Why sex matters to men

It’s no secret that sex matters to men, but not necessarily for ‘stereotypical’ reasons. Today, YourLifeChoices’ sexpert Bettina Arndt discusses what men wish women knew about sex.

1. Sex really matters to men
Many older women think men should be over sex by this stage of life but for many married men there’s a gaping hole in a relationship with no physical intimacy. It’s not about wanting to their rocks off – all men know they can masturbate to relieve frustrations. It is about connection. Sex gives men a real sense of bonding that they yearn for in this most intimate of all their relationships. Married men don’t want to live with a roommate nor a sister. They want a lover.

2. Men hate having to grovel for sex
It’s degrading for a man to have to beg for sexual favours, or to have sex reluctantly doled out to them “like meaty bites to a dog,” as one man put it. The sad truth is that most older women in long-term relationships aren’t nearly as interested in regular sex as their partners. For many sex is just no longer on their agenda. But they need to think about what it is like for their partners to be constantly sexually rejected. There are many ways of giving sexual pleasure even if you don’t feel in the mood yourself. The sexually generous woman who considers her partner’s needs is a godsend.

3. Most men want to be good lovers
Yes, they don’t always get it right. And there are men who haven’t a clue and some who don’t care. Question: What’s the difference between a G-Spot and a golf ball? Answer: A man will spend twenty minutes looking for a golf ball! Yet most men would love to know how to please a woman, but it isn’t so easy if she won’t tell him what she wants. He can’t be a mind reader. “All I get from her are these little grunts and I can’t tell if they are an ‘ouch’ or an ‘ahhh,’” one man told me. If you want your man to be a good lover, it’s up to you to teach him.

4. He’s not looking at your flabby bits
Men are visual creatures. Looking at a woman’s body is very much part of the sensuous experience for men. It’s such a sad thing that so many women so hate their bodies that they constantly cover themselves up, clutching sheets around their necks and closing the bathroom door.  Most men love to be able to feast their eyes on their partner’s body whilst making love. They are not judging you, nor noticing the cellulite or wear and tear on your body. Dim the lights if you must but let him enjoy seeing the body of the woman he loves.

5. Fat is not fabulous
Some women use fat to put their men off sex – and it often works very well. An obese body is rarely sexy. Most women who are overweight are really self-conscious about their bodies detracting from the enjoyment for both partners. But sexual arousal is also about blood flow. Obese men have problems with erections due to high blood pressure and other health issues. Similarly, overweight women will often suffer from diminished libido and sexual response. Losing weight will do wonders for your sex life.   

6. Using porn doesn’t make him a sex addict
If you catch your partner using porn it doesn’t mean he wants to have sex with other women any more than reading Fifty Shades of Grey means that you want to be bound and gagged. They are both just fantasy material and it’s simply untrue that porn is all about violent, misogynist images or that it leads to addiction. Many men use porn as a means of keeping a lid on their frustrations and whilst they enjoy looking at sexy images, most would far prefer real-life sex with a loving, willing partner.

7. Men are good at monogamy
We often hear about men having affairs but research shows that in any year only 2.5 per cent of Australian men are unfaithful. Of course, over a long marriage those tiny percentages will add up and significant numbers will have strayed at some point – a one night stand, a fling at a conference, even something lasting weeks or months. But many of these are happily married men still committed to their families and it’s very harsh if that brief time spent naked with another woman means all those years of devotion to a marriage mean nothing. We need to recognize men’s extraordinary sexual restraint, particularly in sexless marriages. 

8. Equipment failures can be devastating
Most older men have some problems with erections. Half of all men in their fifties, 60 per cent of sixty-year olds – the numbers keep climbing. Erectile dysfunction can be demoralising for men; “I feel like half a man,” one man told me. But we live in the ‘Age of Viagra’ and there many good treatments that can help men regain their sexual functioning. Even if your sex life has dwindled, erections may boost his self-esteem just as breast reconstruction helps women regain confidence after mastectomy. Find an experienced doctor to help and stay away from clinics charging thousands for shonky treatments that don’t work.

9. A kid in a candy shop
For an emotionally-bruised divorced man it can be a very welcome discovery that he’s in a buyer’s market in the online dating world. Some men can’t believe their good luck, particularly as there are older single women quite happy to hop into bed early in a relationship. Unsurprisingly many men will try it on with many of their new dates but there are others who prefer to take it more slowly. I’ve known couples who waited a year until the time was right for them. Older singles shouldn’t rely on guesswork to suss out each other’s expectations around sex. They need to talk it through openly and negotiate a pace that suits them both.

10. The other thing
There’s nothing better than a lusty, loving relationship to ward off the frustrations of this stage of life. In his novel, The Dying Animal, Philip Roth has his narrator talking about life’s compensations like children and money. He concludes that these compensations help “but [are] nothing like the other thing. Because the other thing is based in your physical being, in the flesh that is born and the flesh that dies. Because only when you f—ck is everything you dislike in life and everything by which you are defeated in life purely, if momentarily, revenged.” 

Bettina Arndt was one of Australia’s first sex therapists. Bettina then became a social commentator writing mainly on men’s issues. She’s also working as an online dating coach.

Related articles:
Sex and older women
Nine things women wish men knew
Sex secrets of long-term couples

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