The results reported in numerous research papers indicate that there are considerable differences between the sexual responses of males and females (Weiten, 2010). These discrepancies occur at different stages of the sexual response cycle. One of the most interesting pieces of data is the experience of orgasm in men versus women. For instance, females are reported to be more multiorgasmic than males, yet at the same time, cases of sexual intercourse without orgasm are also more frequent in females (Weiten, 2010).
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Other differences include the frequency of sexual desire and fantasies, initiation of sex, and the number of desired partners—all of these factors are higher in men than in women (Weiten, 2010). Divergence in sexual response leads to differences in the everyday behavior of males and females (Lefkowitz, Shearer, Gillen, & Espinosa-Hernandez, 2014). Women’s and men’s conduct depends greatly on their attitudes toward sexual intercourse and intimate relationships.
The major reason for inequality in the social behaviors of both genders is associated with the fact that women tend to care for offspring more than men do, an idea that has received the name parental investment theory (Weiten, 2010). According to this theory, females are more careful when it comes to choosing a sexual partner. For men, investment in a future family is not as important as the act of sexual intercourse.
For this reason, men are much more likely to engage in numerous relationships without thinking about the outcome. In contrast, women realize that they will have to dedicate significant time and effort to raise a child, which makes them much more cautious about the number of sexual partners they may engage (Weiten, 2010). Moreover, women are less likely to have sex with strangers as they have to think about the possible outcomes. If there is a possibility for a woman to become pregnant, she should think carefully about the man she is dating or with whom she is having sex.
In their research, Lefkowitz et al. (2014) mentioned that as a result of different responses to sex, males have more power in relationships than females. Consequently, traditional opinions about male and female societal roles may cause a power differential between the two genders, which might lead to unsafe sexual beliefs or behaviors (Lefkowitz et al., 2014). In their daily conduct, women tend to express less dominance than men in issues related to sexual relationships.
In accordance with evolutionary theory, men assign more significance to sex than women do (Weiten, 2010). Males seek to increase their reproductive possibilities by looking for a large number of sexual partners. In contrast, females are looking not for a large number of male partners but for those who seem capable of dedicating time and effort to bringing up offspring. This divergence between the two genders is explained both by the evolutionary and the parental investment theories.
A large quantity of research material proves that not only do men and women have different sexual responses but also that these differences greatly impact their everyday behavior. Compared to males, females are more attentive in choosing their sexual partners and are less likely to engage in intercourse with a person they do not know well. Men are more likely to seek for quantity than quality since their investment in the offspring is usually much smaller.
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Lefkowitz, E. S., Shearer, C. L., Gillen, M. M., & Espinosa-Hernandez, G. (2014). How gendered attitudes relate to women’s and men’s sexual behaviors and beliefs. Sexuality & Culture, 18(4), 833-846.
Weiten, W. (2010). Psychology: Themes and variations (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.