Men and women tend to think differently about sex and relationships. Usually, men are able to separate sex from intimate emotional connection while women cannot. As such, men are more likely than women to actively pursue nonrelational sex. But that does not mean women don't enjoy sex every bit as much as men. They just tend to prefer it in the context of an emotionally intimate relationship. In other words, women tend to be more interested in their connection to the other person, whereas men are typically focused on the other person's sexual body parts.
For a real-world illustration of this dichotomy, consider the difference between hard-core pornography, which caters to a mostly male audience, and romance novels and movies, which cater to a mostly female audience. Most male-oriented erotica (hard-core porn) is nothing more than an endless stream of body parts and sexual acts—no kissing, no foreplay, no storyline, and no emotional intimacy. Meanwhile, erotica for women often skips the sex act entirely (as we see in Harlequin romance novels), focusing instead on the nature and intensity of the couple's emotional interaction, because that is the driving force in female sexual desire.
In their book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, authors Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam suggest a possible bio-evolutionary reason for this deep difference in male and female sexual desire, writing:
When contemplating sex with a man, a woman has to consider the long-term. This consideration may not even be conscious, but rather is part of the unconscious software that has evolved to protect women over hundreds of thousands of years. Sex could commit a woman to a substantial, life-altering investment: pregnancy, nursing, and more than a decade of child-raising. These commitments require enormous time, resources, and energy. Sex with the wrong guy could lead to many unpleasant outcomes. … A woman's sexual desire must be filtered through a careful appraisal of these potential risks.
Of course, in today's world a woman no longer needs a man to successfully raise a child. But thousands of years of evolution are not so easily overcome, and this means that women still tend to be more turned on by relationships and intimate connections than by sexual body parts.
Some females enjoy highly objectified hard-core pornography just as much as most men do.
Interestingly, pornographers have figured this out and they've monetized it in a very big way. For instance, the highly sexual but relationship-oriented Fifty Shades of Grey book trilogy has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide to a predominantly female audience, and the (awful!) movie that it spawned grossed more than $80 million on its opening three-day weekend, again catering to a predominantly female audience.
Nevertheless, "mommy porn," as Fifty Shades and its many copycats have been dubbed, doesn't do it for all women. Some females enjoy highly objectified hard-core pornography just as much as most men do. These women are perfectly comfortable focusing on men's (or women's) body parts, and they are very clear on the idea that when they are online looking at pornography they are seeking a purely sexual experience and not an intimate connection.
Either way, it is clear that more and more of today's women are taking advantage of digital technology's easily accessible, highly affordable, mostly anonymous forms of pornography. And why shouldn't they? After all, women are, in general, every bit as sexual as men, even if they tend to be more turned on by emotional connection than sexual body parts.
This article is based on research conducted for the book, Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction.
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