testes are fully engorged and reach their highest point of elevation, your penis’s corona becomes engorged with blood, and seminal fluid (which aids in lubrication) begins to secrete through the tip of your penis. At this stage, the desire for sex becomes very strong; if you aren’t able to move to Stage 3, things can become painful.
- Orgasm: The fluids from different parts of your reproductive organs collect at the end of the urethra, creating a feeling of heaviness that men recognize as the signal of imminent orgasm, and then you experience the contractions you associate with climaxing. It’s possible to hold back from completing this stage so you can continue sexually stimulate your partner, but only for a short time.
- Resolution: During this stage, the penis goes back to non-erect size and all the blood in the testes returns to the rest of the body.
Men also have what is known as a refractory period, which means that for a certain time he will not be able to achieve another erection. That period of time varies from as little as two minutes to as long as two weeks. On average, as a man ages, his refractory period grows longer.
The Stages of Female Sexual Arousal
Now that you understand how your own body works during sex, it will be easier for you to spot the differences in your partner’s cycle of sexual arousal. Keep in mind that although some women go through these four stages very quickly, most require more time than men before they can move to the next stage.
- Excitement: Her nipples become erect, her vagina starts becoming lubricated, her clitoris begins to swell and grow larger, and the inner walls of her vagina begin to expand. Her breasts may even increase in size if she becomes highly aroused. As these are all physical cues, it’s important to pay attention to her body language, too. If she’s touching you or kissing you, she’s probably excited.
- Plateau: Her heartbeat speeds up, her breasts may increase noticeably in size, her vagina swells, her vaginal opening begins to narrow, her clitoris becomes more erect, and the color of her labia darken in color. Only near the end of this stage will her body be ready for vaginal intercourse. Not all women experience this stage of arousal, which is why it’s important to give her plenty of foreplay.
- Orgasm: Intense muscle contractions through the pelvic area will occur during the orgasm—a woman can have three to fifteen of these contractions depending on the strength of her climax. She may also experience muscle contractions in other parts of the body as well. Most women’s bodies become temporarily rigid at the highest point of their orgasm.
- Resolution: If a woman has achieved orgasm, she may be able to have multiple orgasms during the resolution stage. Otherwise, her body will return to normal, but at a slower rate than if she had climaxed. During resolution, her breasts and nipples can become very sensitive, so don’t touch them aggressively.
Now that you understand the physical stages of sexual arousal in women, you’ll be able to identify them in your lover, which will enable you to give her the foreplay and stimulation she needs to experience an incredible orgasm.
"My lover and I enjoy a great sex life. What Gabrielle's advice did was take our great sex life and turn it into explosive sex! Thanks, Gabrielle!"
--- Linda, Parker, CO
How to talk to your partner about...
“Sex is more than an act of pleasure… it’s the ability to be able to feel so close to a person, so connected, so comfortable that it’s almost breathtaking to the point you feel you can’t take it. And at this moment you’re a part of them.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Communication is the best sexual technique a man can have. Once you’ve learned how to talk with your partner and truly listen to what she says, you’re well on your way to enriching your sex life and helping her experience powerful orgasms during sex.
Some subjects, though, can be difficult to broach, especially when there’s the potential for embarrassment, confusion or hurt feelings, as is often the case when a couple tries to discuss the sexual aspects of their relationship. But you’ll find that if you approach these subjects tactfully and with sensitivity, you and your partner may learn a great deal about one another, even if you’ve been married for 25 years.
What She Likes
It can be terribly frustrating when you make love to your lady and she doesn’t experience an orgasm. You’re trying your best, but it still isn’t happening. You’ve asked her what she likes, but she’s to shy, embarrassed or nervous to tell you. What’s a man to do?
The key to getting your partner to open up about what she needs is discussing it in a comfortable, non-sexual environment. If you bring it up in bed, when you’re already engaged in love play, she might feel pressured or uncomfortable telling you what feels good. Instead, try talking to her over a romantic dinner you’ve cooked for her.
Approach the subject carefully, and start by telling her how much you love her and want to please her. Let the conversation unfold naturally—don’t demand she reveal her secret desires to you. Encourage her to tell you what she likes about making love to you, perhaps by first telling her what she does that you particularly enjoy.
Toward the end of the conversation, develop a signal she can give you during sex that tells you when you’re doing something that feels especially good. As you incorporate this signal into your lovemaking, she’ll begin to feel more comfortable telling you what she wants.
Up until fairly recently, masturbation was a taboo topic for discussion. Everyone knew men did it, and all women denied having ever tried it. Now that our sexual mores have relaxed, talking about natural sexual impulses has become more common, even subjects that were formerly taboo.
If you’d like to help your partner achieve orgasms during sex, it’s helpful to know what works for her when she’s masturbating. She might deny that she masturbates or feel too embarrassed to discuss it, but if you initiate an open, honest, diplomatic conversation on the subject, she may share some of her secrets with you.
If your partner enjoys reading erotica while she’s masturbating, ask if she’ll share a book with you that she particularly enjoys. Take turns reading to each other; when she’s relaxed and aroused, suggest she show you what she likes. If she says she’s too embarrassed, suggest she snuggle under a blanket while you read to her, and then slowly remove the blanket until you can see what pleases her best.
For most men, anal sex is the ultimate fantasy, but not many women feel the same way. Although it’s possible to introduce new activities during your sex play, do not do this with anal sex! If you’d like to try it, you must first discuss it with your partner, or she’ll never forgive you.
Approach the subject casually while you’re enjoying some private, romantic time, such as watching a movie at home or enjoying a home-cooked dinner together. Explain that it’s something you’ve always wanted to try with her ask if she’d consider trying it once, just to see if she likes it. She might object vigorously at first, but be patient and give her time to absorb the information, possibly a couple of days. She might surprise you!
Good Communication Makes for Good Loving
The key to discussing these topics—or anything else you’d like to try in bed—is open, honest communication. If your lady feels as if you’re trying to strong-arm or manipulate her, your negotiations will go nowhere. She might even draw away from you. Avoid these pitfalls by expressing what is in your heart, and encourage her to do the same. If she feels that you really love, cherish and understand her, your relationship could explode with passion.
"Gabrielle is an amazing sexpert! Reading her material has made me a better lover, she has given me more sexual confidence, and I know when I continue reading her material I'll become even better thanks a lot! :)"
--- Shean, Colchester
Use adventure and romance to spice up your relationship
“Kinky is using a feather. Perverted is using the whole chicken.”
When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy for things to become routine, including your sex life. If things have gotten a bit ho-hum, then the chances are good that your partner feels the same way. Maybe it’s time for something new!
Not all of these ideas will appeal to everyone. Broach the subject with your partner and see what she thinks. If she’s reluctant, suggest you try a few things at least once. She might surprise you, and she might be surprised at the powerful orgasms she experiences.
Try Sex in Unusual Places
If you’ve found yourselves in a sexual rut, the answer could be as simple as geography. Think about it—how long has it been since you’ve had sex anywhere except the bed? You probably have several other rooms in your home; why not use them? Sex in the shower can be a steamy, erotic experience, but you might find it a little too slippery. Try out the living-room couch, the guest-room bed or in front of a roaring fire. If you’re adventurous, make a love date in the back of the SUV, parked in a romantic location. The thrill of getting caught adds a naughty element that will heighten the experience.
Experiment with Role Playing
It might seem clichéd, but role playing is a great way to begin experimenting with your sexual relationship. Discuss role play with your lady and decide on an adventure that appeals to both of you. Perhaps you’re a policeman who has caught her doing something naughty—or vice versa. You could be a sexy burglar who surprises her in the shower. Perhaps you’re a pirate, and she’s an innocent young maiden. You get the idea! It might feel silly at first, and you’ll probably laugh together, but you’ll create an exciting atmosphere in which anything can happen.
Explore Her Fantasies
Not every woman is willing to share her fantasies with her partner, but yours might. Ask her if she’s ever wanted to do something she thought you wouldn’t agree to. It might be something simple, such as pretending you’re a celebrity crush, or something more complex, like acting out an elaborate fantasy she’s been dreaming about for years. Whatever it is, go with it. If the idea excites her, you’ll become excited, too, just by watching her arousal. Also, simply by trying to please her you’ll show her how much you love her and continue to build the trust that’s important in every love relationship.
Play with Toys
If you’ve never tried sex toys, now is the time to start! If you’re shy about visiting a store, explore one of the many thousands of online adult sites, many of which have been designed to make newcomers feel welcome. Sex toys can be expensive, so start with a few items you think you both might really enjoy, such as a vibrator, exotic love lotions, sexy board games or feather toys. One of the best toys you can purchase is a remote-controlled vibrator, which attaches with a belt around her waist and thighs. You control the amount of vibration and pleasure she experiences, which adds a new dimension to your sexual play. You might even suggest she wear it the next time you’re out on a romantic date!
Share Erotica Together
Men and women usually have very different ideas about erotica. Men tend to like visual stimulus, while women often prefer printed erotica. Why not share your interests with one another and see what happens?
Shop online or visit your local video store’s behind-the-curtain section and select an erotic film that appeals to both of you. You should be able to find a good selection of movies made for women, meaning the producers spend more time on the story than on bump-and-grind sex. You may not wind up watching most of the movie—once things start heating up onscreen, your lady might, too!
Another idea is to read a book together. Shop online for erotic books—not pornography, but real books with characters and story-lines. Take turns reading to each other in bed or in another romantic setting. You can even find waterproof erotica books to read in the bath!
More Romance = More Powerful Orgasms
So what’s the point of all this extra effort? Extra-strong orgasms! When women feel pampered, cared about and cherished, they open up to new sexual experiences and allow themselves to relax and enjoy the ride. A few unusual and erotic activities will turn up the romance and turn on your lady.
After reading this, I have focused and changed techniques, my girlfriend says I have done what no other man had done before. I look forward to all the tips I can get."
--- Tony from Elkhart