Men want sex, women want love

Men and women are more similar than dissimilar in their needs, whether sexual or romantic. Cut through the chatter and the reality is that most men want to be loved and cherished, and most women welcome a good shag. Where the two sexes do vary is in how they experience and express those needs.

As a whole, men are brought up to eschew the lovey-dovey and touchy-feely. It’s not manly and it certainly isn’t British to go around saying “I lurve you” and hugging, kissing or otherwise showing effete emotion. They are largely encouraged to suppress and repress feelings, instead relying on a complex series of coded behaviour to both have and declare them. Thus, men often use sex as a way of saying “I love you”, to say or show their tender feelings.

Courting, seducing and shagging gives a context and allows men to show both need and affection. A man who might feel foolish or compromised if he held, caressed or kissed his partner outside the bedchamber, can give free rein to his romantic side if and when it’s in pursuit of the proper, macho goal of nooky. Some will even allow themselves the luxury of letting down their guard enough to make open, verbal declarations of love – in bed, and nowhere else. But, above all, the act of sex is seen as an act of love – the most intimate and exposed way of declaring “I love you” that he knows or is often capable of making.

Women, who are far more verbal, don’t see sex in the same light. It’s fun, it’s great, it’s even necessary, but it’s just one of many ways to get what everyone needs most of all, which is the sense of being valued and needed. So turning down sex isn’t necessarily seen as a rejection of the person or their love, but a refusal to participate at that particular time in that particular act of arousal. It ain’t, always, personal.

The problem is that men tend to take it very personally, every time. To be told their sex isn’t required is felt as enormously hurtful. Most men add 2+2 and make 247. They’re convinced their partner thinks they’re dreadful in bed, that’s why she turned them down. Or they suspect she doesn’t love them anymore, that’s why she turned them down. Or she’s frigid, that’s why she turned them down. Or she thinks they’re a pervert, that’s why she turned them down.

In fact, it’s likely to be none of those. What she may simply feel is that since what you want is an appetite satisfied, it can wait. If she knew how much feeling the man invested in making love, and how hurt they may be at being refused, she may want to come halfway.

Of course, sometimes women know exactly what they are doing and what effect it is having when they turn down sex. Perhaps they do feel that there are serious problems in the relationship and “No Sex” is a way of telling the man that it’s time you sorted out the disagreements. But the message she may want to pass on could be less alarming. Maybe all she is trying to do is draw attention to what she feels she is lacking.

If his courting methods smack of the jungle – he roars, thumps his chest and gets down to it with a growl – no wonder she finds lovemaking less than appealing. To most women, love has to accompany sex. They want to be wooed, not just rogered. His belief may be that it’s the sex itself that says “Love, love, love” but she may want to hear it, in word and action, by his complimenting her, paying her special attention both before and after lovemaking, and by kissing and hugging as well as simply screwing.

It’s really a case of people who speak two different languages realising a bit of translation is needed. If men want women to understand their feelings and celebrate the rite of love in their way, perhaps they need to do it her way, too. A little more talk, a little more flirtation, a little more passion, moonlight and roses and you’re likely to get a lot more sex.

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